Empowering Women in Maritime Security is Non-Negotiable, says Air Commodore David Akrong, Deputy Commandant of KAIPTC

Air Commodore David Akrong, the Deputy Commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) says “empowering women in maritime security is non-negotiable” as that will ensure inclusive and sustainable development.

He said empowering women in the maritime security sector was crucial for promoting gender equality and enhancing operational effectiveness.

Air Cdre Akrong, who is leading a five-member delegation from KAIPTC to Liberia to spearhead efforts at promoting gender equality in the maritime security sector, said there was the need to develop and enforce policies that address gender-specific concern and create a more inclusive and supportive work environment for women in the sector.

The Deputy Commandant said this in an interview in Liberia ahead of the launch the ‘Code of Practice’ for Women, Peace, and Security Practitioners in the Maritime Security domain.

This initiative aims to promote gender equality and advance peace and security in the maritime domain across countries along the Gulf of Guinea, including Ghana, Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Nigeria, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and Liberia.

In 2023, the KAIPTC commissioned work towards the development of a code of practice for women in maritime security, drawing on the principles of: Participation, Protection, Prevention, and Relief and Recovery and in a way that address the teething challenges in the maritime security domain that combine to disadvantage women in their quest to persist and advance careers, entrepreneurship and investments in the maritime security domain.

Air Cdre Akrong said the Code’s success relies on stakeholder ownership and continuous monitoring and evaluation and the goal was to institutionalize gender inclusion in maritime policies and operations.

He said women’s issues were crucial in all aspects of society, including maritime security and the Code complemented existing initiatives and aims for widespread adoption and implementation.

The Deputy Commandant said, overall, the stakeholders’ response had been encouraging, and interactive sessions would provide clarity and understanding for effective implementation.

The KAIPTC delegation engaged with key stakeholders across Liberia’s maritime governance domain. From the Liberia Maritime Authority Headquarters to the Liberia National Police and beyond, bilateral consultations and various meetings were held to strengthen collaboration and drive efforts at promoting gender equality in maritime security.

During the visit, Air Cdre Akrong and his team engaged in vital discussions with Mr. Gregory Coleman, Inspector General of Police in Liberia. At the heart of the conversation was the newly developed code of practice aimed at enhancing gender equality in maritime security. Col Coleman echoed Air Cdre Akrong’s sentiment, pledging full support for initiatives aimed at empowering women within the police force and beyond.

Air Cdre Akrong  expressed gratitude to the Government of Denmark for sponsoring the initiative, and assured of KAIPTC’s commitment to promoting gender equality and advancing peace and security globally.

Dr. Kwaku Danso, the Acting Dean of Academic Affairs, KAIPTC, elaborated on the Centre’s initiatives to address gender imbalances in the maritime domain.

Emphasizing the development of a comprehensive code of practice, Dr. Danso underscored ethical standards and principles aimed at promoting gender equality, empowerment, and meaningful participation in the maritime sector.

The team identified 12 core principles focusing on gender equality, inclusion, and conflict sensitivity, emphasizing the code’s pocket-sized design for easy dissemination and reference.