Why Botswana must sign
In August 2008, the SADC Head of States of the Southern Africa Community signed a ground- breaking and unique instrument namely, the SADC Gender Protocol on Gender and Development, that contains 28 targets for achieving gender Equality by 2015.
The Protocol brings together all existing regional and international policy and legal instruments and commitments to gender equality; a critical policy and monitoring framework for members in SADC.
All the SADC countries except Botswana and Mauritius have signed, thus creating a conducive environment and political commitment to achieving the empowerment of women and gender equality at the regional level.
The Botswana government has noted in the past that they are not willing to sign the Protocol, as it has time frames and targets that are not realistic as well resource implications.
On the other hand, Botswana has signed the Millennium Development Goals, the Beijing Platform for Action, the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women, which is consistent with the SADC Gender and Development Protocol.
The Protocol is also consistent with the goals of the National Development Policies and Plans, such as National development Plan 10 and Vision 2016 vision and Pillars.
Gender Activists and the Non – Governmental Organisations in Botswana continue creating awareness on the SADC Gender and Development Protocol and lobby the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs for the Botswana Government to sign the Protocol, which is responsible for the implementation of gender equality.
Botswana has made relative progress against the targets of the Protocol consistent with regional and international commitments.
Why is it important for Botswana to sign the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development?
The Botswana Government is committed to the promotion of Gender Equality; this has been justified by His Excellency the President Lieutenant General Seretse Ian Khama during the official opening of the 15th National Women’s Wing Congress in Lobatse in April , in which he was quoted saying “ the BDP government is committed to the advancement of women as shown by party policies and programs “.
This is an encouraging message, but one would have expected the women’s congress to have taken advantage of His excellency’s message and create a dialogue on the signing of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.
The signing of the Protocol will give the necessary political commitment to domesticate the targets of the Protocol, including promoting women in political representation and participation.
What benefits are there for Botswana in signing?
• The signing of the Protocol will enhance Botswana’s democratic and human rights reputation
• The Protocol is consistent with the Constitution of Botswana
• It will assist the government in domesticating other regional and international instruments to achieve gender equality
• The protocol will improve efficiency in the implementation of the National Gender and Development Policy
• It will promote consolidation of the SADC agenda as well demonstrate solidarity in achieving gender equality at the regional level.