Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) has participated in and organized conferences focusing on a range of specific themes. Such meetings offer a vital opportunity to bring together organizations involved in promoting women's rights and enables networks to share information and review and analyse best practices and devise new strategies.
At the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa, in August/September 2001, FAS promoted the role of African women and advocated for the adoption, ratification and implementation of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. This was an important opportunity to highlight regional issues at an international level and led to discussion of the Protocol at the last Assembly of Heads of State of the Organization of African Unity in Lusaka, Zambia.
Communication and information technology
As an NGO working to strengthen women's participation in conflict prevention and resolution in Africa, FAS recognizes that information technology is a vital tool for networking and sharing information. FAS actively participated in the two conferences organized by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva (2003) and Tunis (2005), which initiated and validated the Global Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF). The creation of this fund was suggested by President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal at the Geneva conference as a means of reducing the global digital divide and increasing access to information and communication in order to aid human development. FAS continues to participate in the preparatory committees and annual meetings of the WSIS to help improve access to information technology for African women.
In April 2000, FAS, in partnership with UNAIDS, organized a conference on HIV/Aids, which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. With women disproportionately affected by HIV/Aids in Africa, FAS realized the need to discuss the impact of this issue on peace processes and conflict resolution programmes in the region. HIV/Aids is a particularly sensitive subject and acquires new dimensions during conflict situations, when it can potentially be used as a weapon of war. The mass displacement of people and the ensuing deterioration of public order and breakdown of social ties can exacerbate the situation. The conference also discussed how these issues could be effectively tackled.
In June 2006, FAS organized a conference in Bamako, Mali, to mark the tenth anniversary of its foundation. The conference focused on Gender, Peace and Security in Africa: Capitalizing on Ten Years of Women's Experience, and reviewed the activities of the last ten years in order to identify best practices and devise future strategies.
At the conference, a Leadership Bank was created to acknowledge the work of women who have made an outstanding effort to promote the cause of women. A study of ten years of FAS work was also presented and reviewed. At the end of the conference, the Bamako Commitment was adopted, reaffirming the network's commitment to:
- promote gender issues by educating the younger generations;
- advocate for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325;
- reinforce traditional mechanisms for conflict management that are rooted in African social values.