Africa: Gender, Recent Documents, 4/28/97

Africa: Gender, Recent Documents, 4/28/97

Africa: Gender, Recent Documents
Date distributed (ymd): 970428
Document reposted by APIC



ADDIS ABABA, 22 April 1997 -- Experts will take a long hard look this week at the issue of gender and development -- one of two key themes that cut across programme lines at the UN Economic Commission for African (UNECA) -- when they gather here for the 18th meeting of the Africa Regional Coordinating Committee for the Integration of Women in Development (ARCC).

ARCC, established in 1979 by the ECA Conference of Ministers, is an inter-governmental policy-making body that focuses on the advancement of women. As such, it is the political arm of the ECA's gender programme, which is implemented by the African Centre for Women (ACW). ARCC meets annually to review the work of the Centre, and to provide it with orientation and guidance.

The three-day consultation (24-26 April) will preside over a detailed work programme, and will prepare recommendations for the 32nd session of the Commission and 23rd meeting of the ECA Conference of Ministers responsible for economic and social development and planning (5-8 May).

Representatives of ARCC's 20 member countries and ACW staff will review ACW's programme work between April 1996 and April 1997; discuss follow-up strategies towards implementing the Dakar and Beijing Platforms of Action; consider the report on the Commission on the Status of Women (which highlights developments in the advancement of women in the areas of Education and Training of Women, Women and the Economy, Women in decision-making and Women and the Environment); and assess the ARCC itself, with a view to improving its efficiency, and making recommendations on its structure in view of the ECA's renewal.

According to Josephine Ouedraogo, the upgraded gender division's new chief, the meeting represents a watershed in the evolution of women and development programming at the ECA and in Africa.

"It provides a singular opportunity to review the role of ARCC in the context of growing recognition that gender issues are cross-cutting and as such must be mainstreamed into all development activities for sustainable results," says Ouedraogo.

Josephine Ouedraogo, one of several new division chief, is a national of Burkina Faso whose credits include: Minister of Family Development and National Solidarity where she helped formulate the country's first Family Code (1984-87); Coordinator of the Sub-Saharan Project on Women and Health for the Pan-African Development Institute (1989-92); and most recently Director-General for International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"In its new directions", she adds, "ECA will be among the pioneers who are incorporating gender concerns in their entire work programme rather than isolating women in development activities as a separate programme."

Among items to be considered will be a progress report on Economic Empowerment Activities, in the context of an Accra Declaration and Plan which emerged from a major ECA conference in Ghana in 1996.

Another burning issue on the agenda is that of Women and the Peace Process, drawing on the declaration and action plan of a landmark Pan-African Women's Conference held in Kigali, Rwanda in March this year. Also on the table for consideration by ARCC in the wake of an African Women's Leadership Forum meeting in South Africa last November, is a recommendation for the creation of an African Women's Committee on Peace.

If accepted by ARCC, the idea of such a Committee will be presented to the Conference of Ministers for endorsement.

In the wake of the Fifth African Regional Conference on Women (Dakar November 1994 ) and the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing September 1995), Zimbabwe and Senegal have been asked to present to the ARCC meeting their national plans of action (NPAs). African countries had received substantial technical advice from ACW on how to prepare their NPAs, and a technical discussion on the two plans will take place.

By the end of the ARCC meeting, the ACW hopes to have a clear picture of progress made in formulating viable NPAs and their state of implementation since Dakar and Beijing.

It should also have a clear understanding of the new partnership it should forge with ARCC in light of ECA's new programme of activities for the implementation of the regional and global Platform for Action.


A number of background documents are available. For these and other information about the meeting, or about ARCC and ACW, please contact:

Peter K.A. da Costa Regional Adviser, Communication for Development Cabinet Office of the Executive Secretary UN Economic Commission for Africa P.O. Box 3001 Addis Ababa Ethiopia Tel: +251-1-51 58 26 (direct) or +251-1-5172 00 Ext 161 Fax: +251-1-51 22 33 E-Mail:

Note: Many documents from the Economic Commission for Africa -- not as of this date including the ones mentioned in this posting, but including full documentation on the early April meeting of African Ministers of Finance, dealing with development finance, growth and debt -- are now available on the UN web site, at:


SARDC Press Release

April 25, 1997

[Issued by: Patience Zonge, Communications Manager, Southern African Research & Documentation Centre (SARDC), P O Box 5690, Harare Zimbabwe; Tel: +263-4-38694/5/6; Fax: +263-4-738693; E-mail:]

Meeting Calls for Implementation of Gender Plan of Action

In one of the most important follow-ups to post Beijing activities in southern Africa, more than 100 delegates converged in Mbabane, Swaziland last week to discuss the mainstreaming of gender issues.

The five-day workshop challenged policy makers in the region, including the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to take concrete steps in ensuring that gender is mainstreamed into their policies and programmes.

The workshop, the third in a series of regional follow-up meetings to the Fourth UN Conference on Women in Beijing, reaffirmed the need to maintain the momentum gained in lobbying for gender mainstreaming in national and regional policies.

This momentum created at the Beijing conference, was carried over by the region's women through a Gender Task Force, which has adopted a regional gender Plan of Action detailing activities for incorporating gender in all action plans.

Thus this meeting discussed and made recommendations to ensure that this regional gender action plan does not remain merely rhetoric.

"We the women of the SADC region, have set ourselves the task of developing policies, programmes and strategies for the implementation of the regional plan of action for post-Beijing activities, and shall do so at all costs," asserted Caroline Davids, a member of the Regional Gender Advisory Committee.

The meeting brainstormed mechanisms to implement the region's four priority areas, identified from the 12 Beijing Critical Areas of Concern.

The regional priority areas are: insufficient mechanisms at all levels to promote advancement of women; inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and decision-making at all levels; inequality in economic structures and policies in all forms of productive activities and in access to resources; and lack of respect for an adequate promotion and protection of the human rights of women.

In his opening remarks, Swaziland's Minister of Home Affairs, Prince Guduza, underscored the role of active dialogue and communication with all stakeholders in achieving gender equality. He urged participants to "design achievable mechanisms unique to the region."

Participants attending the workshop were drawn from all SADC countries, representing the government, NGO sector, UN agencies, the Regional Gender Advisory Committee members and the media.

The workshop was jointly organised by the Regional Gender Advisory Committee, and SARDC, supported by the United Nations Women's Development Fund (UNIFEM) regional office, and the Netherlands Government Directorate of International Corporation.

During the workshop, delegates were further briefed on and applauded the landmark developments made at this year's SADC Consultative Conference, in which the Council of Ministers meeting adopted a gender programme to ensure that gender is included in all structures and programmes of SADC. Again emphasis was made on ensuring that such a major achievement is followed up by concrete action.

Successes and challenges facing SADC countries in implementing the global and regional action plan were examined with the view to map out the way forward. For instance, the workshop emphasised the need to revise legal instruments, policies and programmes and adopt a more gender sensitive approach.

The need for information to be repackaged in different media to suit the needs of the various target groups was underscored.

The workshop also reviewed the national Women in Development profiles, which reveal the complex and inter-dependent factors affecting the state of women in SADC countries.

The profiles, being produced by Southern African Research and Documentation Centre's Women in Development Southern Awareness Programme (SARDC-WIDSAA), in collaboration with national partners, provide information to people implementing strategies for mainstreaming gender. The regional report on the status of women in southern Africa, also being produced by SARDC-WIDSAA, was reviewed. This book will provide a powerful tool for lobbying and advocate action on transforming gender relations at all levels.

Delegates were urged to share the deliberations of this meeting and other such meetings with all stakeholders in their countries.


From: Message-Id: <> Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 21:30:59 -0500 Subject: Africa: Gender, Recent Documents

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific