Cabinet Secretaries, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, and Delegates in a group photo: Front row Right to left: UN Women Country Director Kenya Ms. Zebib Kavuma, Cabinet Secretary Ministry for Foreign Affairs Dr. Amb. Monica Juma, Cabinet Secretary Ministry for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Professor Margaret Kobia, Member of Parliament in Finland Ms Elisabeth Rehn, Defence Cabinet Secretary Amb. Raychelle Omamo, H.E. Amb. Erik Lunderg, Principal Secretary State Department for Gender Affairs, Hon. Safina Kwekwe and Ambassador of Spain, Amb. Javier Garcia de Viedma.
A three-day conference on high-level peer review on women, peace and security was held in a Nairobi Hotel, to discuss issues of gender mainstreaming in the public sector in line with UN Resolution 1325 of 2000.
The conference was organised by the Kenya based UN Women, a United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. The UN body works in 26 countries including Kenya, to design laws, policies, and programmes needed to ensure that standards for achieving gender equality are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and young girls.
Speaking during the opening of the conference, Defence Cabinet Secretary Amb. Raychelle Omamo reaffirmed the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) commitment to gender equality and women’s development. She said the Kenya Defence Forces had already published a gender policy that was at the implementation stage and hailed the military top brass for the support.
Amb Omamo pointed out that to achieve the lofty goal of gender inclusion, the Ministry had gone through an extraordinary uphill journey and expressed the satisfaction of the support the Ministry had received from the Military and UN Women. The Cabinet Secretary added that women were pathfinders and should be involved in decision-making.
In the same vein, Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Prof. Margaret Kobia pointed out that Kenya had significant strides towards strengthening women’s equal and full participation in peace and security processes. Prof Kobia gave examples of Kenyan women in key decision-making dockets such as Ministry of Defence which is central to the management of armed conflict.
On her part, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Amb (Dr.) Monica Juma said women should never have a past where they had to choose between their families and career progression. She added that the youth should be involved and used as part of a campaign to stop them from joining militia groups such as Al-Shabaab.
The occasion was graced by Ms. Elisabeth Rehn, the Finnish Minister of Equality Affairs and Member of Parliament in Finland who gave a keynote address. She said that she was encouraged by networks of women mediators, which had been the most important for collecting the knowledge of backgrounds, direct from the field without bureaucratic delays.
She said, Liberia, Colombia and Burundi were good examples where strong women networks were used for reconciliation and ending of the war. And of course she said the world must not forget the strong participation of women giving an effective voice to the mediation process of the AU Panel of Eminent African Personalities during the post election violence in Kenya in 2008.
Other speakers during the conference included Zebib Kavuma, Country Director, UN Women Kenya, Amb Erik Lundberg, Finnish Ambassador to Kenya, Peace and Security experts, and other Development Partners.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Amb. Raychelle Omamo addresses participants during High Level Peer Review on Women, Peace and Security.
Cabinet Secretary, Ministry for Foreign Affairs Dr. Amb. Monica Juma making remarks.
Independent Expert on Peace –Building and Crisis Management, Former Minister of Defence, Minister of Equality Affairs and Member of Parliament in Finland Ms. Elisabeth Rehn makes a Key Note address during High Level Peer Review on Women, Peace and Security.