News in Brief 27 October 2017 (PM)

Women’s participation in peace talks still unusual despite landmark resolution

Having women at the negotiating table in peace processes is still unusual, the UN Security Council heard on Friday.

Ambassadors met to take stock of progress made in the 17 years since they passed a landmark resolution aimed at increasing women’s participation in efforts to prevent and resolve conflict.

The head of the UN’s gender agency provided the latest annual update on implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is the Executive Director of UN Women.

“Although women’s absence from the peace table is no longer easily brushed off as normal, it is still not commonplace. Every year, we track women’s overall participation in peace processes that are led by the UN. We track the inclusion of gender expertise and gender-sensitive provisions in peace agreements, and the requirement to consult with women civil society organizations. In all of these indicators we performed slightly worse than a year ago.”

The UN Women chief provided examples from countries such as Myanmar, the Central African Republic and Syria.

Despite the efforts of the UN and its partners, she said women’s participation in the Syrian peace talks “is still inadequate and often limited to an advisory role.”

She said this “political marginalization” also extends beyond the negotiating table as only 17 countries have elected a woman as their head of state or government.

Until recently, Liberia was the sole post-conflict country among that group, she added.

UNHCR and partners assisting Togo asylum-seekers in Ghana

Authorities in Ghana are being assisted by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in their efforts to support more than 500 people from Togo who have fled political unrest in their homeland.

The asylum-seekers said they were escaping human rights abuses following recent protests, the agency reported on Friday.

They arrived in remote areas in Ghana’s north-west and most are being hosted by local families and in community centres.

UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq has more details.

“A joint UNHCR/Ghana Refugee Board mission is currently on its way to remote areas to assess the situation. Together with partners, UNHCR continues to monitor the situation and is working on a response plan in case of an increase of arrivals, including the prepositioning of relief items.”

Agencies partner with Somalia to deliver water to drought-stricken areas

Two UN agencies are partnering with Somalia’s government to deliver clean water to thousands of people affected by drought.

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) are helping the authorities to provide greater access to water for over 45,000 displaced people and host communities in Baidoa, a south-western state.

The project foresees rehabilitation of “strategic” boreholes as well as the construction of water tanks and the delivery of water by trucks.

IOM said Baidoa is among areas most affected by this year’s below-average rainy season in Somalia, which has created severe drought across all regions.

IOM estimates more than 240,000 people have migrated there since November of last year.

Source: United Nations Radio