Dar es Salaam - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) yesterday launched five publications with the aim of sensitising citizens about various SADC programmes.
The five publications are SADC Energy Monitor 2018, SADC Gender Monitor 2018, SADC Regional Strategy and Framework of Action for Addressing Gender-Based Violence (2018-2030), and the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Short Term Plan Assessment 2019.
The SADC Energy Monitor 2018 provides an overview and analysis of the energy situation in the SADC region, and progress made towards implementation of various SADC energy policies and projects. It aims to track and document progress made towards the implementation of SADC energy commitments. It zeroes in on SADC’s abundant energy resources endowment, and how that can be harnessed to support industrialisation and regional integration, in line with the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063).
Speaking at the launch, SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Tax, said the Energy Monitor presents the achievements in realising the cumulative power generation capacity commissioned since 2016, and the major planned priority power generation projects, that would ensure energy self-sufficiency in the region in terms of installed and operational power generation capacity by 2022.
“It also provides an analysis of the oil and gas subsector showing the potential reserves in the region, their impact on the regional energy mix, and the trend of fuel prices from 2016. Furthermore, the Gender and Development Monitor details plans to develop a regional master plan that will guide the utilisation of the vast natural gas resources that exist in the region,” she said.
Apart from highlighting the recorded progress, the SADC Energy Monitor 2018 also highlights challenges in the energy sector, and the proposed solutions.
The second publication launched yesterday is the SADC Gender and Development Monitor 2018, which focusses on Women Economic Empowerment, tracking progress on the implementation of the revised SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. Specifically, the SADC Gender and Development Monitor 2018 focuses on the provisions of the Protocol on Gender and Development, in particular those on economic empowerment and gender responsive budgeting.
“The Gender and Development Monitor further assesses member states’ progress in enhancing economic empowerment initiatives to ensure equal benefit, opportunities and access to trade, employment and other productive resources for women. Also included in the publication is the Gender Responsive Budgeting status, tracking gender-sensitive and responsive budgeting and planning by member states, including whether the necessary resources are designated towards initiatives aimed at economically empowering women and girls,” said Dr Tax.
The findings indicate that SADC member states have made considerable progress in enacting national laws and policies that promote gender equality and equity. However, while SADC member states acknowledge the importance of mainstreaming gender in all development initiatives, including in economic policies and national development plans, there are bottlenecks that hamper the full realisation of the intended goals. It is, therefore, important that these barriers, as outlined in the Gender and Development Monitor, are adequately addressed.
The SADC Regional Strategy on Women, Peace and Security (2018-2022) publication was also launched yesterday. By developing and adopting this Strategy, SADC says it is demonstrating its commitment towards political stability, sustainable peace, security, and good governance. As a region, SADC has become increasingly involved as a first responder to conflict situations, not only in the region, but across the African continent as well, through preventive diplomacy efforts, mediation, peace support operations, and post-conflict reconstruction and development efforts.
Dr Tax said considering that women, men, boys and girls have different needs and experiences, and are affected differently by conflict and post-conflict situations, all efforts towards resolving conflict and post conflict situations require that gender perspectives are fully integrated.
The SADC Regional Strategy on Women, Peace and Security, therefore, provides an overarching framework to guide implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting on mainstreaming gender into peace and security in the region. It seeks to ensure that women fully and meaningfully participate in peace and security structures and processes through the mainstreaming of gender into the SADC peace and security operations, promoting women’s rights and their economic empowerment, and protecting women in conflict and post-conflict situations.
The fourth publication to be was the SADC Regional Strategy and Framework of Action for Addressing Gender Based Violence (GBV) (2018-2030), which was adopted in July 2018.
The Regional Gender-Based Violence Strategy, which is aligned to relevant regional, continental and international instruments on gender and on GBV, SADC says, it’s an overarching strategy to ensure the effective and efficient implementation of the Revised SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.
Its overall goal is to provide guidance for a holistic and coordinated approach to addressing gender based violence at regional and member state levels. It seeks to stimulate regional actions and interventions for harmonising of the respective GBV response efforts of all SADC member states, and focusses on five thematic areas on intervention.
These areas area; prevention and early identification of GBV; protection, care and support services for those affected by GBV; capacity development for efficient and effective response to GBV; information and knowledge management, including best practices and innovation on GBV response; and coordination, networking and partnerships building.
The last publication to be launched is the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Short Term Plan Assessment 2019. It assesses the results achieved in implementation of the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP) Short Term Action Plan (2012-2017). These results will form an important part of the region’s strategy to improve the implementation of the infrastructure master plan.
It is, however, disheartening to note that while 98 projects were planned under the first Short-Term Action Plan (2012-2017), the publication shows that only five percent of the projects have been completed, while approximately 51 percent are still at the initial stages of pre-feasibility or feasibility study.
Among the challenges that require urgent attention include member states’ limited funding to fund infrastructure projects, and limited capacity in member states to develop bankable project proposals to attract funding partners. The assessment report identifies recommendations to inform the region’s infrastructure vision, in order to achieve the SADC Infrastructure Vision by 2027.
“I encourage you all to read them and implement the recommendations proposed therein for the continued development of our region. It is my sincere hope that you will find the information in the publications valuable. May I, therefore, call upon partners from media and all stakeholders to widely share the information in the publications for the benefit of our citizens,” said Dr Tax.