The Southern African Development Community (SADC) in partnership with ACCORD, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), supported by the Government of Canada, and the European Union (EU), organized a SADC Regional Consultation from 25-28 July 2022, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Held within the framework of the UNDP Regional Project on Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Africa, the consultation aimed to enhance the capacity of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and other Civil Society partners towards supporting their Member States in fulfilling their gender equality and women’s empowerment commitments in the realization of African Union (AU) Agenda 2063.
Honorable Candith Mashego-Dlamini the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) officially opened the Regional Consultation. In her opening remarks, she shared, “It is important to underline that the WPS agenda is informed by UNSCR 1325 and does not merely position women as victims – it acknowledges and places them in sharper relief, their critical role as influential actors in conflict situations, citing, for instance, their historical role as combatants during the liberation struggle of Southern Africa.”
SADC Member States had the opportunity to reflect on the implementation of the WPS Agenda, including the status of development and implementation of National Action Plans (NAPs). Currently, there are only six Member States namely, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and South Africa that have developed; and are implementing their National Action Plans (NAPs), while the other Member States are at advanced stages of finalizing their respective NAPs.
Participants discussed ways in which the Member States could monitor progress on delivery of commitments, using the African Union Continental Results Framework (AU CRF). These consultations allowed the women to share a united voice towards strengthening women’s leadership and decision-making in peace and security processes, at local, national, and regional levels, and stimulated support from the SADC Member States to advance the WPS Agenda in the region.
ACCORD’s Special Advisor on WPS, Mrs Pravina Makan-Lakha contributed to various sessions during the four-day consultation. She illustrated key lessons on the role that women are playing in the mitigation of conflict in the region. The discussions closed with the development of action steps to strengthen SADC’s efforts in ensuring that women are at the centre of decision-making, peace and security processes.
ACCORD remains committed towards providing support at the regional and national levels in the implementation of the WPS NAPs within the respective member states.