Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of MIRCO launched a first of its kind National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2019-2014) on 19 June 2019 in Namibia.

“Nineteen years ago, under the Presidency of Namibia, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1325. A landmark resolution that not only changed the face of women in conflict and post conflict situations, but also recognized and reaffirmed the crucial role women play in these situations. Since the adoption of Resolution 1325, eight other resolutions have been adopted, all speaking to the role of women in the prevention and management of conflict as well as their roles in post-conflict peace-building. These now form what is known as the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. The Security Council has since 2000 deliberated on WPS on an annual basis and the principle of women’s participation in peace processes is now accepted as fundamental to building sustainable peace. In addition, these resolutions urge member states to implement these resolutions by putting in place National Action Plans”.

On a personal  level,  the  Deputy  Prime  Minister  and  Minister expressed passion towards the adoption of UN Resolution 1325.

“Resolution 1325 is an International instrument that I am closely associated with and I feel proud that Namibia has reached thus far in the area of Women Peace and Security. I would therefore, like to thank the organisers of this event for having given me an opportunity to participate and to officiate as we launch the Namibian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security”.

Honourable Nandi-Ndaitwah also outlined various national legal frameworks that Namibia implemented over the years on gender mainstreaming and women empowerment in the security sector. “To date, various policies and legislative frameworks have been enacted, such as the Defence Policy (2010), the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) Gender Mainstreaming Action Plan (2000 – 2005) and the National Gender Policy (2010-2020), among others. These frameworks and policies have translated into tangible gains for women in decision-making and in the security sector. At present, with 23% representation, Namibia is amongst the countries with the highest proportion of women in the Defence Force in the SADC region”.

In addition, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister explained the journey towards achieving Namibia’s first national action plan on women, peace and security.

“The process of developing the Namibian NAP was a holistic and comprehensive process. A national task team was constituted, consultative meetings were held with key  relevant  institutions and nationwide consultations were undertaken before the drafting process began. Subsequently, the NAP was validated by stakeholders from the key relevant institutions before being submitted to Cabinet for approval.

It was necessary to have a comprehensive process because the NAP also needed to confront emerging issues, trends and threats to peace and security such as climate change, cyber security, radicalization and trafficking in persons amongst others”.

Honourable Nandi-Ndaitwah also gave a scope on how Namibia wishes to take a leading role in the region and beyond on strengthen the role of women in international peace-keeping and security affairs.

“To ensure that the WPS Agenda continue to make an impact not only in Namibia but the whole SADC region, Namibia submitted the WPS Agenda to be a standing Agenda item of the SADC Organ of Defence and Security. This will create a platform for SADC nations to act in unison, and to share information on the subject matter. In addition, Namibia is in the process of establishing an International Women’s Peace Center in Windhoek. This center will focus amongst others on research aspects of mediation and negotiations, as well as capacity-building and supporting women on issues related to gender-based violence. It will also be a place where peacekeepers can be given orientation before deployment. I therefore call on the international community and our development partners to support the establishment and  the work of  the  center once it becomes operational”.

The DPM  and Minister further said, “Namibia, as a member of SADC will continue to play her part in ensuring that women play a greater role in the prevention of conflict, the resolution of conflict and the maintenance of peace. The upcoming anniversary of UNSC Resolution 1325 should be an opportunity for all of us to redouble our efforts to ensure that women are adequately represented in political decision making and peace negotiations at all national, regional and international levels, as was our desire in 2000 when Resolution 1325 was adopted”.

Honourable Nandi-Ndaitwah also expressed gratitude to the Namibian women peace-keepers for their bravery and urged them to continue representing Namibia with pride.

“I would like to commend Namibian women in uniform both the Namibian Defence Force and Police for a commendable job they have done in the maintenance of world peace and security. Since independence, Namibian women have been part of Namibian national contingent, be it under the AU or UN. They have made us even more proud as all the reports of their operations in the field have been applauded by the nationals of the countries they served as well as UN and AU commanders”.

The DPM and Minister gave a hearty thanks and appreciation to Ministries of Defence, Safety and Security, Gender Equality and Child Welfare and MIRCO for the contributions they made to development of the Namibia National Action Plan.

“I also would like to thank our development partners and stakeholders who have been involved in the whole process. Among others we ask Ms. Rachel Odede, UN – Resident Coordinator a.i. to pass our thanks to the UN family for being with us in this process. A special recognition goes to the UN-Women represented here today by Ms. Anne-Githuku Shongwe, I know well that if it was not your support this programme may not be where it is today”,she said.

The official launch of the national action plan on women, peace and security came following the third annual capital meeting of the Women, Peace and Security Focal Points Network under the theme “Women, Peace and Security: Towards Full Participation” with the sub-theme, “Mainstreaming the WPS Agenda in Regional Economic Communities (RECs)”, which Namibia successfully hosted from 10- 11 April 2019, in Windhoek