Monday, 22.07.2019 - Tuesday, 23.07.2019 - Dakar - Senegal

Expert Workshop for the Conceptualization of the Regional Women's Platform for Security Sector Reform and Governance

On 18 and 19 July 2019, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Peace and Security Centre of Competence Sub-Saharan Africa office (FES PSCC) organised an expert workshop for the conceptualization of the Regional Women's Platform on Security Sector Reform and Governance. The workshop brought together eight (8) experts in gender, security sector reform and governance. In order to enrich the discussions and share experiences in the field, participants came from civil society organizations, regional platforms and think tanks such as the Women Peace and Security Institute of KAIPTC and WANEP. A United Nations representative also participated in this workshop. At the national level, participants came from Mali, Nigeria and Cameroon (countries concerned by the project) and Senegal.


Participants at the experts workshop from left to right: Adji Khadijatou Ndiaye, Khady Bâ Faye, Sylvie Ndongmo, Queeneth Tawo, Adelaide Otto, Aïssatou Fall, Ornella Moderan, Ourèye Fall. Behind: Holger Grimm, Rémy Arsène Dioussé, Bertha Ogbimi

Despite the fact that the inclusion of women's perspectives, their effective participation, their specificity and gender aspects are well embedded in the existing legal frameworks and strategies of the African Union (AU) and ECOWAS for security sector reform and governance, it must be recognized that the application of these principles remains a challenge at the national level, despite the political will of some states and the advocacy efforts of some civil society organizations in this regard.

Hence the idea of FES PSCC Office to set up a Regional Women's Platform on Security Sector Reform and Governance as part of its "Security for All" project, co-financed by the European Union and running from 2019 to 2021. This project aims to promote inclusive security and democratic governance through the participation of civil society organizations in Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon and throughout the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The Platform's objective will be to contribute to actions and institutions that ensure that security services are more accountable, responsive and equitable to women's peace and security needs (at local, national and regional levels). It will provide a space for exchange, reflection and learning to bring new ideas to encourage dialogue and sustainable cooperation for democratic oversight and security sector reform, jointly analyse the gaps in women's integration in SSR/G for better participation of this category in accordance with existing legal frameworks and create a lobbying alliance for political change at the national (Cameroon, Mali, Nigeria) and regional levels.

In order to start the process of implementing the Regional Platform, FES PSCC has engaged in a participatory process to gather expert opinions on the theme by organizing an expert meeting. The objective of such a workshop is to provide a forum for discussion and exchange on the content, form, objectives, mechanisms and operational strategies of the Regional Women's Platform for Security Sector Reform and Governance and to prepare the regional conference to launch the Platform in November 2019.

Under the moderation of Ms. Aissatou FALL, expert in gender and security sector reform and consultant associated with FES PSCC for the implementation of the Platform, the discussions focused mainly on, inter alia:

The determination of the main axes on which the Platform should position itself after a global assessment of the challenges in terms of Women-Gender-Reform and Governance of the Security Sector in general and in particular on Cameroon, Mali and Nigeria.

  • The platform positioning strategy. This made it possible to review the normative frameworks of the UN, AU and ECOWAS with regard to taking into account women's, gender, security sector reform and governance perspectives in order to find an optimal positioning and partnership strategy for the regional platform. A detailed understanding of the regional platform, its objectives and operating methods.
  • Some lessons from existing regional platforms. The experts shared lessons learned on the functioning of other platforms from which the regional platform could learn.
  • The criteria for membership of the platform and the different themes on which it should focus.

The following proposals emerged from the discussions, among others:

  • The Regional Women's Platform should promote women's empowerment on the issue of security sector reform and governance through capacity building, awareness-raising, promotion of women's position of influence, community dialogues, monitoring, etc;
  • At the national level, the Women's Platform should create a lobbying alliance between the different women's organisations and a lobbying alliance between women's organisations and security sector actors. These alliances can be set up through online experience sharing, face-to-face and exchange visits;
  • At the regional level, the Women's Platform should establish lasting relationships with the African Union, ECOWAS, CEMAC, UN, Women Peace and Security Institute of KAIPTC, WANEP, other regional feminist platforms (RESPECO), etc.;
  • The Women's Platform should be governed by a charter and be composed of two operating bodies: an advisory committee and a technical committee.

In this logic, FES PSCC is committed to capitalizing on the experiences and recommendations of this expert workshop to implement the Regional Women's Platform on Security Sector Reform and Governance.

Peace and Security Centre of Competence Sub-Saharan Africa

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