Kenya Hosts High Level Review Meeting on the Implementation of UN Resolution on Peace and Security

Date: Thursday, October 25, 2018

Photo: UN Women/ Kennedy Okoth
Zebib Kavuma, UN Women Kenya Country Director addresses participants. Photo: UN Women/ Keneddy Okoth

As part of the 18th anniversary celebration of United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, UN Women in collaboration with the Government of Kenya and the Embassy of Finland in Kenya hosted a High-Level Peer Review on Women, Peace and Security in Nairobi.

UNSCR 1325 (2000) is the landmark resolution that recognizes the central role that women play in achieving and sustaining peace in conflict-prevention and resolution efforts, peace-keeping and relief and recovery. The Kenyan Government launched the Kenya National Action Plan (KNAP) on UNSCR 1325 in March 2016, a comprehensive agenda of Kenya’s commitments on Women, Peace and Security.

Three of Kenya’s six female Cabinet Secretaries presided over the opening ceremony: Prof. Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Dr. Amb. Monica Juma, Cabinet Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Amb. Raychelle Omamo, Cabinet Secretary of Defence. They were joined at the opening ceremony by H.E. Erik Lundberg, Ambassador of Finland to Kenya, Hon. Elisabeth Rehn, former Minister of Defence in Finland, and Ms. Zebib Kavuma, UN Women Kenya Country Director.

Prof. Kobia (Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs), as the head of the Ministry coordinating UNSCR 1325 efforts in Kenya, noted key achievements in implementing the KNAP. These include the integration of gender in the national peace architecture, security sector reforms and in addressing emerging threats such as preventing and countering violent extremism.

Amb. Omamo (Defence), highlighted that through the KNAP, the Ministry developed its first Gender Policy, through UN Women support, to enable the promotion of women into leadership positions in the armed forces. She highlighted role models such as Major General Fatima Ahmed, the highest-ranking uniformed woman in Kenya. She shared that Kenya has one of the highest percentage of women officers serving in peace support operations globally.

(Left) Amb. Monica Juma, Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kenya interacts with participants during the opening of the high-level peer review on women peace and security in Kenya. Photo: UN Women/ Kennedy Okoth
(Left) Amb. Monica Juma, Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kenya interacts with participants during the opening of the high-level peer review on women peace and security in Kenya. Photo: UN Women/ Kennedy Okoth
 

Amb. Erik Lundberg (Finland) expressed his continued commitment to supporting the Women, Peace and Security agenda, and underlined the vital role women play as agents in preventing conflict and responding to the changing dynamics of security.

Amb. Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs), emphasized the need to have structures and mechanisms in place to support women’s career progression in the security sector. “Girls have often taken the lead access to education and training in learning institutions, however, this does not translate into career progression manly due to family ties. We shouldn’t have a situation where women have to make a choice between having a family and progressing their careers”.

Ms. Zebib Kavuma (UN Women) emphasized the need for the institutionalization of normative commitments around gender equality, which “involves identifying and eliminating gender specific barriers that continue to prevent women’s leadership and participation. It is only when we consistently develop and implement inclusive policies and programmes that we will ensure sustainable peace for all members of society.” 

UN Women, in partnership with the Government of Kenya and other key stakeholders, has been advancing women’s participation and representation in peace and security efforts through development partners such as the Government of Finland.

At this meeting, stakeholders from Afghanistan, Finland, Kenya, Nepal, Rwanda and Somalia took stock of the progress made, forged strategic partnerships and discussed best practices in advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Recommendations stemming from this meeting will contribute to the acceleration of existing commitments outlined in the KNAP and inform how UN Women will engage in the development and implementation of future NAPs in Kenya.