Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Senator Iroegbu is a seasoned journalist, a renowned defense editor, researcher, security/public affairs analyst, an advocate against Gender Based Violence(GBV), Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). In this interview with Global Sentinel he spoke about the benefits of locazing the Women Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda of the United Nations Sercurity Council Resolution 1325 in Nigeria. Excerpts…

How can Localization of Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) contribute to promoting the central role of women peacebuilders in Nigeria?

Yes, that’s correct. The localization of Women, Peace and Security (WPS) is an important strategy to promote women’s participation in peacebuilding efforts in Nigeria and beyond. By adopting National Action Plans (NAPs), State Action Plans (SAPs), and Local Action Plans (LAPs) that are geared towards mainstreaming UNSCR 1325 and WPS, Nigeria is taking important steps toward promoting women’s participation in peacebuilding at all levels of.

All these are geared towards WPS priorities, goals, and  pillars, which are the 3Ps and R: women’s equal participation in peace and security decision-making processes; protection of women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence;  the role of women in conflict prevention including the prevention of violence against women and girls, and more gender-aware humanitarian and peacebuilding efforts that reinforce women’s capacities to provide leadership in relief and recovery

To this end, the adoption of gender policies by security and defense institutions, such as the military, is also an important aspect of promoting women’s participation in peacebuilding efforts. These policies can help to create a more inclusive environment that encourages female officers to take on active roles in peacekeeping operations and other security-related initiatives.

In addition to the development of gender policies and gender desks, more women are promoted to leadership positions and are also now trained as pilots and combatants in the military. Overall, the localization of WPS in Nigeria is crucial to ensure that women’s voices and perspectives are included in decision-making processes related to peacebuilding, conflict management, and mitigation efforts. This can help to address the specific needs and concerns of women affected by conflict and promote gender equality and empowerment.

Localization of WPS in Nigeria can help to promote the central role of women peacebuilders by creating opportunities for them to participate in decision-making processes at the local level. This can include involving women in local peace committees, traditional conflict resolution mechanisms, and other community-based initiatives that seek to address conflicts and build peace. Through these platforms, women can contribute their perspectives and experiences to ensure that peacebuilding efforts are more effective, inclusive, and sustainable.

The localization of WPS can also help to address the specific needs and concerns of women affected by conflict in Nigeria. For example, women may face different forms of violence, such as sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), during and after conflicts. Localizing WPS can ensure that the strategies and policies developed to address these challenges are culturally sensitive and relevant to local contexts, which can help to promote the safety and well-being of women peacebuilders.

In addition, localization can also help to build the capacity of women peacebuilders in Nigeria by providing them with training, resources, and networks to enhance their skills and knowledge. This can include training on conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and leadership, as well as opportunities to network with other peacebuilders and experts in the field. By building the capacity of women peacebuilders, localization can help to promote their central role in peacebuilding processes and create sustainable peace.

Finally, localization can help to promote gender equality and challenge patriarchal norms that may limit the participation of women in peacebuilding processes. Through promoting women’s participation in decision-making processes, localization can help to break down gender barriers and empower women to take on leadership roles in peacebuilding efforts. This can have positive spillover effects on broader social and economic development in Nigeria.

Can you share with us some key recommendations to guarantee their meaningful participation in peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery processes?

The key recommendations to guarantee women’s meaningful participation in peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery processes, especially in Nigeria, will be anchored on the four pillars of the WPS and UNSCR1325 including participation, protection, prevention, relief, and recovery. In addition, there is a need to provide legal frameworks which Nigeria is already doing, and then encourage horizontal and vertical policy mainstreaming and encourage them in leadership positions in all agencies of government.

Ensure that women’s participation is enshrined in policy and legal frameworks: One way to guarantee women’s meaningful participation in peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery processes is to ensure that it is enshrined in policy and legal frameworks. This can be done by developing and implementing National Action Plans (NAPs) that include specific targets for women’s participation, as well as ensuring that relevant legislation and policies include provisions for women’s participation, which Nigeria is in its third phase of NAP.

Create spaces for women’s participation: Women’s participation can be guaranteed by creating spaces for their meaningful participation in decision-making processes at all levels. This includes involving women in peace committees, traditional conflict resolution mechanisms, and other community-based initiatives that seek to address conflicts and build peace.

Build women’s capacity: Another way to guarantee women’s meaningful participation is to build their capacity through training and capacity-building initiatives. This can include training on conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and leadership, as well as opportunities to network with other peacebuilders and experts in the field.

Address gender-based violence: Gender-based violence (GBV) can be a major barrier to women’s participation in peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery processes. Addressing GBV and providing support to survivors can help to create an enabling environment for women’s meaningful participation.

Ensure adequate resources: Adequate resources must be allocated to guarantee women’s meaningful participation in peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery processes. This includes financial and human resources, as well as support for women-led initiatives and organizations.

Promote gender mainstreaming: Gender mainstreaming is the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies, or programs, in all areas, and at all levels. Promoting gender mainstreaming can help to ensure that women’s perspectives and needs are taken into account in all aspects of peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery processes.

By implementing these recommendations, Nigeria can ensure that women’s meaningful participation is guaranteed in peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery processes, which will lead to more sustainable and effective peacebuilding efforts.

How would you assess the localization of WPS in Nigeria so far?

There have been mixed results in the localization of Women in Peace and Security (WPS) and United Nations Resolution UNSCR1325 in Nigeria. While some progress has been made in terms of the launch of National Action Plans (NAP)1-3, affirmative action, and other gender mainstream policies, the overall progress has been slow, and in some cases, there has been a lack of progression.

One milestone has been the launch of National Action Plans (NAP)1-3, but the implementation of these plans has not been successful. Many states have not stepped down these NAPs to State Action Plans (SAPs) and Local Action Plans (LAPs), hindering progress toward WPS.

Women are still marginalized in politics, security and defense, and governance sectors, especially at the leadership level. The representation of women in the executive, legislative, and judicial arms of government is still significantly lower than it should be. This under-representation limits the perspectives and experiences of women in decision-making processes and reduces their influence on the country’s development.

In conclusion, while some significant milestones have been achieved in the localization of WPS and UNSCR1325 in Nigeria, there is still a lot left to be achieved. The slow progress in implementing NAPs and the under-representation of women in decision-making processes are two significant challenges that must be addressed for WPS to be fully realized in Nigeria.

It is, however, important to note that the localization of WPS in Nigeria is an ongoing process and it requires continuous effort and commitment from all stakeholders. There is a need for increased advocacy and awareness to ensure that the objectives of WPS and UNSCR 1325 are fully understood and embraced at all levels of governance in Nigeria. There is also a need for the government to prioritize the implementation of NAPs and ensure that they are adequately funded and monitored to ensure accountability. Additionally, there should be deliberate efforts to address the systemic barriers that prevent women from participating fully in all aspects of society, including politics, security and defense, and governance. Overall, while some progress has been made, more needs to be done to fully realize the goals of WPS and UNSCR 1325 in Nigeria.

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