AU and States urged to prioritise gender issues

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) – The campaign for eq-uality between men and women is yet to have a concrete impact in rural areas of Africa, says Bineta Diop, chairperson of "Femmes Africa Solidarité" (FAS).
Bineta Diop further noted that the impact of the successes and results obtained by the "Gender is my Agenda" campaign is mainly felt in urban areas, a reality which she thinks demonstrates that women' status remains an issue to be dealt with.
Recalling the ninth pre-summit consultative meeting on gender mainstreaming in the African Union, held 23-24 January in Addis Ababa, Bineta Diop emphasised that it offered the opportunity to review the reports on the Solemn Declaration on equality between men and women in Africa, adopted in 2004.
Several issues were examined in connection with the reports presented during the meeting, including economic issues, women's rights, governance, women in armed conflicts, among others.
Bineta Diop also mentioned that the meeting took stock of the achievements made by African governments and non-governmental organisations dealing with gender issues.
She also observed that delegates expressed deep concern that only "nine countries out of 53 have submitted a report three years after the Solemn Declaration on gender parity between men and women in Africa was adopted".
She also deplored the inadequate quality of State reports, which do not allow for a thorough assessment of the advances made regarding women's promotion in Africa.
Although the meeting hailed the adoption of the important declaration on gender equality, delegates also insisted on the necessity to accelerate the pace.
"What we need now is to ensure that the solemn declaration is implemented.
All the instruments adopted are fantastic, but it is important that the protocol be voted into an Act by each country's national assembly," Bineta Diop told PANA's special envoy in Addis Ababa in an interview.
She observed that "the solemn declaration is a framework to see how to accelerate the implementation of recommendations".
Hence the adoption, by the ninth consultative meeting on gender mainstreaming in the African Union, of a resolution calling on African heads of State to get involved in the Declaration's implementation by ensuring the availability of adequate budget for sectors fighting for women's promotion.
African leaders are also requested to establish a regulatory commission responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Declaration on equality between men and women.
Recommendations were also made to the African Union.
"We want the Union to send missions on the ground to negotiate with States for the implementation of resolutions on the Solemn Declaration," Bineta Diop said.
She, meantime, urged the Pan-African organisation to ensure that various instruments on the implementation of the gender parity principle are applied at the level of NEPAD (the New Partnership for Africa's Development), as well as regional and sub-regional economic communities.
In the same vein, she further pleaded for adequate financial means and human resources to be made available to the various mechanisms dealing with gender issues at the level of the African Union.
Meanwhile, Bineta Diop places hopes on the next African Union Summit scheduled in July in Accra, the Ghanaian capital where "all the expected reports will need to be available and they should be of quality".
It is recalled that the ninth consultative pre-summit meeting on gender mainstreaming in the African Union was organised by members of the "Gender is my Agenda" campaign, and coordinated by Femmes Africa Solidarité.
It also benefited from the assistance of OSIWA (Open Society Initiative for West Africa).
Several leading figures, including Gertrude Mongella, Speaker of the Pan-African Parliament, and the South African minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, attended that two-day meeting.

29 january 2007 10:32:00

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