By Staff Reporter
SADC ministers responsible for Gender and Women Affairs will meet this week in Windhoek to prepare the way forward for the adoption of the SADC draft protocol on Gender and Development.
Senior officials meeting on April 28 and 29 to finalise the document for the ministers will precede the ministers’ meeting on April 30.
Permanent Secretary for Gender Equality and Child Welfare Sirkka Ausiku said after adoption by the ministers responsible for gender and women’s affairs, the document will be prepared for ministers of justice who will look at ways in which countries can adopt and domesticate it before the heads of state and government (HOSG) can adopt it at the SADC Summit in August.
The SADC Council of Ministers elevated the SADC Declaration on Gender and Development into a protocol to ensure its effective implementation of gender commitment by member states.
The draft protocol is the result of a process that started in 2005, with the audit of SADC’s Declaration on Gender and Development and its addendum on Preventing and Eradicating Gender-Based Violence.
Although the draft protocol was submitted to the SADC heads of state and government in Lusaka in 2007 where it was supposed to be signed, it was referred back for in-depth and thorough consultations with all stakeholders at national level.
The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare held consultations with representatives from line ministers, regional councils and civil society in May, which made recommendations. These recommendations will be presented at the SADC meeting next week.
Ausiku said they want the document to be adopted this August when the HOSG meet.
Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe have confirmed their attendance of the three-day meting.
The protocol brings synergy among the various instruments to which SADC member states have subscribed at the continental and international levels on gender equality, and addresses a wide range of issues that affect women in the SADC region, including constitutional and legal rights, governance, education, productive resources, gender-based violence, health, HIV/AIDS, peace-building and conflict resolution and media. ??????’??