Women’s Leadership for Peace and Security in the Horn of Africa

The project, “Women’s Leadership for Peace and Security in the Horn of Africa,” initiated by the Club de Madrid in collaboration with its partner organizations, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange, has created a publication featuring the main recommendations of the initiative since its inception in 2009. This project has worked to promote the participation and contribution of women in political dialogue and decision-making processes on security in a dry and conflicting world. The findings of this analysis will serve as the basis of a session the Club de Madrid Annual Conference, “Solutions for the XXI Century: A Focus on Women,” to be held December 17 and 18 in Little Rock, Arkansas, hometown of President Bill Clinton who will host the event.

 These recommendations were presented in a ceremony which was attended by Lt. Col. Fernando Izquierdo Sans, Area Manager of the International Security Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defense, Rocío de la Hoz, Deputy General Director of Equal Opportunities of the City of Madrid Rosario Martin Herranz, María Elena Agüero, Deputy Secretary General of the Club de Madrid, and two representatives of the regional alliance of the G-40: Kaltum Nima Hassan, Director of the Women’s Action for Advocacy and Progress Organization (WAAPO) and Selamawit Gebreyohannes, Eritrean President of Women for Development Association. Furthermore, the event will be attended by María Angustias Caracuel Raya, Director of Spanish Women in International Security (SWISS).

 One of the most important achievements of the project has been the formation of the G-40 regional alliance consisting of women representatives of civil society in the countries of the Horn of Africa: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Somaliland, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda. A group of members from the Club de Madrid provide advice and support to this high level team of teachers, researchers, lawyers, human rights and peace activists, journalists, and social workers. In addition they have worked to encourage the development of the capacities of women in order to increase their role and impact on the mechanisms and processes of peace and security.

 The recommendations have been made public today by the G40 Regional Alliance of Women Leaders and are focused on advancing the maintenance of peace and security, with the consideration of the principle of gender equity and also to ensure the participation of women in conflict situations and post conflict in the region. These practice guidelines are focused on the following critical issues: the unsuccessful negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan, the humanitarian situation and for refugees in South Sudan, the fragile peace situation in Darfur, the current tensions in Ethiopia-Eritrea border, the presence of the insurgent group Al Shabab in Uganda, the intimidation and harassment of women activists and the lack of representation of women in positions of political leadership. All of these actions are part of Resolution 1325 of the UN Security Council, which promotes equal participation for women in all decisions on peace and security, the protection of women and girls in conflict prevention and situation conflict and the integration of a gender perspective in peace processes and post conflict.

After completion of the current stage of the project the G40 group continues their work as a partnership and platform specializing in women’s issues and securing peace, sharing information and resources focusing on crucial issues of human security from a gender perspective. After three years of working together, the G40 is positioned to act as an independent advisory body with broad knowledge in the field

The project “Women’s Leadership for Peace and Security in the Horn of Africa” has been carried out through ten missions led by members of the Club de Madrid, former prime ministers and former Presidents, including Valdis Birkavs (Latvia) Kjell Magne Bondevik (Norway), Kim Campbell (Canada), Mary Robinson (Ireland) and Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania). Through this initiative, the Club de Madrid is working directly with women leaders and women’s groups in the Horn of Africa and the Andean region to promote interaction and continuous dialogue with institutions and national and regional mechanisms for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.

This initiative is made possible through the support of the Commonwealth of Australia (AusAID), the Kingdom of Belgium and the governments of Germany, Norway, Iceland and the Hunt Alternatives Fund Institute for Inclusive Security.