Stakeholders from the African Union (AU), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Member States, CSOs, and the UN met virtually from 6-8 December 2021 to develop the first Regional Action Plan for Africa on Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG). The consultation was supported by the EU/UN Spotlight Initiative Africa Regional Programme (SIARP).
During the regional consultation, participants shared their knowledge and experience, which subsequently informed the content of the first-ever Regional Action Plan on EVAWG in Africa. The consultation also enabled regional partners to share their experiences and identify priorities, interventions and strategies to form the content of the Regional Action Plan. This process also facilitated Member States to identify responses in planning and budgeting frameworks and fast-track, monitor and report on Member States’ compliance, commitment and achievement in ending violence against women and girls. The process also increased stakeholder commitment for collaboration and coordination to develop a common African Strategy to eliminate violence against women and girls.
Why the Regional Action Plan on EVAWG now?
While there are several instruments and frameworks for elimination of violence against women and girls (EVAWG) including the AU’s Agenda 2063, Agenda 2030, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), the implementation of these instruments is still limited. The Regional Action Plan (RAP) for Africa on EVAWG with a monitoring and evaluation framework will therefore be a strategic instrument to enable regional partners and Member States to move from commitment to action on the elimination of violence against women and girls, including Sexual and Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights (SRH&RR).
With only 26 out of 55 African Member States having National Action Plans on EVAWG, the need for a regional framework is timely to provide a common action plan and a guiding framework for all Member States to deliver on our commitments on EVAWG. The plan will detail coordinated actions, structures, mechanisms, strategies and investments to be taken at regional and national levels for violence prevention and response programming.
The overall aim is to stop violence before it starts and the Regional Action Plan on EVAWG would address the factors that have impeded progress towards eliminating violence against women and girls on the African continent.
By sharing experiences and contributing to the development of a Regional Action Plan (RAP), gender experts and senior administrators of EVAWG from the region have demonstrated commitment and buy-in for implementing the RAP. The Monitoring and Evaluation framework embedded in the RAP will also enable Member States to measure progress and account for implementation of this action plan to deliver on EVAWG in particular and on GEWE in general.
The waiting period is over! Now is the time to engage all stakeholders to collectively work to deliver for all women and girls in Africa.
“The consultation is very timely when Africa is experiencing increasing prevalence of violence against women and girls due to COVID-19, which threatens to reverse the gains made in the past years. With Only 26 countries out of 55 African Union Member States having national action plans on ending violence against women, there is an urgent need to develop a common regional framework to guide regional partners and Member States to translate global and regional commitments into strategies and actions to end violence against women and girls through the development of a Regional Action Plan.”
Stan Nkwain, Director, a.i. of the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa
“Such regional platforms provide us with an understanding and evidence of the positive role of supportive partnerships and the need to continue the engagement to ensure the protection of women’s rights in the continent. It is thus critical to continuously engage so that we develop the right tools and continue to find solutions together and hold the Member States accountable to implementation of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment instruments.”
Victoria Maloka, Acting Director, Women, Gender and Youth Directorate, AU
“Africa has the instruments needed to end Violence against Women and Girls, such as the AU’s Agenda 2063, Agenda 2030, and the AU Strategy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment 2018–2028. All we need is to implement our commitments. It’s great to see regional partners coming together to develop a Regional Action Plan to eliminate violence against women and girls. This is timely as we conclude the commemoration of regional partners to end VAWG in Africa.”
Odette Kabaya, Regional Programme Senior Gender Advisor, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa