AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION (AUC) CIVIL SOCIETY CONSULTATIVE MEETING ON THE NEW GENDER STRATEGY 2017-2021

RECOMMENDATIONS

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:

 

  1. Women Peace and Security– recognizing existing continental, regional, national and local level efforts on UNSCR1325 and follow up instruments;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. Women’s Leadership, Governance and Decision-making – at all levels taking into account transformative and intergenerational leadership in both public and private sectors;
  5. Quality Education, Training, and capacity building– founded on African Pan African values and principles and advancing Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics ( STEM);
  6. 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:

 

  1. 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;
  2. Mobilization and leadership of women and girls, thus adopting an inter-generational approach on the content of the issues;
  3. Adequate resource allocation, investment in women and girls and implementation of special temporary measures and innovative technologies;
  4. Strengthening the gender institutions and mechanisms at the African Union, regional, national and local levels:
  5. Fostering safe, secure and open space for civic engagement and women’s participation;
  6. Closing the gender data gaps through implementation of the Solemn Declaration Index and AU Gender Scorecard for monitoring and evaluating progress on gender equality;
  7. Addressing structural and systematic barriers that continuously perpetuate gender inequality and low status of women and girls in Africa.
  8. 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

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Strengthening The Capacity of Women Organizations to Deliver on Gender and SDGs in Nigeria

 

 

 

Participants@ the training

Overtime, various attempts have been made to reduce the level of poverty in Africa, improve women’s socio-economic status, and ensure their access to land, water, sanitation and energy but it always appears no significant results have been achieved. The efforts seem not trickling down to the women on the ground

One of the programs that has enabled countries to measure the impacts of development efforts in recent times is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which has now metamorphosed into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and or the 2030 Agenda

The 2030 Agenda includes 17 goals and 169 targets aimed to transform our world by eradicating poverty and any cruelty that demeans human dignity. It is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity which is expected to be achieved by year 2030. It is hoped that all countries and stakeholders acting in collaborative partnership will work towards the achievement of the SDGs without leaving anyone behind.

 

Ms Akosa Training participant

The Centre for 21st Century (C21st) and Echoes of Women in Africa (ECOWA) in partnership with Women Environmental Programme (WEP) organized a one day step down training on Gender and the SDGs. The training is part of the activities under the project “Women CSOs Networking to Realize the Sustainable Development Goals”, also called “Women2030 Project,” funded by the European Commission. The project is also being implemented in other countries of the world by other partner organizations namely: Women Engage for a common Future (WECF), Gender and Water Alliance (GWA), Global Forest Coalition (GFC), and Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD).

 

The workshop which held on 18th June, 2017 at the conference hall of West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) drew participation from women and gender focused NGOs, local and indigenous women  different Civil Society Organizations.

The overall objective of the workshop was to ensure that Women 2030 project builds a base in Africa that will ensure women’s needs are addressed. This was done through emphasizing the importance of gender for policy advocacy and SDGs, movement building, organizational management and the use of social media in gender and SDGs advocacy. Advocacy can be done for particular issues including the SDGs.

The training was interactive and facilitators engaged participants in group work. Skills and what participants do on SDGs were mapped out at the training. This was to help them identify their issues and take action appropriately.

 

CSOs who participated in the training  easily identified the gender and SDGs areas where their organizations have been working, the advocacy approaches they are using; which range from visible approach such as community mobilization and media campaigns to less visible approach such as advocacy letters and research.  They were also able to note the advocacy skills that stand them out and the ones they need. They expressed desire to improve their writing, mobilization, communication and research skills; all tools needed for effective advocacy on gender and SDGs. This information will enable the facilitators assist them more on the.

Apart from the fact that participants at the training were exposed to indepth knowledge on gender and SDGs and how their organizations can impact the grassroots, government and the private sector successfully, other significant features of the Women 2030 programme is to help emerging CSOs stabilize and also help with organizational development, sub-grant to those working and doing what aligns with 2030 project and those who have grafting skills in writing shadow report will be engaged.

Participating CSOs were content with the skills and awareness imbued in them in other to enable them forge alliances that will bring about the impactful implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria.

Ms. Damilola Adeoye

Program Officer

Centre for 21st century Issues (C21st)

 

 

 

 

Participants in group work session

 

 

5 Important Things to know In Engaging Women to Develop Local Gender and Social Development Action Plan

In march  2016, the Centre for 21st century issues on behalf of Educational Coperative society  facilitated   a two day workshop for the development of a 5 year Gender and social development Action plan for Itamapako Community in Ogun state of Nigeria. It was a participatory strategic planning event  aimed at engaging community women to lead in planning and addressing community basic needs that are not yet attended to. The specific objective of the workshop is to promote communal processes, which can help expand the active presence of women in concerted processes of development in Itamapako area of Ogun State.

It was a highly interactive workshop that saw the women take ownership of the process. About 36 women drawn from the 6 Communities that make up Itamapako participated in the workshop.  The women were passionate and eager to work in solidarity to move their community forward

The 5 important  things to know in the process of developing a Local Gender and Social Development Action Plan were brought to the fore during the workshop and they are;

  1. Engaging women as a groups on their own terms to identify community needs helps to bring out the real issues that requires urgent  intervention in the community-The women showed in-depth knowledge of their community, they profiled their community by giving detailed information of water sources, festivals , state of basic amenities, major economic activities, religion  and other information. They identified their needs and ranked them in order of importance.  Some of the key issues identified for urgent action are, revitalization of their abandoned market, access to portable water provision of public toilets in the community, provision of clean cook stoves and women’s human rights training for political empowerment.
  2. Women have informed opinion about community needs– The women gave articulate justification for all the issues identified. On the market issue they gave vivid account of how miscreants used to scare them away from the market by placing  fetish sacrifices at the centre of the market. They know it was the handy work of herbalist in the community supporting some groups who wants the market taken away from their community to another place.
  3. Women have the capacity to self organize and  negotiate for changes -It was interesting to see the Itamapako women provided practical solutions to all the challenges identified in the community. One of innovative strategy they came up with was to form a negotiating team made of women leaders to meet with the traditional rulers of the communities. They sighted instances of occasions where women leaders had taken up the challenge to meet with traditional rulers to speak with herbalist in the communities to stop preparing sacrifices that are placed at the market square. They were able to organize themselves to access seedlings to introduce plantain cultivation in the community.
  4. Women are ready to contribute to the development of their community-Each woman participating in the workshop made at least one  commitment to towards the successful implementation of the action plan developed. Some women volunteered to identify areas where public toilet can be situate, some volunteered to raise awareness about availability of adult literacy classes, some decided to team up with the community Development forum to monitor the repairs going on in the community  primary school, others joined the team that will clean up the market.
  5.   Women are interested in learning more about women’s right and gender mainstreaming for political empowerment In as much as the women expressed fears about  the perception and resistance from men about their political aspiration they still  voiced the need for a systemic women’s right training that will galvanize them to take appropriate step to attain political decision making positions in the community. According to them knowledge is power . They are of the opinion that their  inadequate knowledge about women’s rights issues is a stumbling block to articulating practical strategies to participate meaningfully in the political space.

    A key lesson learnt in the process is  that its  is of crucial importance to provide the space  for women to be able to voice their needs and be drivers of change that will transform their community.

Women and Gender Constituency Response to Draft Paris Outcome

 

 

11 December 2015
http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/da02.pdf
Summary
The capacity for the Paris Agreement to deliver a binding, ambitious, fair and gender just outcome that will limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees and transform polluting and inequitable economies continues to be at risk.

The most recent draft, issued by the French Presidency on the anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, adopted here in Paris on December 10, 1948, represents a disappointing step away from the promised commitment to human rights and at the same time, it
suggests a move to pressure developing countries into accepting a weaker outcome in the final hours of negotiations.

Fundamentally, this agreement does not address the needs of the most vulnerable countries, communities and people of the world. It fails to address the structures of injustice and inequality which have caused the climate crisis.
Our key concerns includes:
● Weak goal on limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, with total failure to address or mandate actions needed from developed countries to attain this goal;
● Failure to enshrine human rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples, gender equality, a just transition of the workforce that creates decent work and quality jobs, food
security, intergenerational equity, and ecosystem integrity in the core of the agreement;
● Total shift away from implementation in line with the principles of the Convention, namely common but differentiated responsibilities;
● Offsetting as mitigation measures;
● Failure to ensure compensation for loss and damage;
● Dilutes the responsibilities of developed countries to provide climate finance; with weak provisions for public finance and grants over loans;
● No provisions to ensure that technology development and transfer are safe, socially and environmentally sound.

Analysis
Preamble/Article 2.2
● Article 2.1: The current purpose of holding global temperature increases to “well below 2 degrees” and “pursuing efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees” is ambiguous and does not reflect a strong enough commitment to 1.5 degrees, which would be necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change.
● Article 2.2:
○ Rights language has been lost: a s recently as this week, Article 2.2 of the draft agreement included strong language on human rights and gender equality. Despite the urging of many Parties to ensure these crosscutting
principles are returned, a reference to gender equality was not restored and “human rights” was removed. This must be reinserted
within the operative text of the Agreement.

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African women Gender and Climate Change @COP21

On the first day of climate change talks in Paris two important side events which advanced gender in climate change with respect to African women was held at the African Pavilion.

The two side events were held simultaneously. One was organized by the  African Working Group on gender and Climate Change. It addressed gender, climate change and sustainable developments: challenges and opportunities for post 2015 agreement.

DSC01372

The event panelist came from the African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change, a working group of different actors both state and non state actors, who came together in 2013 in Addis Ababa under the auspices of Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The objective of the event was to share issues in Africa related to gender and climate change and expectations in Paris agreement as well to deliberate on the impact of climate change and gender and development.

The intent of the working group is to strengthen the negotiators on gender and climate change and to establish women’s coping capacity, this is with a view to strengthen  African common position and to make clear narrative on gender and climate change.

One of the missing link in advancing gender in climate change in Africa  was identified as lack of gender disaggregated data which could for instance inform climate science reports, respect for human rights which includes gender equality is still weak and gender sensitive implementation framework.

As Ban Ki Moon says “climate change affects us all, but it does not affect us equally”. This resonated with the fact that most of the speakers stated that the underlying causes of climate vulnerability has not been addressed due to lack of participation of and empowerment of groups in defining climate change policy  and programs.  Climate change is about human development and sustainable development can’t be achieved unless gender and climate change issues are addressed.

The panelist stated that the Paris agreement needs to focus on supporting more research, ensuring inclusion, recognize importance of traditional knowledge, strengthen capacity and increase resources for actions at local level.

The other side event was organized by New Economic partnership for Africa(NEPAD) and NEPAD Climate fund

The need to establish an African climate fund was based on the premise that African countries have not benefited commensurately  in the different finance mechanisms that have been established due to  lack of  capacity to access the funds in terms of  knowledge of different mechanisms and different options and windows on how to access the funds. Lack of Capacity to develop programs that are bankable and the available  financing arrangement do not address the financial needs of women.

IMG_0633

It is in  recognition of these challenges  that the NEPAD climate Fund was established in 2012 . It is an African owned, African led and African administered fund African  which is tailored to the peculiar African needs.

The fund  support member states of the African Union  and NGOs in the target areas of adaptation of agriculture, Biodiversity Management, access and benefit sharing and policy co-coherence among  other things. Eleven African Countries have so far access the funds

The funds has a strong capacity building element  and it is gender responsive. The fund support Women’s adaptation in agriculture,   the value chains and contributions of women to climate solution. The fund has a gender mainstreaming guidelines that is used to evaluate all proposals. It supports women in Agric business forum where women across the continent show case what they have been doing in the agriculture value chain

One of the eminent personality at the Side event , the former President of Ghana John Kuffour stressed the need to invest in climate change economy and that NEPAD fund demonstrated practical investment in climate change.It is taking care of our people, especially the women and the most vulnerable.  He said further that African countries cannot continue to wait for climate finance from the developed world. African needs to  start mobilizing finance from within  while also leveraging on climate finance provided by developed countries.

By

Ms Titilope Gbemisola Akosa and

Ms Edna Kaptoyo

 

 

 

All Eyes on Governor Ambode To Appoint More Women In Lagos State

The 2015 General Elections in Nigeria has come and gone but for women in Lagos State and indeed throughout Nigeria, it will go down in history as the election that almost obliterated whatever gains they have recorded in elective positions since the beginning of this current democratic dispensation in 1999.
Women who contested in Lagos State recorded significant losses which saw the number of women at the Lagos State House of Assembly shrunk to 5 from 7 in the last House of Assembly while the number of women from Lagos in the House of Representatives reduced to1 from 3 in last National Assembly.
Despite the electoral losses, many women are still hopeful that the losses can be mitigated by having more women in appointive positions. This is more so in Lagos state where the newly elected Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode by his utterances and actions before and after the elections have committed to ensuring gender equality and particularly committing to having more women in governance.
According to Mr. Akiwunmi Ambode on February 5, 2015 during the Town Hall meeting held for Gubernatorial Candidates in Lagos State by women at Muson Centre in Lagos, he said,
“Iam more for women’s right and equality. While I was the Accountant-General, I had six women directors and two male directors. We wish to see sometimes soon, women governors and women speakers of the House of Assembly in Lagos state”
He further committed himself by saying that;
“My commitment towards women in everything I do is very personal. No girl would be denied good education. You can hold me accountable for every word that I have spoken,” (http://saharanewspost.com/2015/02/lagos-women-drill-ambode-agbaje-adeniji/)

The most auspicious time to hold the Governor accountable for every word that he has spoken is now, when he is set to appoint his cabinet and reconstitute the boards and agencies which he dissolved immediately he stepped into office as Governor.
It is very important to set the records straight and awaken the consciousness of the new Governor to the fact that history beckons on him to achieve parity for women in the governance of Lagos State.
Historical review of appointments into Lagos State Executive Council since year 1967 when Lagos State was created revealed that, women’s representation in the council has not exceeded 21% either Under military or democratic government. The situation under this current democratic dispensation is worse off as the highest so far recorded is 11% ( see figure 1, 2 and Table 1 below), a percentage way below 35% affirmative action stipulated under the Nigeria National Gender Policy (2006)

Figure 1-page-001Figure 2-page-001

The position of the Deputy Governor remains the only position where women have had higher representation than men. Between 1979 and 2015, Lagos has had 6 female Deputy Governors compared to 3 male Deputy Governors (table 2)

TABLE 1-page-001

Figure 1-page-001Figure 2-page-001

In over 4 decades of the existence of Lagos State, men have been 14 times opportune to get appointed into Lagos State Executive Council than women. This is indeed a poor showing from a State acknowledged as the role model of good governance in Nigeria. It is unjust to say the least, that despite the active participation of Lagos women in politics, especially the women traders who are noted for their political mobilization and massive voting during elections, they hardly ever win elections or are given appointments in government.

Over the years, Lagos no doubt has shown considerable political will in the quest for gender equality and women’s empowerment. The predecessors of Governor Ambode; Governors, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Raji Fashola has helped to set the ball rolling by enacting and adopting gender sensitive Laws and policies such as, Child

<img src="https://c21stnigeria.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/table-2-page-001.jpg?w=300" alt="TABLE 2-page-001" width="300" height="124" class="align TABLE 2-page-001left size-medium wp-image-386″ />

rights Law, Paternity leave, Domestic Violence Law and gender Policy. It is time to deepen the engagement and raise the bar on behalf of women by achieving parity for women in appointive positions in Lagos State.

It will be naïve to think that securing more appointive positions for women in Lagos State under the new administration of Governor Ambode will be automatic. It will definitely take a lot of lobbying and advocacy. Women have braced up for the challenge. Lagos state Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT) has been in the forefront of the advocacy for more women in Lagos State and have taken up the challenge.
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Before the elections, LASGAT prepared the Gender and Social Inclusion Charter for candidates contesting elections in Lagos State to endorse. The charter brings to the fore the desires and voices of Lagos women, youths, people with disabilities, marginalized and socially vulnerable communities to the centre of political discourse. The charter made 7 demands referred to as” 7 Point Development Asks” by which government will be held accountable and responsive to gender equality, women’s empowerment and inclusion in Lagos state. The 5th Development ‘Asks’ in the charter calls on Lagos State government to demonstrate Political will to Gender equality and inclusive governance by establishing a system of gender mainstreaming which incorporates 35% of women in all sectors of government (https://c21stnigeria.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/gender-equality-and-social-inclusion-charter-for-lagos-state/).

A few female candidates in Lagos State endorsed the Charter at an interactive forum organized by LASGAT for female Candidates contesting in Lagos state before the elections. After, the elections, LASGAT had a consultative meeting with elected female members of the Lagos State House of Assembly to strategize for the implementation of the Charter.

To show the commitment of LASGAT in supporting the appointment of more women, a list of credible, qualified and competent women who can be appointed into various appointive positions in Lagos State was complied and the list was sent to the Governor for his attention. This was done to foreclose any excuse that qualified women are not available or that women are not interested in serving the State. It is expected that the Governor will act on this list.

Judging by the recent appointment of 10 women permanent secretary out of the 19 newly appointed permanent secretaries in Lagos State, it appeared that Governor Ambode has began to make good his promises to Lagos women and he is set to redress the injustice of the past by appointing more women into Lagos State Executive Council and Boards of Parastatals and Agencies.
The appointment of more women permanent secretaries is welcomed and celebrated but efforts to see that more women are appointed into the Lagos State Executive Council and Boards of Agencies must be intensified until it is achieved. Afterwards, advocacy efforts to put pressure on the government to pass the Gender and Equal Opportunities Law wherein 35% of all appointments in Lagos state is reserved for women should proceed. The Governor should know from the outset that appointment of more women is not to be a one off thing. His vision of seeing women attaining the position of Governor and Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly can only materialize if it is recognized in a written Law.

Need it be emphasized that participation of women and men in politics is very essential to ensure that their rights and issues are addressed within the framework of governance. Significantly, increasing the representation of women in politics and governance provides the avenue through which they can change discriminatory Laws, policies, programs and practices that affect them.

Consequently, Governor, Ambodes must not shy away from exercising his power as the executive Governor of Lagos State in favour of women. He is better placed now than ever to redress the historical marginalization of women in appointive positions. He must stand with the women of Lagos and live up to his electoral promises. All eyes are on him to make it right for women.

By
Ms Gbemisola Titilope Ngozi Akosa
Executive Director
Centre for 21st century Issues
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