Every year, WANEP Gambia takes the celebration to various regions with the aim of decentralising the celebration and the process of popularising United Nations Resolution 1325 - Women Peace and Security and other accompanying national legal frameworks such as the 2010 Women's Act through awareness creation and capacity building. In 2011, the celebration was held in the North Bank Region.
Speaking at the occasion, Lamin Saidy, deputising for the governor of LRR thanked WANEP Gambia for their contribution in supporting women in conflict prevention and peace building processes. He expressed his appreciation for the inclusion of school children in the conference as this manifests clearly that the programme has an objective of sustainability.
He advised the students to be good ambassadors of peace as well as agents of change in their respective schools and communities. Saidy also urged the women and men who were present at the conference to be partners in building peace and work towards conflict prevention.
For his part, Magistrate Dawda Jallow who spoke on the topics, 'Women Peace and Security as it relates to United Nation's Security Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, Gender and Governance and Mainstreaming Gender in Peace and Security' highlighted the background and nature of the UNSCR 1325 and its implications for women generally including Gambian women.
He noted that the adoption of the Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security on October 31, 2000, was a watershed in the evolution of international women's rights in the area of peace and security, while the formal and legal document from the Security Council requires parties in conflict to respect women's rights and to support their participation and leadership in conflict prevention, peace-building, and reconstruction.
"International and regional instruments and mechanisms such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the United Nation's Security Resolution 1325 and the African Union's (AU) Protocol on Women's rights mandating women's active participation and involvement in peace and security at all levels and sectors, both formal and informal are regarded as significant," he remarked.
Jallow further said that the Protocol also endorses the inclusion of civil society groups notably women in peace processes and the implementation of peace agreements.
He added: "UNSC Resolution 1325 calls for increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in conflict prevention, management and resolution; attention to the specific protection needs of women in conflict, including refugees; increased support for women peace builders; no impunity for war crimes against women, including gender-based violence; gender perspective in UN peacekeeping operations and post-conflict processes; and gender perspective in UN Reporting and Security Council Missions."
Kajali Sonko of the Women's Bureau also dilated on the right steps the government has taken so far in domesticating the Resolution as well as other international and regional instruments. According to him, the government of The Gambia recognises gender equality and women empowerment as a key factor for the attainment of social and economic development.
He told the gathering that since 1980, the government of The Gambia has implemented series of programmes and projects using the WID paradigm.He added that the National Policy for the Advancement of Gambian Women (NPAGW) 1999-2009 was formulated and implemented through partnership with Civil Society and development partners.
Sonko then zeroed in on the fifth thematic area of the Policy - Gender and Human Rights; Objective 4 that calls for the advancement of the implementation of UNSCR 1325 with a focus on participation, prevention and promotion. "UNSCR requires states to develop national action plans for its implementation and The Gambia is well into that process. Other national frameworks instruments considered during the discussion were the Gender and Women Empowerment Policy and the most recent, 2010 Women's Act," he further stated.
The programme was punctuated by poetry recitation and ended with rosette decoration of each participant in recognition of the efforts women are making to advance their cause as well as the lighting of candles in remembrance of the numerous women around the world who have died or trapped in unpleasant circumstances.