We, representatives of Civil Society Organization (CSOs) promoting gender equality and accountability for women’s rights in Africa, participants to the “African Union Commission (AUC) Consultative Meeting on the New Gender Strategy 2017-2021, from 27-28 October 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia organized by Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) Network in partnership with Women Gender and Development Directorate (WGDD) of the African Union Commission and Action Aid International;
WELCOME the development of the AU gender strategy for the period 2017 -2021which is in line with AU Assembly/AU/Decl.5 (XXV), Twenty-Fifth Ordinary Session, 2015, Johannesburg, South Africa, on aligning policies with Agenda 2063 and the African Union Commission’ approval to design a new strategy for gender equality and women’s empowerment in 2016;
ACKNOWLEDGE the invitation of diverse Civil Society Organizations. Media, Research Institutions and other Women’s Rights Organizations who are key in realizing the implementation of this strategy at all levels to contribute, participate and shape the new AU gender strategy including assessing the capacity requirements for its implementation, monitoring tools, harmonization with other frameworks and plans for its operationalization;
RECOGNISING that this process is timely in view of leveraging the gains made by the AUC on advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment on the continent through policy frameworks that include the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA), Maputo Protocol and other ground breaking and gender responsive initiatives, the SDI tool for monitoring;
SUPPORT the ongoing AUC reform and call for strong integration and institutionalization of gender throughout all structures, policies and processes. In light of this, WE REQUEST for the mobilization of resources and a fund that will address women’s empowerment and accelerate the realization of gender commitments;
COMMIT ourselves to support AU Women, Gender and Development Directorate towards the realization of the AU gender strategy as partners in the development through to implementation.
We call the AU Gender Directorate mandated with the development of this strategy to focus on the following key priorities:
- Women Peace and Security– recognizing existing continental, regional, national and local level efforts on UNSCR1325 and follow up instruments;
- Securing Rights and Wellbeing of Women; eliminating all forms of GBV, harmful traditional practices and norms (child marriages, female genital mutilation, teenage pregnancies), access to comprehensive Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, and addressing HIV& AIDS;
- Women’s Agriculture, Environment and Climate Justice – Holistic approach and models across the value chains to transform women’s status, labor saving technologies and innovations;
- Women’s Leadership, Governance and Decision-making – at all levels taking into account transformative and intergenerational leadership in both public and private sectors;
- Quality Education, Training, and capacity building– founded on African Pan African values and principles and advancing Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics ( STEM);
- Women’s Economic Empowerment and justice – especially advancement in macro-economics, infrastructure, energy, technology and financial services, reducing, and redistributing unpaid care work, gender pay gap and inequalities, access and control of productive resources.
We urge the AU Gender Strategy to incorporate the following substantive cross-cutting approaches and values as drivers of change towards achieving gender equality in Africa:
- Accountability to women’s human rights, justice, the rule of law and commitments as defined in the Solemn Declaration SDGEA, Maputo Protocol, Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030;
- Mobilization and leadership of women and girls, thus adopting an inter-generational approach on the content of the issues;
- Adequate resource allocation, investment in women and girls and implementation of special temporary measures and innovative technologies;
- Strengthening the gender institutions and mechanisms at the African Union, regional, national and local levels:
- Fostering safe, secure and open space for civic engagement and women’s participation;
- Closing the gender data gaps through implementation of the Solemn Declaration Index and AU Gender Scorecard for monitoring and evaluating progress on gender equality;
- Addressing structural and systematic barriers that continuously perpetuate gender inequality and low status of women and girls in Africa.
- A holistic approach which includes addressing the intersections between patriarchy, unequal access to power and resources, and socially constructed norms, and failed economic models.,
APPRECIATE the continued recognition by AUC that gender and youth are central to development and WE ASK for support for strengthening of the AU Gender Directorate’s in implementing its mandate and coordination mechanisms and continued support to civil society.
Dated at Addis Ababa this 28th Day of October 2017