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Towards the development of a gender mainstreaming policy for peace support operations in the ECOWAS region

Abuja, Nigeria, February 22, 2024. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, through the Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), with the support of the Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) project, is organizing a brainstorming workshop (face-to-face and virtual) from February 22 to 23, 2024, in Abuja, Nigeria, with a view to developing a policy for integrating the gender dimension into peace support operations in the West African region

Over the course of two days, the experts will be discussing the draft policy and strategy for the development, adoption, financing and implementation of the gender mainstreaming policy, as well as methodologies for ownership and inclusion of all stakeholders in the policy development process.


On behalf of Dr. Cyriaque Agnekethom, ECOWAS Director of Peacekeeping and Regional Security, Dr .Sani Adamu, Acting Head of the Peace Support Operations Division, stressed that this workshop is a crucial step towards the development of a policy and training programs for ECOWAS that would bring its peace operations in line with all international standards, ensuring that gender is taken into account in the planning, preparation and deployment of all ECOWAS peace operations.


Dr Cyriaque Agnekethom also welcomed the involvement and support of key partners, including the EPSAO project implemented in partnership the European Union and the German government, the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA).


As a reminder, since its creation in 1975, ECOWAS has integrated gender issues into its policies, programs and activities with increasing success. The regional organization’s Commission has developed “legal frameworks that recognize the importance of preserving the role of women in governance, electoral processes, conflict prevention and resolution and peacebuilding. These frameworks include the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (2001), the ECOWAS Gender Policy (2005), the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (2008) and the Strategic Framework on Gender and Elections (2016).”



In addition, there is a key framework at ECOWAS level, emphasizing the integration of gender equality and gender mainstreaming, including (i) the revised ECOWAS Treaty (1993); (ii) the 1999 ECOWAS Protocol on the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security; (iii) the Women’s Peace and Security Action Plan component of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF) 2017-2020;


Similarly, (iv) Decision A/DEC. 1/01/05 Concerning the adoption of the ECOWAS Gender Policy and all its implementation instruments; (v) the Action Plan for the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions 1325 and 1820; (vi) the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (CPE) (2008), (vii) the ECOWAS Strategic Framework on Gender and Elections (2015), and (viii) the Small Arms and Light Weapons Gender Initiative (2019).

The two-day meeting was attended by Ambassador NGOZI OKAEJE, Resident Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Guinea Bissau and Head of Mission of the ECOWAS Stabilization Support Mission in Guinea Bissau, experts from the ECOWAS Commission, the ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG), the ECOWAS Stabilization Mission in Guinea-Bissau (SSMGB), ECOWAS training Centres of Excellence (TCEs), GIZ – EPSAO and the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA).


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