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SADC pledges gender equality commitment

22 Apr 2024

The SADC Gender  Protocol encourages cooperation and collaboration among member states to advance the gender equality objective, says Senior Programme Officer at the SADC Secretariat, Dr Patrice Kabeya. 

Speaking at the Regional Stakeholder Validation workshop for Women in Water Diplomacy network in the Orange-Senqu Basin in Gaborone, Thursday, Dr Kabeya said since its adoption in 2008, the SADC Gender Protocol had continued to see progress in women employment across the region. 

He said member states had taken a step to enact laws, policies and programmes that promoted gender equality and addressed  gender-based discrimination and inequality. 

He also said the key areas in the protocol were education, health, economic empowerment, politics and governance. 

He further said the SADC Gender Protocol represented a significant role by member states to promote gender equality and women empowerment in the region. 

He said by working together and implementing the targets and commitments outlined in the protocol, SADC member states could contribute to creating a more inclusive, equitable and prosperous society for all. 

Dr Kabeya said the SADC Gender Protocol provided the legal framework for the equitable and sustainable management of trans boundary water resources within the region. 

He said gender considerations were increasingly being incorporated into the implementation of the protocol, recognising the importance of women involvement in trans boundary water governance and diplomacy. 

He said SADC collaborated with international organisations, donor agencies and civil society groups to support gender responsive water diplomacy initiatives within the region. 

“Partnerships are forged to mobilise resources, share best practices and strengthen regional cooperation on gender and water issues, contributing to the achievement of SADC’s gender and water related objectives,” he said. 

He further said efforts were made to ensure that gender and water initiatives were inclusive and responsive to the needs of marginalised women, including those from rural areas, indigenous communities and low-income households. 

For his part, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Lands and Water Affairs, Dr Kekgonne Baipoledi said water was the most limiting factor when it comes to socio-economic growth. 

Therefore, he said the aim of the network was to enhance the collective capacity of women throughout the Orange-Senqu Basin. 

Dr Baipoledi said they were to support the engagement of women water leaders in decision making and peace building processes. 

He said the guiding framework had been developed by extensive consultants in all the Member States aimed at creating an enabling sustainable environment that provided tools for establishing the Women in Water Diplomacy Network (WWDN) in ORASECOM. 

The Permanent Secretary also said the ORASECOM established the WWDN in Southern Africa based on the consultation processes that took place in the four member countries with a consultative workshop held in Botswana in October last year. 

He said the workshop aimed at strengthening the concept of water diplomacy and empowering a wide variety of actors involved. 

He also said it brought regional stakeholders to collectively share their experiences as they embarked on the establishment of Women in Water Diplomacy in the Orange-Senqu Basin. 

The workshop aimed at providing a deep dive into water diplomacy as well as effective and inclusive water cooperation, among others. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Gontle Merafhe

Location : Gaborone

Event : Workshop

Date : 22 Apr 2024