Monday, 10 February 2014
African Ministers of Gender Issue Key Recommendations for a Stand Alone Goal on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment for the Post 2015 Development Agenda
Addis Ababa, February 2014: The Africa Ministerial preparatory meeting for the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) brought together African Ministers of gender and experts under the aegis of the African Union Commission (AUC), and in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the United Nations Entity for Gender equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women), at the African Union Conference Center. The objective of the consultation was to develop a common understanding and to adopt key recommendations for the post 2015 development agenda and the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, represented by the AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs H.E. Dr. Anthony Mothae Maruping, stated at the opening of the ministerial meeting that the consultations were taking place at a critical time when the continent is consolidating its common position, as an integral part of Africa's vision to play a dynamic role in the global arena.
Emphasizing the need to do more at country, regional and continental levels the Chairperson stressed on the importance of closing the gender gap in educational attainment and technology fields. «As part of Africa’s transformation agenda for 2063, we talk about skills revolution, but this revolution can only happen if it includes the other half of Africa’s human resources, girls and women» said the Chairperson.
«This preparatory meeting provides African Leaders with a strategic opportunity to strengthen the region’s collective voice and impact at the upcoming CSW session which will be held in New York from 21st-24thMarch 2014. It also provides us with an important political platform to determine the actions required to accelerate progress on gender equality and the empowerment of women», said Lakshmi Puri Assistant Secretary General and UN Women’s Deputy Executive Director in her statement. She stressed the need to bring the African woman to the heart of the continent’s development agenda. «Unless the women and girls in Africa arise, and we support them in rising, Africa cannot rise. This is the message we want to give», Ms. Puri added.
Ms. Ngone Diop, Chief of Gender at UNECA, speaking on behalf of Dr. Carlos Lopez, Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of UNECA, explained that economies across the continent are suffering due to rampant Gender Inequalities. « Studies are indicating that the gender gap costs Africa up to 255 billion US dollars per year. We need to understand that it is not a favor to women but it’s their right. And, It is not only a right , but it is the right and smart thing to do”, she concluded.
The consultation derived from and was built on global and regional frameworks and commitments including the Beijing Platform for Action, and regional protocols and declarations, namely, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the Maputo Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, Abuja Declaration, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol on Gender and Development, among others.