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UNGA 76: Aisha Buhari, African 1st Ladies Want Women Included In Peace, Security

First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari and top women in Africa have called for the inclusion of more women in peace and security processes in Africa to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) 5 on women empowerment.

Mrs Buhari made the call at a Stakeholders’ Luncheon in New York on “Accelerating women, Peace and Security in Africa within the SDGs Agenda”.

The Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was organised by the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM) on the margins of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly.

Buhari, represented by Mrs Mairo Al-Makura, Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on African First Ladies Peace Mission, said women needed to be empowered to achieve sustainable peace in the continent.

“Women can achieve incredible change, conflict transformation and sustainable peace if we continue supporting and advocating for more inclusion and participation of women,” she said.

She advocated for more inclusion of women, in particular young women as equal partners in society with leadership and decision-making roles in Africa and across the globe.

The wife of the President of Nigeria said as we learned to live and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we should not relent in pushing forward the accelerator of the Women Peace Security (WPS).

She emphasised on pushing for accelerator of WPS and the SDGs agenda to improve the lives of women and young girls that would benefit us all.

According to her, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Women Affairs has developed the National Action Plan (NAP) to guide activities in the area of Women, Peace and Security.

“The NAP seeks to strengthen women’s leadership, advance gender equality and improve the protection of women and children in conflict settings.

“These protocols, instruments, and laws show that Africa is positively responding to the challenges facing women in the continent.’’

Similarly, the First Lady of The Gambia, Mrs Fatoumatu Barrow, said the theme of the event resonated with The Gambia women, calling attention to the critical nexus between gender equality, human rights, peace, conflict, and development.

Fatoumatu also called on the international community, the UN, and African governments to expand and equally prioritise more meaningful participation of women in peacebuilding, conflict prevention, security and sustainable development.

“This will include women political leaders, women-oriented Civil Society Organisations and international development agencies, women leaders and organisations, down women in the homes,” she said.

“We must ramp up sensitisation efforts to ensure that every woman, including those in the rural areas, where the overwhelming majority of African women live, understands the meaning of the SDGs and her roles and rights towards the realisation of Agenda 2030.

“Only such mass participatory approach can guarantee a poverty-free, secure, peaceful, and prosperous African continent by 2030,’’ she said.

Also speaking, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama said inclusion of women in peace processes would increases inclusivity and hastens the processes of conflict resolutions.

Onyeama, represented by Amb. Abiodun Adejola, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, Geneva, said peace-making strategies that included women were more likely to generate ownership and last longer on our actions regarding shared challenges.

According to him, in the face of persistent and complex violent conflicts and rising backlash against women’s rights in Africa, it is pertinent that our continent steps up efforts and bolsters solidarity.

“We should put actions in motion to take more seriously the need to accelerate the full inclusion of women in peace and security on the continent, especially if we must achieve the SDGs and the Agenda 2063.’’

In her remarks, Mrs Mairo Al-Makura said achieving peace and security through a gender lens approach remained a critical challenge for many communities in our member countries.

“We are doing everything in our power to reach out to those affected by war and violence with programs that have proven to be successful.

“From our work in the Sahel, to where we have provided humanitarian support to countries that have been affected by violence and terrorism,’’ she said.

The former first lady of Nasarawa state said AFLPM was planning workshops and strategic dialogues across some countries to amplify the role of women leaders in peace and security.

“We are aware that the key element of sustaining progress on women peace and security has been through partnerships.

“It is in this context that the AFLPM seeks to engage as many partners as possible so we can make a significant impact on the advancement of the women, peace and security agenda, gender equality, and broader SDG goals on the African continent,’’ she said.

The highpoint of the event was the Presentation of an award to Bah-Barrowo by Al-Makura for her contributions to women empowerment in the Gambia and Africa.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire and the Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Lot Egopija, represented by Amb. Nicholas Ella, among others, attended the event.

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