SADC leaders urged to adopt gender protocol

Date: January 1, 1970
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The Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance urges heads of state to make history by adopting the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development at their summit in Lusaka, from 16-17 August.

5 August: The Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance[1] urges heads of state to make history by adopting the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development at their summit in Lusaka, from 16-17 August. 

As representatives of sixteen regional and national NGOs working to promote the rights of women in the region, we commend gender ministers for crafting one of the most far reaching instruments anywhere in the world for achieving gender equality, and justice ministers for approving this instrument at their recent meetings ahead of the heads of state summit. 

The ball is now firmly in the court of our leaders. We trust that they will seize this historic moment to make a difference to the lives of women who constitute the majority of the politically, socially and economically marginalised in society despite their central role to the development of our region.    

The draft Protocol is the culmination of a unique collaboration between governments and civil society that gained momentum in 2005 with an audit of progress in implementing the SADC Declaration on Gender and Development during the tenth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women.  

The audit found that governments had failed to deliver on the one concrete target in the Declaration- achieving 30 percent women in decision-making; that women constitute the majority of the poor; the unemployed and the dispossessed; that gender violence in all countries is unacceptably high and that HIV and AIDS threatens to reverse the fragile gains made by women over the last decade.  

What distinguishes the SADC Gender Protocol from all the existing international and regional commitments to gender equality is the number of concrete, time bound commitments to achieving key strategic objectives. Altogether the Protocol has twenty targets: six by 2010, and 14 by 2015.   

These targets not only bring together but enhance existing commitments in such instruments as the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); the Millennium Development Goals and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. For example, while all these make reference to women’s participation in decision-making, only the SADC Protocol gives a bold time-frame of 2015 for achieving this.   

The Protocol draws on and seeks to extend good practice in the region. For example, it requires that by 2015 all countries follow the example set by two countries in the region ( and ) by enshrining gender equality in their constitutions and giving this provision primacy over customary law. 

All countries will also be required by that year to have comprehensive legislation, services and specialised facilities for addressing gender violence as well as reduce current levels by 50 percent.  

The Protocol breaks new ground by requiring that women participate equally in economic decision-making; be afforded access to credit; public procurement contracts and wage employment. 

It further sets out targets for implementation, monitoring, evaluation and resource allocation with strong peer review and accountability mechanisms. A summary of the key provisions of the protocol is attached.  

For more information call Susan Tolmay on 27 (0) 83 519 8959 

 [1] The SADC Gender Protocol Alliance comprises the Botswana Congress of NGOs (BOCONGO);  Federation of African Media Women (FAMW) – SADC; Gender Links (GL); Gender and Media Southern Africa Network (GEMSA); Justice and Peace (Lesotho); Malawi Council of Churches; Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA); NGO Gender Coordination Network Malawi; SAFAIDS; Society for Women and AIDS in Africa Zambia (SWAAZ); Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF); Women in Law in Southern Africa (WLSA); Women, Land and Water Rights Southern Africa (WLWRSA); Women in Politics Caucus Botswana; Women’s Leadership Centre Namibia; Young Women’s Christian Association Botswana (YWCA); Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre (ZWRCN). 




Download : SADC GenderProtocol At a glance clm 060807

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