PARTICIPATION OF AACC IN THE AFRICAN UNION PRE-SUMMIT MEETINGS IN ADDIS ABABA
The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) Theology, Family Life and Gender Justice department, led by Rev. Dr. Lydia Mwaniki, participated in a series of meetings from January 22 to 27, 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. These were the Youth Consultation meeting, the 9th African Union Gender pre-Summit and the Africa Ministerial Pre-Consultative Meeting on the Commission on the Status of Women Sixty First (CSW 61st) Session.
The AACC sent 16 participants who were drawn from the AACC member churches and partners such as Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and FEMNET. Their participation in this event was jointly financed by the AACC and the NCA Nairobi Office.
The Youth Consultation meeting was an opportunity for young people to engage policy makers, share their concerns and opinions, with a view to influencing policies and decisions that will translate into more strategic investments in young people. The discussions focused on the 2017 AU Roadmap on “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend Through Investments in the Youth” adopted by the Executive Council (EX/Dec.921 (XXIX)) which focuses on four (4) thematic pillars: Employment and Entrepreneurship; Education and Skills Development; Health and Wellbeing; and Human Rights, Governance and Youth Empowerment, and other legal instruments.
The outcomes :
- A clear recognition that in Africa and globally, investing in young people and empowering them for leadership and effective civic engagement, can contribute positively to the achievement of development outcomes set in Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development Goals;
- Civic participation was recognized as an important component of youth development as it contributes to building human and social capital. Facilitating young people’s voices and inclusion in leadership and civic processes that affect their lives, can contribute to positive outcomes and gains at the individual and community levels;
- Youth came up with recommendations to Ministers and other decision makers on harnessing demographic dividend from a gender and rights perspective;
- The youth gave commitments on their role towards the implementation of the Demographic Dividend (DD) roadmap at local, national, regional and continental levels identified; and
- The recommendations from the Youth Consultation were included in the Gender pre-Summit call for action.
The delegation also participated in the 9th Gender Pre-Summit. It focused on the theme of the AU Summit, which was “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth: Empowering Young People, Especially Young Women, For Leadership and Civic Participation.” Rev. Dr. Lydia Mwaniki presented a paper on “Young People Working to Change Gender Stereotypes”. Five (5) Women laureates were awarded the AU Kwame Nkrumah Regional Award, to recognize, award and honor outstanding excelling African Women Scientists.
The outcomes of the 9th Gender pre-Summit :
- Challenges and barriers hindering the effective participation and full empowerment of the youth, especially the young women and girls, were identified and discussed;
- Strategies to accelerate their effective participation for multi-sectoral partnership were developed;
- Critical areas of investment in youth, especially young women and girls were identified; and
- A call for Action / outcomes document was developed with the view of being integrated into the AU Heads of State and Government (HoSG)’s Declaration on the AU Theme for 2017.
On the last two days, UN Women in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) convened the Africa Ministerial Pre-Consultative Meeting on the Commission on the Status of Women Sixty First (CSW 61st) Session on the priority theme: “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.” The AACC delegates were invited to participate in the sessions.
These were very fulfilling meetings and the AACC leadership is grateful to NCA and FEMNET for the collaboration.