Women’s International Peace Center discusses national peace policy

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Diana Oroma was the moderator

The Peace Center was founded in 1974 as Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE), but was rebranded to Women’s International Peace Center (WIPC) in 2019. It recently had a symposium to discuss conflict-affected settings and how peace building processes may shape them with regard to policy.

The Center is in line with United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, which were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

Project officer Diana Oroma WIPC, who served as the moderator for the dialogue, opened the discussion on the draft national peace building and conflict transformation policy.

The Draft national peace building and conflict transformation policy is a process of developing a national peace building and conflict transformation policy…which started in the year 2000 with discussions involving the government actors and actors from the civil society in Uganda and East Africa as a whole,” she said.

The overall objective of the national peace policy is to establish the national architecture for peace building which will guide state peace actors in ensuring timely and appropriate response (s) to potentially violent conflicts in the country,” she added.

She anthologised these conflicts as resulting from social, economic, political and cultural injustices at different levels in the society

Inbuilding gender concerns into peace building efforts, she said, must be done so that these concerns are not abandoned by the wayside.

In close harness with such efforts, she noted the importance of creating a gender sensitive conflict early warning system and amelioration support unit to development conflict transformation approaches and systems that will guide and address social, economic, political and cultural and gender-related injustices that lead to international and cross border conflicts.

She noted that in ensuring the Peace policy is brought to fruition is of paramount importance in creating partnerships and mutual accountability in peace building efforts and promoting gender inclusion.

This dialogue was breathed into life in partnership Uganda Women’s Network alongside the Embassy of Ireland, so as to ensure the convening of this discussion on the national peace policy.

The panelists were Florence Kirabira, National Coordinator Conflict Early Warning and Early response Unit (CEWERU), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Rose Othieno of the Center for Conflict Resolution, Betty Enangu Regional Human Rights Officer-Jinja Regional Office Uganda Human Rights Commission and Jesca Ataa Kotido Women Peace Mediator Network.

"This policy is a plus because it is in line with the national aspirations like the National Vision 2040. It's focus is on the involvement of it's stakeholders," said Ms Enangu.

“We need this policy to coordinate all the actors from government to Civil Society Organisations, when we have this policy in place it will be easier to have certain structures in place from the national, regional up to community level,” added Ms Othieno.

“It will also make it possible for districts and the national government to carry out peacebuilding activities which have always had a shortfall or hardly had any funding…with all the coordination [between the stakeholders] it will be more impactful and save on resources wasted out from duplication [of work],” she added.

To add to her point, Ms Kirabira chimed in.

The peace policy is still in draft form to date and it is still with the office of the prime minister [OPM] but we are working it out through the ministry, we are engaging OPM to release the draft national policy to the office of internal affairs because basically it should actually fall under internal affairs given the function given to peace building that the ministry performs,” she noted.

“Once the bill comes to our ministry, we shall bring it to the current situation where we are. We have to consider a number of emerging issues, a number of new conflict forms, we have to bring on board issues of climate change, youth unemployment as unemployment and poverty are key drivers to conflict. When this is done, we need the policy to be validated by government and civil society partners. Then we need to see that it is popularised and then develop a monitory and evaluation framework and conduct regular reviews to assess the implementation of the policy,” she added.

In tune with Kirabira's call to have the policy brought to the "current situation", Ms Ataa weighed in favour of this approach.

"The peace policy should focus on Karamoja as an urgent case and to be handled immediately," she said, raising the issue of a sub-region currently ravaged by conflict.

This discussion cleaved to the Peace Center’s vision to build the capacity of women as change agents in peace building and post-conflict recovery processes through clear-eyed policy envisioning a world made safer for peace and diversity.

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