Tracking the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development

Tracking the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development

Date: May 17, 2011
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Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the 16th edition of Roadmap to Equality! tracking progress toward the implementation and ratification of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

In South Africa the countdown to the local government elections on 18 May is heating up, with all political leaders calling for people to come out in their numbers and exercise their democratic right to vote. Party lists have been finalised and it is disappointing to note that there is no province that has more than 40% women candidates. These are the last elections in South Africa before 2015, the deadline in the SADC Gender Protocol for gender parity in decision-making.

Also in South Africa, increasing reports of violence against sexual minorities is an ongoing concern. Following the brutal murder last month of a 24-year old lesbian, Noxolo Nogwaza, it seems the South African government is finally taking action to end homophobic violence. This was followed by an announced from the justice and constitutional ministry that it is setting up a task team to tackle hate crimes against gays and lesbians.

During the recently held second Gender Justice and Local Government Summit in Johannesburg, Mozambique activists flagged the important challenge of gender and climate change in the wake of recent floods in Mozambique and the effects the aftermath has on women. Women groups and activists sought to garner regional support from the Alliance to force the Mozambique government to engage with the local civil society organisations working in the area of climate change and disaster management in order to come up with workable solutions for women.

In Zambia, the women’s movement recently rejected the country’s draft Constitution noting it was devoid of women’s rights issues as outlined in the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development and the AU Protocol on Women’s Rights in Africa. Further, the Constitutional Bill was defeated as opposition Members of Parliament refused to support it. The Green T-Shirt movement launched by the Non-Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council and its members also protested the lack of women’s rights issues in the rejected draft.

The Alliance team is busy preparing the SADC Gender Protocol 2011 Barometer. The report is an update of the 2010 Barometer, tracking progress made on implementing the SADC Gender Protocol provisions since the Baseline report of 2009. The Alliance convened a March meeting of its Steering Committee and the regional research team to prepare for this project. One new and exciting feature in the upcoming report is a budgeting and costing element, which will set out costing for each provision. The report will also feature regional case studies that demonstrate the SADC Gender Protocol at work.

Strengthening of the Alliance remains an ongoing process and we are pleased to share that we recently convened two successful Alliance caucus meetings of the Alliance national networks in Maputo and Windhoek. The meetings helped strengthen the Alliance national focal points in both countries. This will reinforce the work of the Alliance at national levels, as well as strengthen advocacy efforts to push governments to implement the Protocol ahead of the August Heads of State Summit in Angola.

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