AMMAN (Jordan) – On October 29th, following a landmark regional training, participants from fourteen countries unanimously called for the establishment of an Arab Regional Network on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS). Together, over 80 Arab leaders and activists identified participation, protection, prevention, and peace building as their four key areas of strategic focus. This network marks a turning point in transforming leading international mechanisms, such as UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security, into concrete and measurable actions.
The Arab Regional Network on WPS comes at a pivotal time in the Arab region, when political transitions threaten to undermine women’s peace and security and to exclude women from key national and international dialogues where their perspectives, experiences and expertise are essential in developing long-term stability and peace.
“Democracy is not medicine we take and then the problem is over. It is an ongoing process. It can never be imported from abroad, and it cannot occur if at the same time, women are being isolated,” said Dr. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, a veteran women’s rights advocate and the Assistant Secretary General for Civil Society in the League of Arab States, in a keynote speech to participants in Amman.
The network aims to strengthen civil society to engage with conflict prevention and decision making processes; foster an enabling environment at the regional level to improve women’s leadership in these processes; ensure women’s human rights are protected; and pool regional resources on women, peace, and security, including technical support and capacity development tools.
“The regional network will ensure civil society and governments work hand-in-hand to abide by the UN resolutions on women, peace, and security. Above all, the network will contribute to achieving peaceful and secure environments for women,” said Fatima Outaleb, Director of the Union de l’Action Feminine shelter for women victims of violence in Morocco.
The Arab Regional Network was launched as part of a four-day training, which was hosted by Karama in partnership with the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality and the UNDP Regional Center in Cairo. Women and men activists and leaders from fourteen Arab countries—including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen—developed draft country-based national action plans on women, peace and security, and prioritized the establishment of the Arab Regional Network on WPS.
“At a time of elapsed peace, and a forgotten women’s agenda, Karama has provided the building blocks of a well-grounded pioneer regional network to address women, peace and security, as envisioned through the eyes of women,” said Ghida Anani, Founder and Director of ABAAD, a non-profit aiming to promote equality, protection and empowerment of marginalized groups in Lebanon.
Karama will continue to support this groundbreaking network in implementing their Regional Action Plan and accelerating progress toward women’s security, equality and protection in the region.
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