Regional: SADC GU to host a regional gender based violence conference

Date: March 12, 2012
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The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Gender Unit will host a regional conference on gender based violence to reflect on magnitude of the scourge which seems to be on the increase in Southern Africa. This will take place from 23 – 25 March 2012 in Johannesburg.

The conference will facilitate discussions, sharing of experiences and good practices taking place in the region. It is expected that about 50 participants will attend comprising two representatives from government; one representative from civil society from each Member State and experts. The Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance will also be represented.

Key issues that will come under focus include legal, socio-economic, cultural and political, services, sexual harassment, support services, training of service providers, integrated services, training and awareness raising as well as the resource allocations required for the implementation of the commitments.

One of the key targets of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development is to reduce by half current levels of gender based violence by 2015. But how will we know that we have arrived? This therefore calls on the need for comprehensive data on gender based violence remains a major challenge. It is anticipated that participants will learn from the Gender Based Violence indicators project coordinated by Gender Links working with strategic partners. So far the research has been completed in Gauteng, South Africa, Botswana and Mauritius. The project is being replicated in three other provinces – KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo and Western Cape. The survey focuses on prevention, response and support on gender based violence.

The objectives of this conference are to:
– Create a fora for SADC stakeholders to reflect on the situation of gender based violence;
– Unpack the response to gender based violence in the region with a view to strategise for solutions;
– Develop a regional strategy and a clear regional Plan of Action for addressing gender based violence

SADC defines “gender based violence” as “all acts perpetrated against women, men, girls and boys on the basis of their sex which cause or could cause them physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or economic harm, including the threat to take such acts, or to undertake the imposition of arbitrary restrictions on or deprivation of fundamental freedoms in private or public life in peace time and during situations of armed or other forms of conflict” (SADC Protocol on Gender and Development,2008).

Expected outputs from the conference include:
– Consolidated situation and response analyses.
– Increased engagements and consensus reached by SADC stakeholders on way forward onaddressing gender based violence.
– Enhanced strategic focus to address with Gender Based Violence in SADC through a regional GBV Strategy and action plan.
– Conference report.

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