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West Africa Civil Society Institute Strengthening Civil Society

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Forum Reports

Report of the Secretary General of the United Nations on the Role of Regional and SubRegional Arrangements in Implement RtoP (28 June, 2011)

1. Paragraph 139 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome and General Assembly resolution 63/308 called for the Assembly’s continuing consideration of the responsibility to protect. To that end, the Assembly held a formal debate in 2009 and informal interactive dialogues on aspects of the topic in 2009 and 2010. To inform these deliberations, I prepared reports on “Implementing the responsibility to protect” (A/63/677 of 12 January2009) and on “Early warning, assessment and the responsibility to protect” (A/64/864 of 14 July 2010). 

At the informal interactive dialogue of 9 August 2010, many Member States expressed interest in having a similar informal interactive dialogue on the role of regional and sub-regional arrangements in implementing the responsibility to protect in 2011. This report addresses the regional and sub-regional dimensions of the responsibility to protect in anticipation of such a dialogue in the General Assembly in July 2011.

1st Annual West Africa Women's Policy Forum - Assessing the Gains, Advancing the Agenda", Accra, Ghana

West African women have gained relative visibility through their activism in the civil society sector on issues of governance, democracy, development, peace and security. However, the extent to which this activism influences or shapes policies across the region has not been measured and therefore difficult to ascertain. Furthermore, in comparison to their share of the population, women remain underrepresented in political spaces and very little is known about the causal effect of those women who enter into political spaces. There is also an evident disconnect between women in civil society and women in government further diminishing the potential collective leverage women can bring to policy processes. This situation led the West Africa Civil Society Institute and the Women Peace and Security Network to initiate the establishment of the West Africa Women’s Forum in December 2008, as an annual space for women working in different sectors in the region to deliberate and design strategies for enhancing women’s influence on policy processes and provide a conduit for improved collaboration among women’s groups.

The 1st Forum titled “Assessing the gains, Advancing the Agenda” brought together over 50 women from three distinct sectors; women in civil society, women in government and women from the donor community. Participants were drawn primarily from West Africa, with representation from other parts of Africa and the world. Participants reflected on women’s roles and participation in governance, development, peace and security in the region and to design concrete strategies for influencing and informing policy processes.

GLOBAL CONSULTATIVE ROUNDTABLES ON THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT: West African Perspectives "The Accra Consultation" (July 2008)

The West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) in collaboration with the World Federalist Movement- the Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP) with the support of the Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA) and Fredrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) hosted a regional policy roundtable for civil society titled “Global Consultative Roundtables on the Responsibility to Protect: West African Perspectives” in Accra, Ghana, from 30-31 July, 2008.

The roundtable was the seventh in a series of consultations organised to build a global Non- Governmental Organisation (NGO) network on the responsibility to protect (R2P) norm. The roundtable group comprised about 46 participants from NGOs, Community Based Organisations (CBOs), and sub- regional civil society networks. Representatives from national governments and intergovernmental agencies also participated in the consultation. The goal of the roundtable was to discuss and deliberate on the progress of implementing R2P and its implications in West Africa.

Regional Seminar: ‘Reflecting on Civil Society’s Evolution in Ghana over the Last 50 Years’ (November, 2007)

The West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) established by the Open Society for West Africa (OSIWA) and the United Nations Development Programme’s Civil Society Resource Centre in Ghana in collaboration with the Ghana Association of Private Voluntary Organisations in Development (GAPVOD) organised a two day Regional Seminar on the theme “Reflecting on Civil Society’s Evolution in Ghana over the Last 50 Years” in Accra, Ghana from the 8-9 November, 2007.

The objective of the seminar was to provide a platform for a cross-section of over 100 civil- society actors to reflect on the progress, challenges and future of civil society in Ghana. Participants at the seminar were drawn from Ghana and across the West African sub-region and included government representatives, donor agencies and organisations, UN agencies, international non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

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