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UNOWAS Magazine N19 – December 2022

Women and Youth are key to Peacebuilding in West Africa and the Sahel

The consolidation of peace, security and development in West Africa and the Sahel is a breathless task that requires strong conviction and continued commitment from all partners. The challenges facing the people of the subregion are multiple, complex, and pernicious.

The solidarity of the international community and of regional actors and partners is crucial to safeguard the gains of peace and to strengthen development. But ownership of problems and solutions by all West African actors is not only necessary, it is also urgent. It must be a strategic priority for the Governments of the subregion in the implementation of their national plans and programmes through a desire to include all social categories, in particular women and young people.

Indeed, women and youth represent a leading part of the overall population of West African countries and the Sahel. No country or organization can ignore the contribution and importance of the role that women and young people can play in combating the multiple challenges that threaten peace and security in the subregion.

Since its establishment in 2002, UNOWAS has never stopped to sensitize the various State and non-State actors, especially those of civil society, to strengthen their efforts to promote the active participation of women and youth in decision-making processes that stem the negative effects of various challenges and contribute to the construction of prosperous societies. Continuing its commitment in this regard, UNOWAS, in coordination with its various regional, international and United Nations partners, has undertaken a series of activities to promote the role and involvement of women and youth in combating the adverse effects of climate change; promoting gender equality and empowering women in the security sector in West Africa; and the importance of gender in building peace and security in West Africa and the Sahel.

The story shared with us by the former Special Representative and Head of UNOWAS, Saïd Djinnit through his book “Carnet de Maputo ou ma lettre d’amour à la femme Africaine” is a moving statement for African women, but also a call for the mobilization of all so that women, and young people as well, can occupy the place they deserve.

Source: UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel