Side Event on the margins of the UN High-level Counter-Terrorism Conference

Theme: Leveraging Partnerships and Strengthening Cooperation with Women to Counter and Prevent Violent Extremism and Terrorism in Africa

The Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), in collaboration with the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations and the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, will co- organize a side event on the margins of the first-ever United Nations High-level Counter-Terrorism Conference.

The event, which will address the theme, “Leveraging Partnerships and Strengthening Cooperation with Women to Counter and Prevent Violent Extremism and Terrorism in Africa”, will take place on Thursday, 28th June 2018, from 13:15 to 14:30pm in Conference Room 3, in the United Nations Headquarters, in New York. It will convene key stakeholders from governments, civil society and the United Nations system to discuss how to further leverage partnerships and strengthen cooperation and collaboration with women as a core strategy in the struggle to counter and prevent violent extremism and terrorism in Africa.

The event will build on the outcome of a high-level event on “Women, Violence and Terrorism in West Africa and the Sahel: Building a Regional/International Response” that was organized by UNOWAS, with the support of UNOCT and other partners in April 2018. The outcome of this high-level event, “the Dakar Call to Action”, presents a strong, unified call to diverse stakeholders to accelerate efforts to engage women of all ages and from under-represented groups as agents of change, actors for peace, and critical players in the struggle to counter and prevent violent extremism and terrorism.

This call to action resonates with women, girls and entire communities that face the ravages of, as well as engage in efforts to counter and prevent terrorism and violent extremism across Africa and beyond. Therefore, using this Dakar Call to Action as an impetus, the forthcoming event will aim to provide a strong political push for implementing recommendations of the Dakar Call to Action. Specifically, it seeks to generate political commitments to mobilizing women, including their associations and networks and facilitating regular and periodic exchanges between them and other national and regional actors responsible for preventing violent extremism and countering terrorism. Officials from governments and regional and sub-regional organizations with direct responsibility for counter terrorism and prevention of violent extremism will be called upon to commit to collaborating with women as strategic partners in all programs, initiatives and structures to prevent violent extremism and counter terrorism. Participants will be encouraged to identify key areas for action with women and on gender mainstreaming where the United Nations entities can further commit to support, as appropriate.

Besides generating political commitments to working with women as key partners in all processes and programs to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremism, the event will generate recommendations that could contribute to achieving the peace, security and development objectives of the two joint UN-AU Frameworks on Enhanced Partnership for Peace and Security and the implementation of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Of note, these two frameworks include a focus on addressing the root causes and other factors that give rise to conflict, terrorism and violent extremism.

Panelists will include representatives of African regional and sub-regional organizations, including the African Union and ECOWAS; representatives of Member States, including Germany and Japan; civil society representatives from West Africa and the Sahel, and senior officials from the United Nations system. The event is open to all and will be structured as an interactive panel discussion.