A Technical working group on the implementation of Ghana’s National Action Plan (GHANAP-2) on UN Resolution 1325 has been inaugurated in Peduase in the Eastern Region.
The group was charged to ensure that all forms of barriers impeding the progress of women in governance and decision making are reduced if not eliminated.
It is made of representatives from academia, government ministries, departments and agencies, security organizations, and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
Focusing on gender, the inaugural meeting discussed extensively the need to create awareness for girls and women to be given the leverage to participate in governance and decision-making.
The United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 is the first formal and legal UN Security Council document to address the plight of women and girls in conflict situations.
It is a political framework that provides a number of operational mandates with implications for policymakers, decision-makers, and funding components.
The document calls for special measures to increase women’s participation in peace processes including conflict resolution, peace-keeping, peace-building, as well as planning emergencies for relief and reconstruction in times of crisis or disasters.
The resolution’s main focus is on women’s leadership and participation, protection of women and girls from gender-based violence and the promotion of rights of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations.
In an address on her behalf, Madam Cecilia Dapaah, the Caretaker Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection said Ghana as a UN member state and by the adoption of UNSCR 1325 was obliged to prepare a country-specific national plan of action for the implementation of the resolution.
The Gender Ministry spearheaded the development of the GHANAP 1 and a review in 2017, resulted in the development of GhANAP 2 for a five-year period from 2020-2025.
Despite GHANAP 1 and many other national gender frameworks and legislations, inequalities and impediments on the way of women and girls remain high.
Madam Dapaah charged the technical committee to work hard to close the gaps identified after the first implementation to ensure full protection of women, children, and persons with disabilities.
Madam Faustina Acheampong, Head of the Department of Gender, said GHANAP 1 was anchored on the pillars of participation, prevention, and protection aimed at ensuring the rights, interests, and special needs of women and girls.
She said it was integrated into policy formulation and implementation to enhance their protection in ordinary times as well as conflict situations.
The GHANAP 1 focused on full representation and active participation of women in conflict prevention, resolution, mediation crisis, and security management at all levels of the Ghanaian society.
The success story is that, currently, in comparison to other countries Ghana sends about 12 per cent uniformed female personnel to international peacekeeping operations, making Ghana the second-highest contributor of females to international peacekeeping globally in line with the UNSCR 1325.
But, governance and decision remain low as well as gender-based violence and all forms of abuse against vulnerable persons.
Madam Acheampong said regarding participation in peacebuilding and conflict resolution processes, little had been done to build the capacity of women to participate effectively in early warning, mediation, and conflict management processes.
She added that their participation has largely remained in the informal sphere, despite the bus potential among the women population.
On that score, she noted that GHANAP 2 would focus on strategies to revive all forms of impediments to the full participation of women in governance and decision making.
“The number of women in parliament, for instance, gives an indication that a lot needs to be done to bridge the gap,” she said.
Even though Ghana has not suffered any serious conflict, she said there had been pockets of natural disasters such as flooding and tidal waves.
“But in all these situations, the real needs of women, children, the aged, and persons with disabilities are not critically assessed to provide the needed response,” she added.
Madam Euphemia Dzathor, a gender consultant, who led the plenary said patriarchy and how the girl child was socialised played a very disadvantaged role in bridging the gender gap.
She called on the technical team to use sensitisation and awareness creation to change the perception about getting more women into governance and decision making.