Pan-African Parliament MPs in Lusaka, Zambia.

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has launched a groundbreaking initiative to advance gender equality and inclusivity in policy and legislation across the African continent. Led by the PAP’s Permanent Committee on Gender, Family, Youth, and People with Disability, a Civil Society Engagement has commenced in Lusaka, Zambia, focusing on the Legal Framework of the Draft Model Law on Gender Equality. This pivotal consultation with civil society organizations, which began on July 1, 2023, will continue until July 5, 2023.

Representatives from more than 50 civil society organizations based in Southern Africa have converged in Lusaka to participate in this vital undertaking. The participants were provided with a comprehensive briefing on the expected outcomes, ensuring that the feedback and recommendations gathered during these consultations are effectively integrated into the legal framework of the draft model law.

[GROUP PHOTO] The Civil Society Engagement led by the Pan-African Parliament Permanent Committee on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability, has kicked off in Lusaka, Zambia. Image courtesy of PAP Media
Hon. Miriam Dao Gabala, Chairperson of the Committee on Gender, emphasized the need for innovative and thought-provoking contributions from the participants, stressing the significance of tangible outputs. She underscored the group’s collective responsibility to go beyond individual interests and work towards the betterment of African society, shaping the behavior of future generations.

The three-day consultation aims to achieve several targets, including identifying deficiencies in the Maputo Protocol and proposing measures to address them in the Model Law. It also aims to compile proposals and recommendations from civil society organizations, explore factors impacting gender equality in Africa, and raise awareness about the effective implementation of the Maputo Protocol and its integration into domestic legal frameworks for the protection of women’s rights.

Hon. Mirriam Chonya, a Member of the Zambian delegation to the Pan-African Parliament and the Committee on Gender, expressed her support for this critical meeting held in Zambia. Recognizing the limited impact of business-as-usual approaches, she commended the Pan-African Parliament for fostering candid conversations with civil society organizations to tackle various issues, including the proposed Model Law on Gender Equality.

This pilot consultation in Lusaka is conducted in collaboration with the African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC). Dr. Gowtam Raj Chintaram, representing Mr. William Carew, Head of ECOSOCC Secretariat, stressed the importance of unity among all stakeholders involved. He expressed hope that the consultations would identify deficiencies in the Maputo Protocol and propose measures to address them through the implementation of a model law.

The Maputo Protocol, a legally binding instrument adopted by the African Union in July 2003, serves as a cornerstone for the promotion and protection of women’s rights in Africa. It recognizes the pivotal role of gender equality in societal development and aims to address the disparities and discrimination faced by women in all spheres of life. The Protocol holds significant potential for fostering gender equality throughout the continent.

The Civil Society Engagement in Southern Africa represents the initial phase of a broader initiative, with subsequent consultations planned with civil society organizations across the rest of Africa. Updates of the event are available on the Pan-African Parliament’s website, Facebook and Twitter.


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