The International Colloquium 2009

The International Colloquium on Women's Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security 2009 took place in Liberia on the 7-8 of March 2009 preceded by the youth event organized by the World YWCA and celebrating women under the peace tent event organized by Femmes Africa Solidarite  on 6th March and followed by Liberia National Celebrations organized by the Ministry of Gender and Development on 9-10 March.

CELEBRATING WOMEN UNDER THE PEACE TENT

On the 6th of March, 2009, FAS organized a side event which was held under the Peace Tent at the SKD stadium in Monrovia, Liberia.
The event brought together women from diverse backgrounds to share on their experiences and challenges in peace work and in particular their engagement in the implementation of the UNSCR 1325.  It gave an opportunity for the women to also share on their expectations from the Colloquium and to plan on how best to have fruitful engagements during the Colloquium.
The peace tent was a space for women to dialogue and reminisce, to catch up with old friends and network with new friends, to speak about their own organizations and activities being undertaken.

YOUTH EVENT

During the pre-Colloquium youth event that was held on the 6th of March, 2009, FAS facilitated a break out group on UNSCR 1325, whose outcomes were shared during the main Colloquium event.
Key during the discussions was the need by the youth, in particular young women, to be included at all levels and not just as spectators relegated to the periphery but as active participants.
The youth event was opened by the President of Liberia, H.E Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who stressed the importance of all the themes to be discussed at the Colloquium including UNSCR 1325. She said they were significant to Liberia's young women in recognition of its post-conflict status and the challenges that the country still faces.

THE COLLOQUIUM

DAY ONE - 7th March, 2009

The Colloquium took place on 7-8 March, 2009. FAS was the theme lead on the UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security.
Ms. Ines Alberdi of UNIFEM gave an introduction to the theme. Ms. Bineta Diop of FAS moderated the first panel on the UNSCR 1325. 
The panellists were from diverse backgrounds yet all working on gender and peace issues:
- Ms. Betty Bigombe (Global Peace Ambassador),
- Ambassador Liberata Mulamula (Executive Director of the Great Lakes Region Secretariat),
- Dr. Naomi Chazan (International Women's Commission-Israel),
- Hon. Betty Ogwaro (Minister for Agriculture-Sudan),
- Ms. Amelia Angeline Ward (Mano River Women's Peace Network),
- Ms. Leymah Gbowee (WIPSEN),
- Ms. Mavic Cabrera Balleza (International Women's Tribune Centre),
- Hon. Ursula Plassnik (Former Foreign Minister-Austria),
- Ms. Isabel Iskins (International Altert)
- and Mrs. Masire- Mwamba (Commonwealth Secretariat)

Some of the highlights from the presentations included:
1) The language used in the UNSCR 1325 must be made stronger
2) Women needed to learn the art of negotiation in order to be able to make viable contributions and have constructive dialogue during the peace processes
3) Awareness raising and sensitization of women on the contents and substance of UNSCR 1325 and how they can engage at their various levels. This may be done through community outreach and mentoring programmes
4) Lobbying by women must be done at various levels right from the grassroots to national, regional and international levels including effective use of multi-track diplomacy.
5) The need for timely, as required international intervention was stressed upon and the Israel-Palestine conflict was given as a case in point
6) Implementation of cross-sectional dialogue of traditionally resistant groups and formation and promotion of international global networks that mobilize resources and concentrate on response to urgent programs

DAY TWO - 8th March, 20009

As theme lead, Ms. Bineta Diop welcomed the participants to the second panel and invited the panellists to proceed with the discussions.
Ms. Thokozile Rudzvidzo of the UNECA moderated the panel whose presenters included :
- Ms. Litha Musyimi Ogana (African Union),
- Ms. Massa Washington (TRC-Liberia),
- Cllr. Eva M. Morgan (Ministry of Justice-Liberia),
- Ms. Paivi Kannisto (Finland),
- Justice Rose Owusu (Supreme Court of Ghana),
- Ms. Anja Ebnother (DCAF).

Some of the highlights from the presentations included:
1) There should always be a disaggregated approach to post-conflict reconstruction processes that appreciates the different needs of women and men
2) During post-conflict periods, it is crucial to have documented accounts of the atrocities suffered by women
3) Establishment and recognition of informal judicial structures e.g. the Gacaca courts in Rwanda that would enable more people to have space and access to justice systems
4) Gender mainstreaming in security sector reform must be appreciated as being key towards ensuring sustainable peace
5) It is essential that at the National Level countries develop National Action Plans that must have the appropriate monitoring mechanisms including annual reviews

The colloquium came to an end in celebrations and dancing in appreciation of the successful deliberations and outcomes.

NATIONAL CELEBRATIONS, 9TH -10TH MARCH 2009-03-16

The Ministry of Gender and Development, Liberia held a two-day post colloquium event, to give an opportunity to the Liberian women from grassroots to national level to participate in the Colloquium.
Ms. Diop was invited to be one of the panelists and to share on FAS work in the region and on the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security. During the Ms. Diop shared ‘FAS has been in Liberia since 1996 and I am glad to see the UNSCR 1325 National Action Plan launched today. This is a landmark in our journey to bring peace and development in Liberia, in Africa. Liberia has been torn apart by war conducted by men. Now women are picking up the pieces. Madam Ellen J. Sirleaf has taken the leadership in Africa by being the first to launch a National Action Plan (NAP).

Ms. Diop stated that in the Mano River region, women had been making a difference; Ms. Theresa Leigh Sherman, for instance, signed the Liberia Peace Agreement in Akosombo as an observer.

The Mano River Women's Peace Network (MARWOPNET) has been recognized by the UN General Assembly for their peace work. So many other women groups including WIPSEN and WIPNET are also doing great work within the region.

Ms. Diop hoped that the NAP would help to encourage other countries to launch and implement their own National Action Plans and went on that FAS was already doing projects in DRC, Rwanda and Burundi to help them develop their NAPs.

In conclusion, she congratulated the women of Liberia, the men of Liberia and the Leadership of Liberia for keeping their promises to bring peace and development in Liberia.'

‘If we Lift Liberia, We lift Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, We lift the Sub-Region, Africa and the World.'

OUTCOME DOCUMENTS

Monrovia Declaration ENG»    FR»

Call Action on the UNSCR 1325 »

Report: Vice-Chair for Africa »

Pictures »