High Level Advocacy When Africa Women Lead
The year 2020 marks a watershed moment to accelerate the implementation of global commitments to gender equality. Indeed, it is marked by several anniversaries, including the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Conference and the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA), the five-year review of the Sustainable Development Goals, the 20th anniversary of the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 and the 75th anniversary of the UN.
The Conference on Population and Development + 25 (ICPD + 25) held in Nairobi (Kenya) from 12 to 14 November 2019 made 12 recommendations, each reflecting the priorities for Equality between women and men, but the the following three are more specific to young girls:
- Access for all adolescents and young people, especially girls, to comprehensive and age-appropriate information, comprehensive education and services, of quality to be able to make decisions and free informed choices about their sexuality and reproductive life
- a) Zero sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, including zero early marriage and forced as well as zero female genital mutilation.
b) Elimination of all forms of discrimination against all women and girls, in order to realize the full socio-economic potential of all.
- Invest in education, employment opportunities, health, including family planning, and sexual and reproductive health services, for adolescents and young people, especially girls, to fully realize the promises of the demographic dividend.
A quarter of a century after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, an agenda that aims to take bold and strategic action in 12 critical areas to achieve gender equality, no country can claim to have achieved Equality between men and women.
Africa like all other continents is preparing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. In this regard, several activities are organized, notably the reviews of its implementation at the national and regional levels, but more importantly the development of the African contribution in the Beijing +25 Agenda.
The celebration of a quarter of a century of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action will be organized in the form of a Global Forum and under the theme of the Campaign "Generation Equality in the year 2021 to launch concrete, ambitious and transformative actions in order to immediately and sustainably achieve equality between men and women. The forum will bring together new generations of women's rights activists and visionaries who played an important role in shaping and implementing the Beijing Platform for Action more than two decades ago.
As a prelude to the commemoration of this important anniversary, African states have made a 25-year assessment of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration. The 48 countries that submitted their report to the African Union came to the following conclusions:
Reports are unanimous on the progress made in the 12 areas of the Beijing Platform for Action: the countries have made significant progress in incorporating the principles and provisions of global and regional legal instruments on women's human rights into their constitutions and legislative and policy frameworks, as well as establishing institutional mechanisms to implement these frameworks.
But despite the progress made, in Africa since 1995, progress has been uneven across countries and gender inequalities remain a critical challenge for sustainable development. Indeed, stereotypes and social norms continue to perpetuate discrimination against girls and women with regard to access to and completion of education, health, access to economic opportunities such as inheritance, the right to land etc.,
Violence against women and girls in their homes and in public places remains a scourge that persists in many forms and in all settings: rates of child marriage, teenage pregnancy and genital mutilation remain very high compared to the world average in some countries on the continent. Sexual violence against women continues to be used as a weapon of war in several countries in conflict.
The evaluation report of the implementation of the Beijing Platform in 47 African countries made the following recommendations:
- Put in place transformational policies and measures that empower women and girls to overcome
structural and institutional barriers.
- Challenge negative stereotypes as well as harmful social norms and traditional practices that perpetuate inequalities between men and women in societies.
- Make sustainable and predictable financial resources available to implement commitments, policies and programs that promote gender equality and the empowerment of women:
- Make investments in innovative technological tools, procedures and methods that can revolutionize the management and use of data.
- Use digital technologies that can provide effective, low-cost solutions to transform the accessibility of services to women and their transition into industrial sectors.
- Accelerate and coordinate continental strategies to support the implementation of commitments made for the achievement of equality between men and women and promote accountability with respect to these commitments
- Implement effective reporting and accountability for United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 that promotes a culture of peace and the participation of women in conflict prevention and resolution processes:
It is therefore clear that this evaluation report already suggests ways for high-level advocacy, particularly on the mobilization of resources to make gender equality effective, the establishment of effective accountability mechanisms and measures. effective in eliminating stereotypes, social norms and practices that perpetuate different forms of discrimination against women.
In addition, existing international and regional instruments such as the SDGs (No. 5) and Africa's Agenda 2063 (Aspiration 6), the Beijing Platform for Action, and the Population Conference are unanimous on the importance of equality between men and women for equitable and sustainable development.
In 2020, a civil society forum on Beijing + 25 is planned, which will lead to the priorities and recommendations of activists for the promotion of women's rights. The conclusions of this forum will be presented to heads of state at the United Nations General Assembly.
It is as a prelude to this forum and with regard to the above observation that the Togolese National Assembly with the support of UNFPA / Togo wishes to initiate a high level advocacy program with the participation of influential women and young people. African girls to mobilize the High Authorities of the Continent to the “Generation Equality”.
The success of this advocacy will make it possible to make equality between men and women effective and ensure that the voice of young African girls counts in the global, regional and national agenda of the "Generation Equality"
Ultimate goal: the ultimate goal of this initiative is to obtain firm commitments from the High Authorities of the Continent to achieve the “Generation Equality” thus guaranteeing the equality of women and men in all areas and their support in setting priorities African Women in the Beijing + 25 Global Agenda.
General objective of this mission: Initiate a mixed movement (men and women) intergenerational to formulate the contribution of the Continent to the Beijing +25 Agenda through the definition of the common vision of "the African woman that we want to be from now to 2063”and the formulation of the African Vision of Generation Equality.
- Support the set up and operationalization of a virtual platform for 1000 young girls to define their vision of "the African woman we want to be by 2063" and contribute to the Beijing + 25 resolutions through an African Declaration “Generation Equality”.
- Support the set up and facilitation of a virtual consultation of female leaders on the same themes resulting in the content of high-level advocacy
- Organize the Apotheosis in Lomé bringing together representatives of female leaders, traditional
and religious leaders, young girls and a small group of young people. The forum is expected to "the Appeal of Lomé" which is an invitation to the High African authorities to a greater commitment to the African Declaration of “Generation Equality”.
- Develop an action plan with an advocacy program for the implementation of the
recommendations resulting from the Apotheosis of Lomé and support the establishment of an advocacy intergenerational group made of men and women for its implementation.
- The vision of "the African woman we want by 2063" is finalized and shared widely
- An African Declaration on “Generation Equality” is finalized and shared widely
- The apotheosis is organized and the" Lomé Appeal "document is finalized and shared
- An action plan is finalized and a group responsible for its implementation is set up.
Added value of the initiative
The comparative advantage of this initiative lies in its long-term ambitions. Indeed several regional and international meetings have emerged, but effective follow-up to ensure that recommendations are converted into actions with concrete results has been rather rare.
This initiative not only has the advantage of bringing an intergenerational group around the same table but also continues beyond apotheosis to ensure the effective implementation of the recommendations.
So its added value lies in the following:
- An intergenerational group of men and women who carry the vision of African women by 2063.
- Young girls are placed at the center of the whole process and actively participate in all stages
- An advocacy program for concrete strategic interventions that continues beyond the apotheosis.
- The establishment of a group responsible for the implementation of recommendations, among others: The development and operationalization of an accountability mechanism
- Development of a resource mobilization strategy and its implementation
The initiative is articulated around two components detailed below and helps establish a connection between those who initiated and are still involved in the implementation of the Beijing Platform and the new generation called upon to take over.
- A campaign of 1000 Young African Girls on the theme: "The African Woman We Want to be by 2063".
While the various institutions take stock of the progress made in the advancement of gender equality, all the actors involved in the Generation Equality campaign are committed to putting young people at the center of the decision-making processes of the Forum, and of its various activities planned for 2021.
This initiative aims at giving voice to African girls by organizing a virtual discussion with 1000 young girls representing networks of young girls of all categories on the vision "The African Woman We Want by 2063". A small group of young people will be associated with the initiative to bring a male dimension to the campaign. The vision formulated will be a contribution to the African Declaration on “Generation Equality
- High-level advocacy under the leadership of influential women in Africa on the African Declaration
During the Nairobi summit, a session was devoted to a high-level dialogue moderated by female leaders (When Women Lead) who debated on various themes related to the empowerment of women. Following this initiative, a platform of influential African female leaders of the Africa region will be set up under the leadership of Togolese National Assembly with the technical support of UNFPA Togo to mobilize the High Authorities of the Continent to adhere and and implement the vision “the African woman we want to be by 2063” and to the African version of Generation Equality as a contribution to the Beijing +25 resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly scheduled for 2021.
Most of these activities will take place virtually; they will be concluded by the holding of a high-level summit in Lomé during the first half of 2021.
To support the activity during its virtual phase, the creation and activation of a hashtag is planned as well as the establishment of a virtual exchange platform between participants.