SADC Secretariat develops operational plan (2012 – 2016) for the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development

SADC Secretariat develops operational plan (2012 – 2016) for the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development

Date: November 22, 2011
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The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Secretariat’s Gender Unit, working in close collaboration with the Alliance, has developed a SADC Plan of Action to operationalise the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

This took place at a regional consultative conference on Gender and Development held from 24 -26 October 2011 in Johannesburg which brought together close to 70 delegates from the SADC Gender Unit, senior officials from gender or women’s affairs ministries and civil society.Gender Links, as coordinator of the Alliance, gave an overview of the role of civil society in this process through the data gathered via the Barometer and the work on costing national action plans. Cluster lead groups made presentations on the provisions of the Protocol; gaps and hoe these can be addressed.

Following the signing of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development by 13 Heads of State, eight signatories have since ratified the binding instrument. This is the required number of ratifications needed for the Protocol to enter into force as per article 40 and 41 of the Protocol. It is therefore an opportune time to develop a roadmap for achieving the key provisions of the Gender Protocol in particular the 28 targets set for 2015 across all sectors.

SADC Ministers responsible for Gender and Women’s Affairs at their June 2011 meeting in Windhoek, Namibia directed the SADC Secretariat to coordinate the development of a regional plan of action and further endorsed this at the August 2011 meeting in Luanda, Angola.

The Plan of Action provides a defined direction for implementation of regional gender commitments; clear roles, responsibilities and mandates for stakeholders; and a framework for better coordination, effective monitoring and evaluation. It also provides a springboard for resource mobilisation to ensure adequate financing for planned programmes and staffing at all levels.

A priority action identifies is that all SADC countries align their gender policies (for those that have not done so), gender action plans to the SADC Gender Protocol and cost these so that line ministries are clear on their mandate and contribution to advancing gender equality and allocate appropriate resources or raise additional required finances based on a clear roadmap.

Namibia has led the way and demonstrated that they can. A case study presented by the Director for Gender Mainstreaming in the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Ms Rosina Mobakeng inspired many countries to do the same. in doing this as shown by a case study that the Ministry presented.

In a speech read on her behalf, Honourable Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana acknowledged that the region has recorded commendable milestones towards achieving gender equality. For example in the areas of public sector; judiciary; political decision making; women’s health especially a reduction in maternal mortality rates and education where most countries have achieved gender parity at primary level enrolment. Many have established vibrant national gender machineries and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

Xingwana however went on to acknowledge that a myriad of challenges remain. High poverty levels amongst women exacerbated by lack of access and control of economic resources; women and girls continue to face health problems exacerbated by HIV and AIDS; in many SADC countries, girls begin to drop at higher levels of education; stereotypes still experienced; violence against women and children persists with new forms.


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