Johannesburg, The SADC Gender Protocol Summit and Awards soar to greater heights this year with 14 district, 12 national and a regional summit calling on governments to account for their commitments to gender equality in the critical countdown to 2015. The summits will also witness the launch, from the ground up, of a movement from a strong post 2015 global and SADC gender agenda.
Gender Links (GL), the Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance, local government associations, Faith Based Organisations and the Gender and Media Diversity Centre (GMDC) with the collaboration of the SADC Gender Unit, will coordinate the SADC Gender Protocol@Work summits under the strapline “50/50 by 2015 and a strong post 2015 agenda.”
The summits will serve as a loud speaker for the call to step up the pace on fulfilling the 28 targets on the SADC Protocol before the 2015 deadline. With ten elections in the region between now and the end of 2015, the Alliance and partners will especially focus on the 50/50 campaign and use the elections to demand government actions and accountability.
This year, for the first time, in a bid to strengthen the reach and impact of the SADC Protocol@Work Summit at the local level, summits will be cascaded to the district level in ten SADC countries. The district summits will serve to verify the work of nearly 200 Councils that have developed and are implementing gender action plans through the Centres of Excellence for Gender in Local Government initiative.
During March and April, partners will convene 14 preparatory district summits and 12 preparatory national summits in Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, culminating in a regional summit held in Johannesburg from 26-28 May.
The 2014 SADC Protocol@Work Summit will have a stronger institutional and sustainability focus, with new categories for government ministries and the Alliance networks. The first new category is on the 50/50 campaign, to put the spotlight on SADC countries holding elections over the next two years, and turn up the pressure for delivery. The second category is on gender and climate change, to increase pressure for strong provisions on gender and sustainable development in the post-2015 agenda. In addition, a 50/50 and post-2015 working meeting will follow each national summit, and all recommendations will be consolidated at the regional summit – see http://www.genderlinks.org.za/page/policy-briefs.
The summits date back to the biannual Gender and Media Summits from 2004, joined in 2010 by annual Gender Justice and Local Government Summits. In 2013 GL, the Alliance, Faith Based Organisations, local government associations and media houses combined forces to host one overall 2013 SADC Protocol@Work Summit. The regional summit followed twelve national summits bringing to together over 1400 participants and gathering 742 best practices of the SADC Gender Protocol @ Work.
After a gruelling judging process, GL and the Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance awarded 45 gender champions (34 women and 11 men) prizes for their efforts to put the SADC Gender Protocol to work. Former South African deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, now head of UNWOMEN presented the awards at the joyous ceremony held under the banner, "2015, yes we can, and yes we must!"
Current chair of SADC and the only woman head of state in SADC Joyce Banda sent a video message to the summit, urging all governments to step up their efforts to meet the targets of the unique sub-regional instrument that brings together all existing commitments to gender equality and enhances them through targets and timeframes.
With this slogan in mind, GL and Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance is calling for entries at local and national level, from civil society and Faith Based Organisations; government ministries; local government councils and media. The closing date for district level entries is 7 March 2014 and entries for national level close at 5 pm 20 March 2014.
For entry instructions and to view the relevant award categories visit http://www.genderlinks.org.za/page/gender-summit. For more information, contact Gender Links on 27 (0) 11 622 2877 or email queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Country contact points can be found on the GL website.
Follow Gender Links on Twitter and Facebook. The official SADC Gender Protocol Summit hash tag is #SGPsummit