The Ministry of Labor and Social Development hosted the meeting and Minister H.E. Lina El Sheikh participated together with representatives from the Geneva Institute for Human Rights, UN Economic Commission for Western Asia, UN Women, the Canadian ambassador for women, peace and security and the Norwegian embassy.
Around hundred prominent Sudanese feminists from different NGOs, civil society participated in the two days’ workshop.
Dear Minister, Your Excellency’s, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Norway is pleased to support this workshop together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Development and the Geneva Institute for Human Rights in partnership with several others, among them Development Studies and Research Institute, UN Women and UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia, ESCWA.
Thanks also goes to the Geneva Institute for Human Rights for organising this workshop in such short notice.
A special welcome also to our guest; Canada’s Ambassador of Women, Peace and Security, currently visiting Sudan. We are honoured to have you with us here today.
I would like to thank Minister of Labour and Social Development, Her Excellency Lena el-Sheikh Mahjob, and Undersecretary , Mohamed El Shabik, for your personal commitment to the women, peace and security agenda. We are happy to see that you, so early in your time/tenure as Minister, engage yourself and your team, in the revision and adoption of a National Action Plan for the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325.
Norway has a long-standing tradition of promoting women’s rights in foreign and domestic policy, and this also remains a priority for our bilateral cooperation with Sudan. Since 2014, we have supported the women, peace and security agenda through the Development Studies and Research Institute at the University of Khartoum. This includes supporting the development of a National Action Plan for the implementation of 1325, working on legislation criminalising violence against women, training the police, medical personnel, media and civil society. Norway initiated the Nordic network of women mediators in 2015, and has a strong national branch of over 50 women, mainly with direct experience from peace negotiations. In 2017, Norway took the initiative to establish a global alliance of regional networks of female mediators (AU FemWise, Commonwealth Network, Mediterranean Network and Arab Women Mediators- League of Arab States, besides the Nordic network). The first meeting between the networks took place in Oslo in March 2018, the second meeting in New York in October 2018, the ASEAN Registry of Women for Peace also participated. A contact group established in Oslo, runs the process. The goal of the networks is to highlight the competence of women and strengthen the influence of local women in peace and reconciliation efforts. The alliance was launched in New York in September 2019. The Arab Women Mediators - League of Arab States was established just before its launch and joined the network. In Sudan, Norway has supported the AU with two advisor from FemWise this year. We hope they will contribute positively in the peace process in Sudan.
Last week, our Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marianne Hagen, chaired the first Friends of Sudan meeting in Khartoum, co-hosted by the Government of Sudan. The Friends of Sudan is a group of around 20 countries and organisations joining efforts to support the civilian-led transitional government. The group stressed the need for meaningful participation of women and youth in all stages of the peace process and in the broader transformation of the country, including in establishing the transitional legislative council, in appointing civilian governors, in the peace process and in security sector reform.
The Deputy Minister commended Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok for positive steps to promote human rights and appointing women in/to leading positions. However, she encouraged the government to do more. Our view is that if you continue to appoint women in key positions throughout the transitional period, they will make a difference, by bringing new perspectives and priorities. With meaningful participation of women, peace will be more sustainable, education and health will be prioritized, and economic growth will be strengthened.
We sincerely hope that that your work today, tomorrow and the coming weeks will lead to Sudan having an endorsed National Action Plan for 1325 early 2020 for the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Resolution 1325, adopted on 31. October 2000. Next year we will also mark the 25th anniversary of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. We understand that there have been three parallel processes ongoing on writing a National Action Plan; one lead by Mansam, one emergency national action plan lead by UNWOMEN and one action plan lead by DRSI (The Development Studies and Research Institute at Khartoum University). It is now of utmost importance to merge these processes into one.
It is a leadership responsibility to ensure that peace and security endeavours benefit both women and men, girls and boys. Developing and adopting a National Action Plan is the responsibility of the Sudanese government. At this critical time in the transitional period, a National Action Plan on women, peace and security will serve as vehicle to engage and commit government actors on various important issues concerning peace and security.
The broad inclusion of civil society and wide consultation is important. Cooperation and partnership, transparency and accountability will be decisive. If several ministries take part and ownership in the National Action Plan, Sudan will get a stronger plan. The National Action Plan must however be a “living document” regularly being adjusted to new needs and changing times.
The work for women, peace and security is not a gesture to women. Resolution 1325 is about effectively preventing and resolving conflicts and building peace in a sustainable manner.