UN Women Eastern and Southern Africa (ESARO), in collaboration with the UN Women Liaison Office to AU and the African Union Commission’s Women, Gender and Youth Directorate (WGDD) organized held a three-day meeting to develop a joint plan for action, advocacy and resource mobilization on gender issues in Africa.
As an outcome of the meeting, representatives agreed on drafting a joint Framework aligned with the African Union and the UN Women’s strategic priorities for Africa.
The Framework will take into consideration UN Women’s expertise and mandate as a global champion for women and girls and AU’s unique positioning and continent-wide access to African policymakers at the highest levels.
The Framework is aligned with both organizations’ strategies on gender equality, in particular the WGYD Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Strategy and the UN Women Africa Strategy.
The three-day meeting enjoyed the participation of H.E. Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Deputy Chairperson for the African Union Commission, and Dr. Åsa Regnér, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director, whose interventions provided more guidance for the alignment of the eventual collaboration framework at both strategic and programmatic levels.
H.E. Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa commended the deliberate approach to leverage the respective institutions’ comparative advantages and imparted four key messages, “We must focus on the following things to achieve scale for the work we intend to do together, focus on the importance of shared valued partnerships, we must build an ecosystem of efficiency to connect the macro and the micro level interventions to make a difference at scale, we must implement game-changing initiatives and extend institutional, technical and financial support to each other for the partnership to be successful”.
Dr. Åsa Regnér reiterated UN Women’s continued support and system-wide collaboration with the AU Gender Directorate for the advancement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in Africa.
Ms. Prudence Ngwenya, Ag. Director of the AUC WGYD expressed the importance of a collaborative framework being in place to ensure the organisations deliver with impact and at scale.
“It is indeed an exciting time to work in the women and youth empowerment space and what has become abundantly clear is that collaboration is the best way to make our respective efforts reverberate across Africa.
UN Women is a trusted partner of the AUC and as we enhance how we work this will be a beacon to other UN agencies who want to partner with us on transformative gender and youth programming,” she said during the meeting.
Dr. Maxime Houinato, UN Women Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, emphasized the need to have a collaborative document that showcases a “mutual commitment and accountability”, focused on key initiatives with women and the youth.
The participants also agreed on five key areas that should be included in the new ‘AU-UN Women Collaborative Framework’, particularly programmatic support on gender equality and women’s empowerment, resources and opportunities.
The three-day meeting provided a platform to build a systematic engagement between UN Women and African Union in strengthening their strategic engagement on gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa, for the next five years.