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The SADC Ministers of Gender and Women’s Affairs are concerned about the high rate of gender-based violence in the region

The SADC Ministers of Gender and Women’s Affairs are concerned about the high rate of gender-based violence in the region

The Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Ministers Responsible for Gender and Women’s Affairs have voiced worry over the high prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV) in the region and asked Member States to implement effective and long-term GBV prevention programmes.

This arose out of the Ministers’ meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi, on June 10, 2022, to assess progress on gender and development programming in the region, as well as the amended SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

As part of the regional integration agenda’s efforts to achieve gender equality and promote peace and security, the Ministers urged Member States to strengthen GBV data collecting and execute the SADC Regional Strategy and Framework of Action for Addressing GBV.

They approved the 2022 SADC Gender and Development Monitor on Women in Politics and Decision-making, with a focus on Articles 5, 12, and 13 of the Protocol on Representation, Participation, and Special Measures, which aim to attain gender parity in political and decision-making roles.

The Ministers also agreed to extend the SADC Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security from 2022 to 2030 in order to help implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security, which addresses the impact of conflict on women and emphasises the importance of women’s full and equal participation in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, humanitarian response, and post-conflict reconstruction.

Ministers evaluated progress on the SADC Industrialisation and Women’s Economic Empowerment Project as part of implementing the SADC Regional Multi-dimensional Women Economic Empowerment Programme (RMD-WEEP) 2020–2030. (IWEE Project). The goal of this project is to improve the participation of women-owned enterprises and female entrepreneurs in value addition for specific sectors and regional value chains (RVCs).

The Revised Gender Mainstreaming Resource Kit, which promotes gender mainstreaming in a variety of industries, was also authorised by ministers. The kit includes ten sector-specific courses that provide practical advise on gender mainstreaming in priority sectors for regional integration.

The Ministers urged Member States that have not yet signed and ratified the Revised SADC Protocol on Gender and Development to do so as soon as possible in order to expedite the protocol’s implementation. By fostering and harmonising gender-responsive laws, policies, programmes, and initiatives, the Protocol aspires to empower women, eliminate discrimination, and achieve gender equality.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Malawi and Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers, Honourable Nancy Tembo, praised the Member States for seizing the unique opportunity to discuss policy issues and for gracing a platform to share insights, experiences, and lessons in her opening remarks.

Gender equality, she added, is a crucial component and contributor to the long-term development of the SADC Member States and the Region. Hon. Tembo fought for equal recognition and the construction of a favourable climate in which men and women may continue to enjoy their full rights without infringement or oppression, with equal employment opportunities, businesses, financial institutions, and leadership representation.

In her capacity as Chairperson of SADC Ministers Responsible for Gender and Women’s Affairs, Hon. Dr Patricia Kaliati, Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare of the Republic of Malawi, presided over the meeting. She emphasised the Region’s commitment to fully establish a robust strategy, as outlined in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP 2020–2030), which will result in a significant shift in the gender agenda, which will be woven into many SADC programmes and projects.

She advocated for the rapid implementation of regional protocols, strategies, policies, and programmes to support women’s efforts by encouraging them to participate in growth and progress toward a better future.

Hon. Kaliati called for the active promotion of effective GBV prevention initiatives as part of the regional integration agenda’s efforts to achieve gender equality and promote peace and security, and highlighted physical and social misfortunes that befall women and girls, such as defilement, rape, HIV/AIDS, and limited access to productive resources.

Ambassador Joseph Nourrice, the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Corporate Affairs, highlighted a number of tools developed in line with the RISDP 2020–2030 Gender Equality and Development priorities, with the goal of achieving gender parity, equality, equity, and, in particular, the empowerment of women and girls.

Ambassador Nourrice lauded the Member States for their achievements and efforts in mainstreaming gender equality into important policy areas and encouraged for active promotion of the gender machinery by all institutional stakeholders in the public, private, and voluntary sectors.

Ministers or their representatives from 13 Member States, including Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, attended the meeting both physically and virtually.

by ichhori.com Reference: ichhori.com

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