Southern African Development Community (SADC) Women and Peace Dialogue: Strengthening Regional Peace Structures for Women
13 August 2008
Theme: “Strengthening Regional Peace Structures for Women”
Johannesburg 14 – 16 August 2008
Venue: Eskom Convention Centre and Apartheid Museum
From 14 to 16 August, women and peace experts and activists from 15 participating SADC countries will be meeting at the Eskom Convention Centre in Midrand (and at the Apartheid Museum on the 16th) to discuss the strengthening of regional peace structures for women.
This dialogue is taking place in the context of the SADC Summit of the Heads of State and Government at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg from 16 – 17 August 2008. The Spouse of the President of South Africa, Mrs. Zanele Mbeki, is hosting a two-day pre-summit preparatory session in which two peace experts/activists from each SADC country have been invited to participate. Mrs. Mbeki, in her capacity as Southern African Vice-Chairperson of MIPREDA, the Peace Mission of African First Ladies, has invited Ms Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua, the First Lady of Nigeria, who is the current Chairperson of MIPREDA, to deliver a keynote address on Saturday the 16th of August at a working luncheon at the Apartheid Museum.
The objective of the dialogue is to give support to a new drive for African Women’s involvement in the prevention and management of conflict as well as the preservation of peace through ‘civil and humanitarian diplomacy’. Women from the 15 SADC countries hope to share experiences, vision together towards conflict-free communities in SADC and the African continent, identify early warning signals of conflict and suggest local interventions to prevent it.
The operational format will draw on the South African Women in Dialogue (SAWID) peace forum experience. In addition to the 45 visitors from 15 countries, we have invited around 45 South Africans, including the gender machinery, main political parties, progressive women’s movement, faith based organisations, trade, youth and security platforms and researchers. The aim is to expose us all to regional thinking and to create lasting peace networks.
South African Women In Dialogue (SAWID) is an independent South African Women’s Forum committed to improving the status of women by engaging with national government, the private sector, civil society and donors in order to form partnerships that shape development agendas. The SAWID Forum is impartial, not-for-profit and tied to no partisan interest.
SAWID was founded on the lessons learnt in promoting peace with women in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi, and subsequent SAWID programmes have given pride of place to ‘Pan-African Peace and Reconciliation’. Much of the programme work in this regard within SAWID is grounded on the principles and programmes of the African Union (AU) and New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), in line with South African foreign policy.
The objectives of the dialogue are:
1. To provide an impetus for, and the empowerment of, women leaders that will enable them to play a crucial and constructive role in the development of peace in their communities;
2. To expose South African Women in Peace to regional opinions and networks;
3. To build a network of solidarity;
4. To evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of the gender and peace instruments in the SADC region, and
5. To develop mechanisms aimed at strengthening regional peace structures for women.
* A common thematic area from the spectrum of peace that the SADC First Ladies will collaborate on, and
* A regional network.
Media contact person: Ms. Girlie Silinda
Cell: 082 555 7281
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS) on behalf of SAWID national office
13 August 2008