Regional: Think Tank participated in the 8th Civil Society Forum – 6 – 10 August

Regional: Think Tank participated in the 8th Civil Society Forum – 6 – 10 August

Date: February 18, 2013
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In its role as the regional gender focal point, the Southern Africa Protocol Alliance participated in the Annual Civil Society Forum hosted by the SADC CNGO represented by the Secretariat, Think Tank and the national focal point for the host country, Forum Mulher with the aim of ensuring that gender is mainstreamed in all discussions.

The Alliance represented by Loveness Jambaya Nyakujarah, GL Alliance Manager and provides the Secretariat to the Alliance made a statement on the opening day on the SADC We Want from a gender perspective. Emma Kaliya a member of the think tank was a discussant in the debate with political parties where she took politicians to task on the issue of 50/50.

The Alliance conveneda parallel session on the SADC We Want to gather the views of civil society from a gender perspective.

The Alliance led the process of gathering key demands from the gender sector for the communique to the Heads of State during the Civil Society Forum.

A summary of key demands raised that came out of the deliberations and featured in the communique that was submitted to the Heads of State summit are:

  • That SADC uses the opportunity during the review of its Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP)to revise the seven targets on gender in the current RISDP to encompass all 28 targets of the SADC Gender Protocol to be achieved by 2015 and relate to various theme sector targets as appropriate to ensure mainstreaming.
  • That hot button issues are addressed in the revised RISDP: These include abortion, sex work, marital rape and issues sexual minorities. The fact that these are not provided for in the SADC Gender Protocol demonstrates the high level of contention
  • SADC develops a Post 2015 Development agenda that ensures gender responsive planning & budgeting at all levels – regional, national and local.
  • The two countries that have not signed to do so urgently (Botswana and Mauritius).
  • Speedy ratification by four countries (now reduced to two) that have not done so as 2015 is around the corner.
  • All members states that have signed and ratified accelerate implementation – only three years to go before the 2015 deadline to achieve the 28 targets
  • Gender equality should be central to eradicating poverty in SADC.
  • Member states put in place special measures such as legislated quotas, to increase women’s representation and participation in order to achieve 5050 target especially in the 10 countries that still have elections coming.
  • SADC Member states adopt an Addendum to the SADC Gender Protocol on gender and climate change in order to keep the instrument relevant and updated by reflecting emerging issues.
  • That SADC States offer viable sustainable alternatives to natural resources for example instead of firewood women should have access to other forms of energy for cooking.
  • That SADC member states offer subsidies/incentives for those making energy savings, e.g. solar (currently high start-up costs have led to slower uptake)
  • That Member States align national gender policies and action plans to SADC Gender Protocol – cost these, “what is not counted, doesn’t count”
  • Local government is recognised as a critical player in promoting gender equality
  • Member States undergoing Constitutional reviews use the opportunity to repeal all discriminatory laws
  • Only 40% of SADC countries have paternity leave – men need time too
  • Come up with innovative strategies to ensure private sector involvement in promoting gender equality in the workplace – e.g. South Africa’s draft Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill.
  • That Member States recognise care work by remunerating those involved in the sector.
  • That SADC puts in place a regional identification document (one SADC ID) especially to make the lives of cross boarder traders much easier.

Issues of sexual minorities a hot potato
The issues of sexual minorities remained contentious even at civil society level. The clause had to be taken out of the communique to the Heads of State because some of the sectors vowed not endorse it as they did not agree. The communique has to be adopted by consensus. Read full article that reflected on the civil society meeting reaction to the issue.


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