Entebbe, Uganda 21-23 November 2018: In an effort to address challenges of women political participation and economic empowerment, a meeting of Gender Ministers in the Great Lakes Region was convened in Uganda from 21 to 23 November 2018. The three-day meeting was co-organized by the Executive Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), and the Office of the United Nations Special Envoy of the Secretary General for the Great Lakes Region (O/SESG-GL) in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Uganda, the ICGLR Regional Training Facility (ICGLR-RTF), the Government of Norway, the Swiss Cooperation and COCAFEM/CARE.
The High-Level Meeting brought together Ministers of Gender from signatory countries of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework (PSC-F) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the region, and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region as well as Guarantors (UN, African Union (AU), ICGLR and SADC). Other participants were members of the Advisory Board of the Women’s Platform for the PSC-Framework including the AU Special Envoy on Women Peace and Security (WPS), AU Femwise–Africa, Representatives of the ICGLR Fora (Women’s Forum, Civil Society Forum and Forum of Parliament) as well as Representatives of the UN Regional Offices (UNWOMEN, UNFPA and UNDP).
The meeting’s main objective was to bring together Gender Ministers in the Great Lakes Region to discuss, endorse, and move forward policies relating to women participation in peace and security processes in the Region. A two-day technical meeting preceded the meeting for the Ministers of Gender held on 23 November, 2018. Dr. Frank Okuthe-Oyugi, the Executive Director of the ICGLR-Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre made a presentation on Monitoring Mechanisms for Delivery of Decisions on Women, Peace and Security in the Great Lakes Region. He informed the participants that the Regional Centre is mandated to support implementation of ICGLR Pact and Protocols through Monitoring and Evaluating of Policies and Practices. In that regard, the centre has developed two draft monitoring frameworks, namely, the ICGLR Gender Equality Monitoring Framework (acting as a monitoring tool for measuring gender equality) and the Regional Democracy and Governance Monitoring Framework (tracks progress in Democracy and Governance in the Great Lakes Region). Further, the Centre has created a database for Women representation in legislative wings in the Great Lakes Region.
Interestingly, some of the specific issues participants shared on were ideas on how best the ICGLR Member States can collectively ensure the minimum quota of 30% on women’s representation by 2020. This is so because countries of the region recognise the importance of achieving full gender parity, with governments supporting the need to move to a minimum of 30% representation of women in peace and political processes by 2023 at the latest.
After intensive deliberations, the High Level Meeting was concluded with ICGLR Ministers of Gender:
- Reaffirming commitment to implement the minimum quota of 30% on women’s representation in all Member States of Great Lakes Region;
- Adopting the Regional Action Plan on Security Council resolution 1325 (2000);
- Adopting strategies for effective support to ICGLR-RTF;
- Adopting a framework to facilitate and sustain Governments dialogue with Civil Society, Women and Youths