AU empowers women in peace and security across Africa

Niël Terblanché

As the current Chair of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for March 2024, Namibia is set to host a crucial High-Level Ministerial Seminar on Women in Peace and Security (WPS) in Swakopmund.

This seminar is a significant step in advancing the role of women in peace processes across the continent, aiming to evaluate and enhance their participation and leadership.

Scheduled to be attended by the Foreign Ministers of all fifteen member states of the Peace and Security Council, along with distinguished guests including the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, the Special Envoy of the AU Commission Chairperson on Women in Peace and Security, and six members of the AU Panel of the Wise and its Affiliate Bodies, the event will become a new landmark in the AU’s efforts towards inclusive peacekeeping and conflict resolution.

The Peace and Security Council, as the AU’s foremost organ for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflicts, plays a critical role in maintaining stability across the continent.

The current membership of the council comprises Namibia, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Djibouti, Gambia, Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, representing a broad spectrum of African states united in their commitment to peace and security.

The seminar in Swakopmund will not only serve as a platform to review the strides made in integrating women into peacekeeping roles but also to address the challenges that hinder their full participation.

It is a reflection of the AU’s recognition of the indispensable role women play in peace and security, a domain that has traditionally been male-dominated.

By bringing together key stakeholders and decision-makers, Namibia’s initiative as the chair of the PSC underscores a collective resolve to empower women and leverage their unique perspectives and skills in peacebuilding and conflict resolution processes.

This seminar is expected to pave the way for more robust and gender-inclusive peacekeeping policies and practices across Africa.

Namibia’s leadership in this endeavour highlights its commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment, aligning with broader global efforts to ensure that women are not only participants but leaders in the journey towards lasting peace and security.

The outcomes of the Swakopmund seminar are eagerly anticipated, as they hold the potential to significantly influence the AU’s approach to women’s roles in peace and security moving forward.

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