The United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), in cooperation with UN Women, organized the annual meeting of the Working Group on Women, Youth, Peace and Security in West Africa and the Sahel, from 18 to 22 September 2023, under the theme “Unconstitutional seizure of power and transition in the Sahel region”.
Nearly 121 women and young people (54 in person and 67 online) from 17 countries in West Africa and the Sahel took part in the meeting, which opened in the presence of Major General Francis Adu-Amanfoh, Special Advisor to the President of the Republic of Ghana on the Accra Initiative, Ms Francisca Atuluk, Director of Human Resources at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. George Amoh, Executive Secretary of the National Peace Council, and Mr. Charles Abani, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Ghana. The officials recalled that UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) was the first to highlight the valuable role and essential contribution of women to peace and sustainable stability, recognizing that “women matter for peace”. “Similarly, resolution 2250 (2015) on youth, peace and security recognizes the positive contribution of young people to peace and sustainable development in their communities, humanitarian assistance and post-conflict reconstruction.” They also discussed the current security situation in the Sahel.
The 5-day meeting discussed the current political crisis in the Sahel, the development and proposal of concrete strategies for greater involvement of women and young people in current and future political dialogue, and the development of joint regional programs. Participants also discussed the synergies to be developed, coordination, partnership and better planning of their actions in line with the priorities identified. It also provided an opportunity for capacity-building in information and communication technologies.
The Working Group members also took part in the commemoration of the International Day of Peace organized by the Ghanaian chapter of the Working Group. The event underlined the urgent need for women and young people to be meaningfully involved in decision-making at all levels.
In addition, the various sessions that punctuated this annual meeting enabled Working Group members to adopt terms of reference for the establishment of a Rapid Response Team, and to formulate a series of pertinent recommendations that were the subject of a Position Statement on unconstitutional powers and the absence of women and young people from peace efforts in West Africa and the Sahel.
Working Group on Women, Youth, Peace and Security in West Africa and the Sahel is a coordination mechanism for the implementation of Resolutions 1325 (2000) and 2250 (2015), and an inclusive, multi-actor platform where women and youth become actors in conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The Working Group is coordinated by UNOWAS and UN WOMEN.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).