Regional: Alliance represented as the SADC Regional Poverty Observatory meet

Regional: Alliance represented as the SADC Regional Poverty Observatory meet

Date: June 4, 2012
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The Zimbabwe Women Resource Centre Network (ZWRCN), which is the focal point for the economic justice cluster, represented the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance when Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Member States and civil society groups met in Gaborone from 23 to 24 May to discuss the Regional Poverty Observatory (RPO). SADC established the RPO to provide an institutional framework within the Secretariat that would facilitate the establishment of a statistics database on poverty indicators and trends in the SADC region.

The RPO is made of two main structures. Firstly there is a stakeholder forum made up of all stakeholders who will be meeting every two years to deliberate on trends on poverty and development in the region.Second is the Steering Committee that will provide direction with regard to the delivery of the SADC Regional Poverty Observatory.

The steering committee comprises of one senior official from each Member State; five representatives from regional civil society apex organizations and private sector organizations; three experts on poverty and development issues drawn from the SADC region and two representatives of Development partners in an advisory capacity.

The Steering Committee will meet at least once every year. The Alliance nominated by the SADC Council of NGOs (SADC CNGO) in its role as a gender interest group sits on the Steering Committee and will be represented by either the Alliance Secretariat or the Economic Justice Cluster lead organisation.

The flow of information generated from the RPO will help to make informed, harmonised and timely decisions about potential reforms in poverty reduction strategies, policies and programs and to identify and capitalize on initiatives that, according to data generated by the system, appear to be encouraging for replication.

Poverty is one of the major challenges facing the SADC region where a significant section of the population, about 40 per cent, lives in abject poverty. The prevailing poor social indicators reflect this – for example high levels of malnutrition, illiteracy, unemployment, underemployment, declining life expectancy and unsatisfactory access to basic services and infrastructure needed to sustain basic human capacities.

Appropriate monitoring and evaluation are crucial to ensure that poverty reduction strategies deliver the desired outcomes. At regional level, there is need for an agreed model for monitoring poverty trends.

It is expectedthat the model will deepen the regional integration process by locating critical areas of policy intervention across countries as well as improving efficiency and creating synergies. An anticipated outcome is the alignmentof good practices and lessons learned in areas such as legal and institutional framework.


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