Zimbabwe promotes women for peace

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Earlier this month (May) Zimbabwe committed to a national action plan (NAP) as regards the involvement of women in a range of peace-related work becoming the eighth Southern African Development Community (SADC) member to do so.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s country joins Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa which have NAPs in place in line with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1325, adopted 20 years ago, to mainstream gender into peace and security mechanisms and processes to address specific challenges women and girls face. Resolution 1325 and related resolutions “urge” UN and African Union (AU) member states and regional economic communities (RECs) to develop national and regional plans to “guide and localise implementation of the women, peace and security agenda. Particular emphasis is on what are termed the “four key pillars” of the resolution – participation, prevention, protection and relief and recovery – a SADC statement has it.

The UN resolution seeks to actively involve women in peacebuilding, peacekeeping, post-conflict reconstruction as well as conflict prevention and resolution.

Launching the Zimbabwe NAP, Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Jennifer Mhlanga, said it acknowledged women’s potential as agents of change, peacebuilders and leaders as well as the need to enhance women’s participation and leadership in peace and security decision-making.

The regional bloc is, according to the statement, committed to supporting member states with developing and operationalising NAPs as part of efforts to implement the SADC Strategy on Women, Peace and Security (2018-2030). Measures will be put in place to ensure equal representation and participation of men and women in key decision-making positions in conflict resolution, peacebuilding and peacekeeping.