Joint AU-UN initiative to recognize African women for exceptional roles

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The African Union (AU) on Saturday announced a joint AU-UN initiative to recognize outstanding African women for advancing women empowerment as well as peace and security agenda across Africa.

An award, which is part of a AU-UN initiative on women, peace and security initiative in Africa, is expected to be launched on the sidelines of the 33rd Ordinary Session of the assembly of the AU Summit, slated for February 2020 at the headquarters of the pan African bloc in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, the AU said in a statement on Saturday.

The 55-member pan African bloc also called for nominations of African women who have “exceptionally advanced the women, peace and security agenda in Africa” to take part in the high-level continental initiative, which is jointly organized by the AU Commission and the UN Office to the African Union (UNOAU).

The continental award is said to recognize “exceptional African women” advancing peace and security initiatives across the African continent.

The launching is said to be aligned with the launch of the AU theme of the year 2020 on Silencing the Guns by 2020.

According to the AU, the initiative “reflects a greater partnership between the AU and the United Nations, marked by the signing of the UN-AU Joint Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security in April 2017,” the statement read.

The award-winning women will also be featured in an upcoming commemorative book set to be launched next year, it was noted.

The commemorative book, which is part of the activities for the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, will incorporate a chapter dedicated to each woman to share their stories and contribution to one of the four pillars of the UNPSC Resolution 1325 that are prevention, protection, participation and relief and recovery as part of the peace and security activities, it was noted.

The AU also noted that the commemorative book, among other things, aspires to send “a message of encouragement to women across our continent and in the rest of the world, by reflecting the exceptional stories and contributions of the women to peace and security on the continent and serve as a learning experience and motivation to other women.”

The joint AU-UN initiative will mainly recognize young African women involved in mediation, peace-building and peacekeeping activities, the AU said.

The UN Security Council back in 2000 adopted its landmark Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, indicating that “conflict affects women differently and underscored the importance of peace processes to be inclusive and address the needs, views and ensure the participation of women in order to achieve positive outcomes and a lasting peace dividend.”

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