Leading up to International Women’s Day on March 8, WILPF will be publishing a series of articles spotlighting some of the efforts of our member groups to create a more sustainable, peaceful future for women around the world. Follow these publications and support International Women’s Day by sharing with the hashtag #IWD2018.

©Micheline Muzaneza

From 4 to 5 December 2017, WILPF DRC organised a high level international conference on the theme “10 years of Women’s Peacebuilding by Women, for Women and for All” in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

In a tense political context where consensus is necessary to ensure peaceful, free and democratic elections, WILPF DRC found their role as a women’s peace organisation mobilising for the rights of women particularly imperative. They consequently assembled the conference on peacebuilding in the DRC, in which more than 130 people were involved.

©Micheline Muzaneza

Given its importance, the conference was attended by the representative of the Minister of Gender, Family and Children; the representative of the National Secretariat of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 of the DRC; the personal representative of the head of state in charge of sexual violence issues; the representative of the Minister of Human Rights; the rapporteur of the Human Rights Commission of the DRC; the Gender Focal Point of the Armed Forces; and the representative of public and private enterprises. Several participants from inside the DRC and WILPF DRC focal points from the provinces of Bandundu, Kongo-Central, Upper Katanga, North and South Kivu attended.

African peacebuilders representing WILPF Africa (South Africa, Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe, DRC), WILPF Sweden, the International Office of Geneva and New York, the diaspora of Belgium, and DRC civil society organisations also took an active part in the panels, as they are also concerned about the future of the regions and feel strongly invested in a commitment to peace and freedom in the world.

©Micheline Muzaneza

This conference allowed WILPF DRC to assess the last decade of initiatives by women to promote non-violence and gender equality in the nation. It also allowed youth and women’s organisations defending Congolese women’s rights to contribute to peacebuilding. The conference was inspired by the UNSCR1325 on Women, Peace and Security which, was adopted on 31 October 2000, and by WILPF DRC’s long-standing work on the implementation of the resolution to ensure women’s participation in peace processes in the DRC. The overall objective of the 2017 conference was to celebrate resilience, perseverance and the unwavering commitment of women in the DRC to the ideal of lasting peace, justice and universal freedoms.

In order to achieve the assigned objectives, the organisers adopted a participatory methodology that allowed each participant to play a role, either as facilitator, speaker or rapporteur in the following panels:

  1. Women’s Movements in Peacebuilding at the Community Level
  2. Importance of Networking Women and their Organisations in Peacebuilding
  3. Promote Women’s Political Participation Before, During and After Elections
  4. The Place of Women in Peace Agreements
  5. 17 Years of Mobilisation and Awareness-Raising around Resolution 1325 in the DRC
  6. Synergy of Women and Men in Peacebuilding
  7. Beyond Prevention, how to Consolidate Peace?
  8. Gender Based Violence and Peacebuilding
  9. Youths and the Achievement of SDGs
  10. Gender, Peace and Climate Change
  11. “It’s time to move the money from war to peace.”
After the two-day conference, a final declaration was adopted, stating key recommendations to governments, the United Nations, civil society organisations and political leaders. The declaration called for an earnest commitment to the implementation of the UNSCR 1325, transferal of money from economies of war to peacebuilding initiatives, and a refocus on improving the economic, social and political status of women in the region. More broadly, the document appealed for a renewed interest in the protection of democratic governance, fair elections, fight against climate change and disarmament.

You can find the declaration in English here, or in French here.