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8th African Union Gender Pre-Summit on 2016 African Year of Human Rights, with Particular Focus on the Rights of Women 17 - 21 January 2016

2016-01-17T07:00:00 to 2016-01-20T07:00:00
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8th African Union Gender Pre-Summit on 2016 African Year of Human Rights, with Particular Focus on the Rights of Women 17 - 21 January 2016

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MEDIA ADVISORY / 26th AU Summit

8th AFRICAN UNION GENDER PRE-SUMMIT ON 2016 AFRICAN YEAR OF HUMAN RIGHTS, WITH PARTICULAR FOCUS ON WOMEN RIGHTS

INVITATION TO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MEDIA

When: 17 –21 January 2016

The 2016 Gender Pre-Summit will hold as follows:

Day 1: GIMAC Civil Society Meeting
Date: 17 January 2016
Venue: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Conference Center
Time: 09h00 – 17h00

Day 2: GIMAC Civil Society Meeting
Date: 18 January 2016
Venue: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Conference Center
Time: 09h00 – 17h00

Day 2: Closed Ministerial Session
Date: 18 January 2016
Venue: African Union Commission (AUC) New Conference Center
Time: 09h00 – 12h30

Experts Meeting of the Continued 1st Specialised Technical Committee on Gender and Women Empowerment
Date: 18 January 2016
Venue: African Union Commission (AUC)
Time: 09h00 – 12h30

Ministerial Meeting of the Continued 1st Specialised Technical Committee on Gender and Women Empowerment
Date: 18 January 2016
Venue: African Union Commission (AUC) New Conference Center
Time: 14h00 –17h45

Day 3: Joint Session of Ministers, AU Organs, CSOs, RECs and Partners
Date: 19 January 2016
Venue: African Union Commission (AUC) New Conference Center
Time: 09h00 – 17h30

Day 4: Joint Session of Ministers, AU Organs, CSOs, RECs and Partners
Date: 20 January 2016
Venue: African Union Commission (AUC)
Time: 09h00 – 17h30

Day 5: Africa Consultative Forum of the CSW
Date: 21 January 2016
Venue: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
Time: 09h00 – 17h30

Who: Under the Presidency of H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the AUC, the 2016 Gender Pre-Summit is jointly organized by the AUC Directorate of Women, Gender and Development; the Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC), and AU partners.

Why: The year 2016, marks important milestones in the continental and global women’s agenda for gender equality and women empowerment. Among others, continentally, it is the 30th anniversary of the coming into force of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights in 1986 and the beginning of the second phase of the African Women’s Decade 2010-2020. The African Women’s Decade is the AU’s implementation framework which aims to advance gender equality through the acceleration of the implementation of global and regional decisions on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Globally, 2016 commemorates 36 years since the adoption of CEDAW, described as the international bill of rights for women, and the 21st anniversary of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which is the key global policy on gender equality. To commemorate these important milestones, the African Union Heads of State and Government at their 25th Ordinary Summit in June 2015 in Sandton, South Africa, declared 2016 as “the Africa Year of Human Rights, in particular, with focus on the Rights of Women”. Considering that 2015 was declared the “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development Towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”, the 2016 theme marks the second consecutive year that gender equality and women’s empowerment are adopted as the highest priority on the continental agenda.

The African Union has developed an extensive and progressive body of legal instruments to promote gender equality and women’s rights. These are the AU Constitutive Act, which is the foundational constitutional framework promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment; Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), which constitutes the AU legal framework on gender and women’s rights; Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA), which is the AU reporting framework; AU Gender Policy, which provides a policy framework for gender and women’s rights; African Women’s Decade, which is the AU’s implementation framework and the Fund for African Women, which provides the financial framework.

Despite these elaborate mechanisms, and women and girls forming the majority of the population in Africa, there is still a huge deficit in the actual enjoyment of these rights by women. African women and girls still face a multitude of barriers to gender equality. These include, among others, economic exclusion and financial systems that perpetuate the discrimination of women; limited participation in political and public life; lack of access to education and poor retention of girls in schools; gender-based violence, harmful cultural practices, and exclusion of women from peace tables either as lead mediators or part of negotiating teams of conflicting parties.

Objective: The overall objective of the Gender Pre-Summit is to bring together voices of key actors in the gender equality and women’s empowerment arena, to update and discuss critical developments in the field, assess the extent of implementation of commitments, especially the Declaration on 2015 Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development Towards Africa’s Agenda 2063 as well as the Mid-Term Review of the African Women’s Decade, identify future priority areas of action including the implementation of the 2016 year of Human Rights with a focus on the Rights of Women, and call for greater acceleration in the effective implementation of commitments on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The specific objectives are to:

• Raise awareness and develop a common strategy on the implementation of the 2016 theme of African Year of Human Rights, with Particular Focus on the Rights of Women.
• Assess progress on women’s participation in politics, public office and the judiciary and identify challenges and barriers hindering their effective participation as well as develop strategies to accelerate women’s agency and leading role in politics, public office and the judiciary.
• Identify how national regulations and policies, on one hand, and practice from financial institutions and investors, on the other, can work more closely in ways to improve the financial inclusion of women in the formal economy.
• Stimulate dialogue between AU Member States, regional intergovernmental institutions, CSOs and development partners on the opportunities, gaps and solutions for enhancing women’s economic empowerment and ensuring that women are at the centre of sustainable development, peace, regional integration and economic growth in Africa.
• Explore recent developments on migration, particularly recent trends, challenges and impact on women as well as discuss best ways to manage it by policy makers in Africa and countries of destination.
• Engage practitioners, policy- makers, activists, and a broad range of stakeholders to review the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda on the continent, learn from various experiences and challenges, and reflect critically on what is needed to accelerate implementation and monitoring at all levels as well as a way forward.
• Share progress, challenges and opportunities for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
• Provide an understanding of the extent of the several HTPs still prevalent in Africa, as well as the role that social society plays in amplifying gender divisions. and
• Provide an opportunity for different stakeholders to discuss the challenges hindering progress in achieving women’s land and property rights in Africa, as well as to identify and promote practical approaches to address these challenges with a view to gain commitment towards promoting good models. Among others.

Expected outcomes:
• The outcomes document/ communiqué with concrete decisions will be presented to the AU Summit of Heads of State and Government, for consideration and adoption.

Participants: The 2016 Gender Pre-Summit will draw participants from:
- Ministers of Gender and Women’s Affairs of AU Member States;
- AU Organs;
- Gender units of the RECs;
- Women’s network from GIMAC;
- Civil Society Organisation (CSOs);
- UN Agencies;
- AU partners
- Officials from the AU Commission and ;
- The Private Sector.

Background: The African Union (AU) Gender Pre-Summits are organized before each Summit of the AU to bring together the voices of key actors in the gender equality and women’s empowerment arena to update and discuss critical developments related to gender equality and women’s empowerment, with the aim of influencing and shaping the discussions and decisions of scheduled AU Summits. Building on the AU‟s obligations on gender equality and women’s empowerment outlined in its legal instruments, these preparatory meetings serve as an important vehicle to incorporate gender perspectives into the highest decision-making body of the AU, thus ensuring that gender and women’s concerns remain on the high priority list of the AU.

The Gender Pre-Summits are organised by the AU Women, Gender and Development Directorate (WGDD) in collaboration with other Departments of the AU Commission (AUC) and development partners. Initially conceived as civil society consultation platforms, the Gender Pre-Summits now draw the participation of African Ministers responsible for Gender and Women Affairs, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), AU organs, AUC Departments, the private sector, United Nations (UN) agencies and development partners. This is in line with the decision of the Ministerial Consultation with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) held on 24 June 2014, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, that the AUC should henceforth have inclusive consultative processes involving all relevant stakeholders within the gender equality and women’s empowerment sector.

Consequently, the Gender-Pre Summit on the "Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development Towards Africa Agenda 2063”, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 21-23 January 2015, took the format of a stakeholders’ consultation to enhance partnerships between Ministers of Gender and Women’s Affairs, RECs and CSOs to enable collective action in shaping decisions of the AU Summit. The following Gender Pre-Summit on “Financial Inclusion of Women in Agribusiness” held from 10 – 12 June 2015 in Sandton, South Africa, followed the format of an AU High Level Panel meeting. Building on the previous Summit, the Sandton meeting developed an outcomes document that led to the adoption, by the AU Heads of State and Government, of a Declaration with six (6) priority areas and a Call for Action to implement the commitments made during the Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development. This upcoming 2016 Gender Pre-Summit, scheduled for 17 – 21 January 2016 at the AUC Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will follow that inclusive format and will be held within the context of the AU 2016 theme of “the Africa Year of Human Rights, with a focus on the Rights of Women”.

JOURNALISTS ARE INVITED TO MASSIVELY COVER THE EVENT.

Media inquiries should be directed to:
Mrs Esther Azaa Tankou| Ag. Director of Information and Communication | African Union Commission | Tel: +251 (0) 911361185 | Fax: (251) 11 551 78 44 | E-mail: yamboue@africa-union.org|

For further information:
Directorate of Information and Communication | African Union Commission I E-mail: DIC@african-union.org I Website: www.au.int I Addis Ababa | Ethiopia

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About the African Union
The African Union spearheads Africa’s development and integration in close collaboration with African Union Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and African citizens. AU Vision: to accelerate progress towards an integrated, prosperous and inclusive Africa, at peace with itself, playing a dynamic role in the continental and global arena, effectively driven by an accountable, efficient and responsive Commission. Learn more at: http://www.au.int/en/