NUI Galway’s Centre for Global Women’s Studies (Galway, Ireland) in conjunction with Georgetown Institute on Women, Peace and Security (Washington DC, USA) and the Mary Robinson Centre (Ballina, Ireland) hosted an international symposium to bring together leading practitioners, academics and researchers concerned with promoting women’s leadership, equality and human rights; conflict resolution and lasting peace; and sustainable development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes region.
Following almost two decades of recurring conflict, affecting East DRC in particular, a new Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and Region was agreed by the DRC and neighbouring countries in February 24, 2013. In May 2013, Mary Robinson was appointed UN Special Envoy of the Secretary General to the Great Lakes Region with a wide-ranging mandate to support and encourage signatories to implement the Framework. The conflict in the DRC has resulted in the loss of over five million lives; hundreds of thousands of mostly women and children have been subjected to sexual and gender based violence; and the social fabric and economic infrastructure of the country have been severely corroded. Emerging from such a conflict presents massive and complex challenges. At the end of the first year of the mandate of the UN Special Envoy, the symposium offered a space in which to explore the challenges involved, with a principal focus on women’s leadership and participation in the implementation of the Framework at every level. In doing so, the symposium made an important contribution to current understanding and the direction of future research in the field.
This symposium was linked to a research project from NUI Galway’s Centre for Global Women’s Studies (Galway, Ireland) and Georgetown Institute on Women, Peace and Security (Washington DC, USA) which aimed to provide timely, well-documented information on the ongoing implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework in the Great Lakes Region, with a focus on women and gender. To access the report from this research project, click here.