Botswana: Ready to lead SADC post -2015 gender agenda

Botswana: Ready to lead SADC post -2015 gender agenda

Date: August 17, 2015
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Gaborone, 17 August: The Fourth SADC Gender Protocol@work summit opened last week in Gaborone on a high note with indications from the Botswana government that they are ready to sign the reviewed SADC Gender Protocol. Botswana and Mauritius are the only countries in the region that have not signed the 2008 SADC Protocol on Gender and Development whose targets expire at the end of this year.

Giving his keynote address to the more than 200 delegates from 13 SADC countries at the official ceremony held at Tlotlo hotel in Gaborone, Vice President Mokgwetsi Masisi reaffirmed the government’s commitment to gender equality. His speech indicated a shift on the government position in not signing the Protocol. “Allow me to fall short of a promise that we Botswana (sic) as you reposition yourselves will very keenly and expectedly look forward to the issues being addressed and will append our signature to a new Protocol.” His statement comes at a timely moment as this week Botswana will take over from Zimbabwe as the chair of SADC and will play an important role in the review of the Protocol.

The Botswana Council of Non-governmental Organisations (BOCONGO) issued a statement on the sidelines of the summit calling for the government to sign and ratify the Protocol. “It is timely for Botswana to sign, ratify and domesticate the SADC Gender and Development Protocol in order for the government to take advantage of the opportunity to be a part of the review process of the protocol as well as domestic Beijing plus 20 and the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals agenda. Further, Botswana takes over at this summit as Chair of SADC thus it is the right step to take,” BOCONGO stated.

During the summit official opening ceremony the Alliance, through its Chair Emma Kaliya, expressed their desire for the region to take the lead globally on advancing gender equality.
“It is our desire that SADC emerges as a leader especially as far as gender equality and women’s empowerment are concerned. We know that this can be achieved through ensuring its domestication and resource allocation. Your Honour, your coming here today is therefore very crucial as it is happening towards the countdown to 2015. We are very sure that this is time to plan, restrategise and reprioritise for 2030, in line with the global agenda in order to keep the momentum.”

The United Nations Women Executive Director Phumuzile Mlambo- Ngcuka in a speech read on her behalf by the Botswana United Nations Resident Coordinator Anders Perdersen congratulated the SADC Heads of States for adopting the Protocol.

“For those of us in this room, 2015 has very specific significance because the SADC Gender Protocol Barometer, which was aligned to the MDGs, has reached the end of its countdown of progress on gender equality. I take this moment to congratulate the Heads of State of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for having the foresight in 2008 to adopt a Protocol on Gender and Development. SADC is one of the few, if not only sub-regions that has taken all the global and continental commitments to gender equality and wrapped them into one instrument with ambitious, time-bound targets,” she said.

Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Deputy President of South Africa, went on to further congratulate the Alliance, for producing the annual Barometer to track progress adding that: “I am a firm believer in the dictum that what is not counted does not count. And the SADC region has set itself ahead of the pack with this protocol and it’s Barometer.”

The 2015 Barometer, the fifth edition in the annual tracking of implementation of the Protocol, gives an analysis of progress to date and offers insights into the region’s post – 2015 gender agenda.Perderson and Botswana’s Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Edwin Batshu officially launched the Barometer soon after the opening ceremony of the summit.

The two day summit saw 52 participants presenting in six categories; Gender in Media Education, Government, and Most Resourceful Centre of Excellence for urban and rural councils as well as Emerging Entrepreneurs – Existing Businesses and start up business. Winners and runners up came from nine SADC countries – Botswana, Lesotho, Zambia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Namibia, Malawi and South Africa. Four of the six winners were women; runners up split evenly between women and men. Access a full list of winners here.

This article forms part of the Gender Links News Service special coverage of the SADC Protocol@Work Regional Summit in Botswana.



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