The new AU Gender Observatory is an online reporting and knowledge management platform to monitor and report on Member States’ efforts towards the implementation of gender equality commitments.
AU document made available to the Ghana News Agency in Tema identified the areas as Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), Harmful Practices (HP), and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights (SRH & RR).
The virtual training was jointly organized by the AU Commission’s Women, Gender and Youth Directorate, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
It was under the Spotlight Initiative Africa Regional Programme (c) and supported by the European Union (EU).
On behalf of the African Union Chairperson, Prudence Nonkululeko Ngwenya, Acting Director of the Women, Gender Youth Directorate said “the primary objective of the Observatory is to stand as the most comprehensive and up-to-date source of information about Member States’ efforts towards Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment”.
Ms. Letty Chiwara, UN Women Representative to Ethiopia, the AU Commission, and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, “any tool or system is as good as its utilization.
“For the AU Gender Observatory to achieve its objective of ensuring periodic, inclusive, and quality reporting on VAWG/SGBV/HP and SRH&RR in Africa, Members States’ commitment in reporting is highly critical”.
She underscored the importance of adequately capturing the realities of women and girls to help partners to conduct evidence-based decision making, programming, and action on the ground.
In his remarks, Thomas Huyghebaert, the Head of Policy and Cooperation at the EU Delegation to the AU said “the platform will reinforce the capacity of the institutions responsible for monitoring and reporting on the implementation of Human Rights instruments and keep countries accountable on their global commitments.”
The AUC in collaboration with UN Women and UNECA has for the past few months, worked closely to review the thematic areas of the Observatory to include; indicators on VAWG, HPs, and SRH & RR, to develop the system and revamp and operationalize the observatory, which was initially designed by AUC in 2018.
As a result, the observatory is now better tailored to include; systematic data on VAWG and SGBV/HP and SRH &RR as mandated by African Union Instruments such as the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA), Agenda 2063, and the AU Strategy for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
Keiso Matashane-Marite, Officer in charge of the Gender and Women Empowerment Section in the Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division of UNECA said “the training will go a long way towards re-committing our Member States to ending violence against women and girls”.
It would also re-enforce efforts at eradicating GBV and intimate partner violence; ending harmful practices, as well as shining a spotlight towards recommitment to promoting women’s rights especially promoting and protecting sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.