This week we took our dialogue among peace messengers to The Challenges Forum Event at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, New York. The discussion was rich, interactive and inspiring. We noted as key observation issues with the adoption of most resolutions such as 1325 and 2250 and the inadequacy of Governments, civil societies to implement follow-up actions. We also took note that while robust leadership for peace operations is essential to reach concrete results on the ground, it is unclear at what level of the bureaucratic structure this becomes effective as most often concrete actions on peace and security mandates are lost in both interpretation and translation.
Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia, as a youth based organization, is first to admit the integral role leadership plays in peacekeeping operations. Our proposition for the best way forward, however would be a paradigm shift from consultation at national level and among selected prominent figures to increased access to information at the grassroots levels that allows women as well as young people to make more informed decisions and exercise their full range of rights.
We believe, there is an urgent need for government as well as international Organizations to translate resolutions, policies and programmes into tangible actions through increasing investment in human social security issues that addresses quality education for women capacity development programmes for implementing actors and increased access to affordable social amenities for women.
In gathering the recipe for peace, we mentioned the need for effective partnerships not just with civil society but also with the private sector to ensure that effort takes place in the context of a wider society. It is not only the prerogative of government or civil society to promote UNSR. The more we contribute to a comprehensive, integrated approach, the more effective these resolutions are and the more we improve the lives and conditions of women globally.
Messengers of Peace-MOP)- Liberia’s community engagement strategy includes weekly community tours and meeting with vulnerable groups consisting of adolescent girls, ex-combatants and women to promote women’s rights, child rights and volunteerism. This is our platform and this is our recipe for peace. The more hands on deck the more effective the outcome.
The challenges for civil societies are many. First, how do we buy in to predictable frameworks for cooperation with international organizations and governments, what are the modalities in place for cooperation and transition for empowering Women in peace keeping operations; how do civil societies access funds and how do we build the capacity of civil societies not just to access funds but to absorb it in a way that direct beneficiaries (women, particularly young women) would be reached. The operational capacity of most interlocutors (Civil societies) is weak and needs to be developed. Furthermore, the ability of civil societies to communicate effectively with the public needs strengthening. Most women are unaware of UNSCR 1325 and programmes in place to empower women.
As stated in various fora, there is a need to improve education (formal and informal, functional and non-functional) by increasing access and making it affordable.
A lot more needs to be done. Current programme for women’s empowerment is long in blue print but short on implementation of 1325.The strategy should focus on protection of women from all forms of discrimination and abuse; improve functional literacy programme for women and economic empowerment of women; particularly young women.
Until next week when we hope to read from you, take time to Watch the video on Mission in Motion: Peace Made Possible! It is a youth perspective of an Accolade for Peace. For now, it is peace above all else, Peace first, may peace prevail.