On Tuesday the 15 November 2016, The UNDP and the African Union Observer Mission, New York co-sponsored an event called High Level Event: Accelerating Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Africa.
A presentation and launch of the Africa Human Development Report 2016 was done by the key speakers. The moderator was Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Assistant administrator and Director UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA). The opening remarks were done by H.E Ambassador Tete Antonio, African Union Commission.
The panelists were: Jeanne d’Arc Byaje, Permanent representative Rwanda, H.E Marie-Louise Potter, Permanent representative, Seychelles, H.E Mrs. Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, Permanent representative Ghana, Dr. Selim Jahan, Director Human Development Office, UNDP, New York.
Also present at the launch were H.E. Ambassador C.T. Ntwaage, Permanent Representative of Botswana and President of the African Ambassadors Group for the month; Shahra Razavi, UN Women’s Chief for Research and Data; and H.E. Ambassador Hiroshi Minami of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations.
The event created a platform for a dialogue that engages with policy makers and representatives of youth, women’s organizations, research/academic institutions, private sector and civil society :
- To discuss findings of the report on the progress of human development in Africa and barriers to gender equality;
- To identify strategic and transformative policies and actions to deliver inclusive and sustainable human development outcomes in relation to health, education, peace and security, agriculture, economic empowerment and women’s political participation and representation;
- To showcase successful initiatives in each area, policies, institutional and social factors that have overcome social and institutional barriers to women’s empowerment.
- To explore partnership opportunities for accelerated implementation of Agenda 2063 and the Global Goals for gender equality and sustainable development.
In his address Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, emphasized that there needs to be a change in which gender inequality is addressed and called for an overhaul in approach. It was his firm stance that, “When we work symbiotically in the areas of economic policy and political economy, we will find a path to human and sustainable development that is also just and balanced”. Generally he explained that in order to meet the requirements for reaching the Sustainable Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, gender inequality should be given greater priority by policy makers.
The report which is specifically a review of the ongoing efforts of African countries to accelerate the pace of assuring women’s empowerment across the board and in particular the home, the work place, health , education of the girl child and political participation was officially jointly launched by H.E Ambassador Tete Antonio and Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye.
The key message of the launch is that women’s potential should be harnessed as it is imperative for economic growth and should be viewed as a vehicle for a more inclusive and sustainable development in women’s empowerment in the long run. A call is made for a deliberate stance to achieve gender equality through a multi-sectoral effort of national, local governments and civil society organizations alike. It is the overall consensus that the fight for gender equality is a fight for human rights and a means to African development. The report has also been launched in Uganda, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Madagascar, and South Africa.
The closing remarks were made by Ms. Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, Deputy Director, UNDP Africa.
By: Linda Ramadi*
*Linda Ramadi is an M.A in International Relations and Diplomacy candidate at Seton Hall University, she specializes in International Organizations and Global Negotiations. She is also the NGO Student Representative