Workshop Report: Gender, Peace and Security in Southern Africa

On 22–23 November 2010 the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), in collaboration with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Gender Alliance, hosted a one-and-a-half-day workshop on Gender, Peace and Security in Southern Africa at the Irene Country Lodge in Pretoria, South Africa. Thirty participants from SADC and East African women’s organisations, research institutes and the security sector, as well as policymakers and practitioners, attended the workshop.

The workshop took place a month after the United Nations (UN) celebrated the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325. This resolution affirms the importance of women in peacebuilding and urges their increased representation in conflict prevention, management and resolution. The theme of the workshop was therefore in tandem with the global focus on gender, peace and security. In particular, we sought to determine the status of the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in Southern Africa. This was all the more pertinent because in 2008 SADC adopted the Protocol on Gender and Development, Article 28 of which calls for the implementation of UNSCR 1325.

Although Southern African countries have advanced in creating the legal frameworks for women’s participation in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding and for their protection from violence, there is still along way to go towards creating equitable gender representation in peace and security decision-making and in creating a more gender responsive security sector. To date,only the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has adopted a National Plan of Action for the implementation of UNSCR 1325.

The SADC Gender Protocol Barometer, produced by the SADC Gender Alliance, tracks the implementation of the Protocol on Gender and Development in SADC member states. The 2010 Barometer included a chapter on conflict resolution and peacebuilding in the region. The paucity of information on the security sector and peacebuilding in the region was evidenced in this chapter. At a meeting in Namibia in August 2010, the SADC Gender Alliance proposed the formation of a cluster on gender, peace and security that will seek to understand, analyse and report on the gendered transformation of peace and security in the region. This workshop therefore sought to bring together participants from the region who could both begin to sketch the gendered dimensions of peace and security in the region and think through the formation of a network/cluster that could begin to more systematically monitor and support the security sector in terms of gender, peace and security.