ABUJA – To support strategic roles for women in climate-focused peacemaking in Nigeria, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) is hosting a three-day workshop on 7-9 November with more than 60 delegates from across the spectrum of government and society.

The second Women’s Peace Forum is convening as Nigeria faces an array of conflicts and security challenges, many inflamed by climate change and competition over land, water and other natural resources.

Women, youth and children are often the most vulnerable groups in these situations but are rarely included in political decisions and peace processes.

“Our experience shows that women are instrumental in bridging community divides, building trust and getting various groups talking about how to address climate-related conflicts, so it is imperative that women play meaningful roles in political decision-making,” said Babatunde Afolabi, HD’s Regional Director of Anglophone and Lusophone Africa.

“This peace forum comes at an essential time,” he said. “By sharing diverse perspectives, working on solutions and collaborating on actions, the delegates will be strengthening inclusion across Nigeria and the pivotal work of women as agents of change in peacemaking and conflict resolution.”

This week’s event, supported by Canada as a follow-up to the first Women’s Peace Forum in 2019, is part of HD’s efforts to reduce conflict across Africa’s largest economy and most populous country.

Building on major community accords in 2015 and 2016, HD’s recent results in Nigeria include a landmark social media peace agreement and others based on the sharing of natural resources.

The three-day workshop in Abuja brings together women’s steering committees from HD’s community projects, peacebuilding agencies, civil society actors, policymakers, government and security institutions and organisations focused on women, youth and people living with disabilities.

The goal is to set out creative pathways and concrete policy recommendations to raise the capacity and impact of women’s inclusion in climate-focused peacemaking.

As communities migrate from climate-related crises, women are more vulnerable to security threats and violence. Women also play a significant role in small-scale farming and food supply in Nigeria but are seldom part of the making of policies about food security.

The inclusion of women is central to HD’s mediation and peacemaking initiatives in Nigeria and around the world.

As part of HD Nigeria’s overall Women at the Table inclusion programme, we also support initiatives including Women in Dialogue and Women Steering Committees in the communities where we work.

The 2019 Women’s Peace Forum – which gathered delegates from Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Benue, Northern Plateau, Southern Kaduna, Southern Plateau and Borno – strengthened the impact of various women’s dialogue platforms, built broader networks and deepened understanding of the security contexts where the women work to promote dialogue and peace.