On the 24th and 25th March 2017 UNFPA South Africa, in partnership with the Eastern Cape Socio- Economic Consultative Council (ECSECC) and the Office of the Premier (OTP), supported a high level engagement on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the African Union Agenda 2063 in the domestication and localisation of these instruments to guide the oversight role of the provincial legislature.
The first day was organised as a high level engagement, comprising of the Legislature and Women’s Caucus, provincial Heads of Departments and Gender Focal Points and Office of the Premier and ECSECC staff. It was interesting to note that amongst the participants, legislators from other provinces i.e Kwa Zulu Natal, Gauteng, North West, Western Cape, Northern Cape and Limpopo were also in attendance, they form part of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). The second day targeted women from labour organisations, selected traditional leadership authorities, the Women’s Caucus and the Progressive Women’s Movement, youth networks and key youth structures from Institutions of Higher Learning. The Eastern Cape Legislature noted that providing broader understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and regional instruments, such as the Agenda 2063, and their alignment with the national and provincial development plans as important for women parliamentarians, the Women’s Caucus and key identified stakeholders in their oversight role in the legislature.
UNFPA supported the meeting as part of the broader technical assistance that is provided to the Eastern Cape Province. The meeting was informed by the recommendations of the 47th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Africa Regional Conference that was held in August last year, under the theme ‘Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals: the Role of Parliaments’. During this conference a need to align national plans to Africa`s policy frameworks and find synergies between countries’ Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 are critical. Amongst the resolutions that were tabled included the need to utilize the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) to ensure that countries commit to declarations, and also apply them.
During her address, the Speaker of Eastern Cape Legislature, Honourable Noxolo Kieviet, noted that both the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, and the ANC’s Freedom Charter, state “We the people of South Africa” ----- imperative is that every individual should contribute to a sustainable South Africa we aspire to have. It was further noted that operationalizing global, regional and national frameworks would contribute to the economic empowerment of women and eliminate gender- based violence in our communities. In charting the way forward, the Deputy Speaker Honourable Tunyiswa, suggested that amongst the priorities now is the need to replicate the advocacy programme to all constituencies, to reach the grassroots woman in order to complement the national 365 days of no violence campaign throughout the year!