UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed said the role of women in leadership positions is critical to the future of a peaceful Niger.
Ms Mohammed was speaking at a meeting with Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufu in the capital Niamey on Saturday, which was part of a joint United Nations -African Union (UN-AU) mission to the country.
I stressed to the President the importance of women's participation and leadership in preventing conflicts, she said. I also underlined the need to include women in all national and regional responses to the ongoing environmental, humanitarian and development challenges that Niger and the Sahel region face."
The deputy secretary general is leading the UN-AU visit to Niger, which includes many of the most senior women in the UN; the AU; Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security (WPS); as well as Foreign Minister of Sweden Margot WallstrAlm.
A key focus of the two-day trip is women's participation and leadership in conflict prevention, including violent extremism.
The security situation in Niger has worsened since 2015 when the first attack was launched by Boko Haram extremists in Diffa in the east of the country � an attack which displaced some 300,000 people, the majority of whom are women and children.
The presence of Boko Haram in the north of Nigeria has been particularly harmful to women and girls who have experienced what the UN has called staggering and multiple forms of sexual and gender-based violence.
Niger is one of 10 countries which are part of the UN Support Plan for the Sahel, a region which stretches from Chad in central Africa to Mauritania and Senegal in the west. The plan, which was presented by Ms. Mohammed on the margins of the AU summit held in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott last month, aims to build lasting peace in the 10 focus countries. It also prioritizes economic growth, women youth and job creation
Source: International Islamic News Agency