Ratification of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development

Ratification of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development

Date: February 26, 2011
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So close, yet so far away….what is at stake?

The signature of a Protocol by a SADC Member State signifies an initial endorsement of that Protocol. However, it’s not over yet: SADC Article 41 then requires that a two thirds majority of member states should then ratify and deposit Instruments of Ratification with the SADC Secretariat. Only then can a Protocol come into force.

Ratification is a formal act by which a member state agrees to be legally bound by the terms of the Protocol. It involves a two-step process. First, the state must sign the Protocol, and then it must undertake a national process based on its constitutional requirements and national laws, procedures and structures. Finally, it must deposit its Instrument of Ratification with the SADC Secretariat

Current status of the SADC Gender Protocol

– 13 countries have signed the Protocol, except Botswana and Mauritius.
– Eight out of the 13 have ratified the Protocol: Angola, DRC, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
– Five out of the eight have deposited their Instruments of Ratification: Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
– One more country needs to ratify the Protocol and then it will come into force.

The cost of implementing the SADC Gender Protocol: Lessons in budgeting for gender equality

The SADC Gender Protocol is one country away from ratification – but what happens when it actually, finally, comes into force? And how will countries pay for it?

On 14 February, an expert think-tank meeting convened in Johannesburg on this topic, hoping to plan ahead to prepare the resources which will be needed.

Members of the SADC Gender Protocol Alliance met to discuss the costing of the implementation of the Protocol and the important process of determining what resources will be needed at national and regional level if its legally-binding 2015 targets are to be achieved.

Participants included the head of the SADC Gender Secretariat, Magdeline Mathiba-Madibela, and gender-responsive budgeting technical experts from across the region, including Naome Chimbetete and Mary Rusimbi.

It was a “think-tank” meeting in the truest sense of the word, with extensive discussion about how to begin the process of costing and implementing. There was recognition that the Protocol should act as a frame of reference, as countries within the region are at various stages of engaging with its provisions at national level.

A critical outcome of the meeting was the recognition that the process would have to start at country level before a regional strategy for budgeting and costing was formulated and implemented.

The meeting yielded plenty of crucial information which can be used for advocacy and it served as a reminder of how much work still needs to be done.


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