Alliance calls on Heads of State to step up efforts to achieve gender equality

Date: August 12, 2015
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Botswana 13 August: The Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance has called on SADC Heads of State to put their weight behind the review of the SADC Gender Protocol, especially the proposed Monitoring, Evaluation and Results (MER) Framework.

In a statement following the SADC Gender Protocol@Work summit in Gaborone, the “network of gender networks” from across the region noted with concern that the action plan agreed by gender ministers in Harare in May for the review of the SADC Protocol is behind schedule. The Alliance, which produces an annual Barometer on the state of gender equality in the region, reiterated its offer of technical support to ensure a strengthened Post-2015 Protocol at a meeting with Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Edwin Batshu who will now lead the process as Botswana takes over the chair.

The Alliance also expressed its fervent hope that the review process will pave the way for Botswana and Mauritius, the only two countries that have not signed the Protocol, to do so. Opening the summit on Monday, Botswana Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi fell “short of a promise” that Botswana would sign if the review addressed the country’s key concern – that the 2015 deadline had been too tight and some provisions too compelling.

The SADC Gender Protocol is a unique sub-regional instrument adopted in 2008 that brings together African and global agreements to gender equality and enhances these through 28 targets that expire in 2015, also the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals.

At their meeting in Harare in May, gender ministers agreed that the SADC Gender Protocol should be reviewed in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Beijing Plus Twenty Review and the African Union Agenda 2063. Ministers adopted a roadmap that included the setting up of a Task Team comprising senior officials and technical experts from UNWOMEN and the Alliance, at the invitation of the SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Tax.

According to the roadmap adopted by ministers, the Task Team should have met in the wings of the SADC Gender Proocol@Work Summit. This did not happen due to capacity constraints at the Secretariat. Civil society and government representatives took the opportunity to make recommendations on how the Protocol could be updated. These will be forwarded to Botswana as Chair and the SADC Secretariat.

The Alliance comprises 15 country and 10 regional networks that campaigned for the adoption and implementation, and now the review of the SADC Gender Protocol. With over 30 targets and indicators on gender, the SDGs offer the opportunity to strengthen the Gender Protocol in key areas, especially climate change and women’s rights. The SADC Protocol is ahead of global provisions in other areas, such as the media.

For more information contact: Sifiso Dube – 27 78 274 5428


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