On the margins of the 33rd Pre-summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the African Union, The Women’s International Peace Centre held a Regional Exchange from 31st January to 1st February 2019 at Azzeman Hotel, Addis Ababa. The Regional Exchange brought together 35 women peace builders from Burundi, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda sharing information on women’s experiences of conflict/post conflict, promoting women’s rights and capacities and attempts to claim spaces to influence the peace processes. The women reflected on their role in peace building and conflict resolution in each country and at regional level, define a common vision for peace as women of the region and identified, shared priorities and approaches to strengthen the role of women in peace building and conflict resolution, nationally and at regional level.

As we approach the 20th anniversary of resolution 1325 in 2020, documented evidence demonstrates that though peace is more long-lasting as a result of women’s meaningful participation in peace, security and humanitarian processes, that value does not consistently translate into women’s inclusion or participation in peace negotiations and implementation mechanisms. Isis-WICCE/The Centre under its new strategic plan has renewed its commitment to facilitate platforms for women to claim space and participate in national and regional peace processes with impact.

At regional level, the Office of the Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security has created a continental results framework for monitoring and reporting on the WPS in Africa and the African Union has designated 2019 as the year to work towards durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa, many of which are caused by conflict; this was a critical moment to further reflect on progress in advancing the women, peace and security agenda.

Agenda 2063 presents the vision of the African Union, to build an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in international arena. Aspiration 4 reflects the goal of a peaceful and secure Africa. This is mirrored by the AU’s decision to Silence the Guns by 2020 and in declaring 2010-2020 the African Women’s Decade. 2019 marks nine years into both and provides an opportunity for reflection on the needs, concerns and agency of women on the continent along with efforts to address and amplify the same in line with peace building.

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