Thirteenth Issue of The African Child E-Newsletter: Ensuring that the Post-2015 Agenda Embraces Children
The debate on Post-2015 Development Agenda has heated up as the UN General Assembly meeting on the issue approaches. Several regional and international consultations have been held and global survey undertaken to provide input to the discussion on what the priority agenda should be for Post-2015.
Ensuring that the Post-2015 Agenda Embraces Children: The debate on Post-2015 Development Agenda has heated up as the UN General Assembly meeting on the issue approaches. Several regional and international consultations have been held and global survey undertaken to provide input to the discussion on what the priority agenda should be for Post-2015.
The main messages of the recent international meetings are as follows:
- Monrovia Meeting:
- Sustainable growth with equity;
- Creating wealth through sustainable and transparent management of natural resources;
- Developing partnerships.
- Bellagio Meeting:
- Build strong beginnings (early childhood);
- Put family car first;
- Protect children from violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect.
- Copenhagen Meeting:
- More strongly integrate human rights principles and standards in a new post-2015 framework;
- Establish democratic systems of governance, transparency and the rule of law;
- Empowerment and advancement of women and girls is crucial;
- Promote greater equality across sectors and policies, within countries and between countries.
In Africa, a number of consultations were held and the preliminary findings are pointing toward a development framework that emphasizes economic structural transformation, technological innovation and quality education and a broadened and fast-tracked approach to human development (ECA 2013). The final continent-wide consultation is planned for Tunis on 4th March 2013 to further enrich the African Common Position to be presented at the 6th Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire in March 2013. Africa’s Common Position on Post-2015 Development Agenda will be considered and adopted at the 21st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in May 2013. The African Union will then present the Common Position to inform the discussion during the 68th United Nations General Assembly in September 2013.
Children have not featured well in these consultations. There is a need to ensure that children’s voices are heard in the ongoing debate and that their needs and best interests are taken on board in the post 2015 development framework. There are initiatives aimed toward this, but are not sufficient and need to be further strengthened through concerted efforts by all stakeholders including governments, CSOs and the international community. And time is running out!
CSOs need to play active role in the ongoing debate on Post-2015 agenda through proactive engagement in the national and regional debate and influencing the agenda. Globally, efforts are being made by multilateral agencies such as UNICEF and international NGOs such as Save the Children. ACPF, as a pan-African organization on children, is in the process of organising pan-African consultations on Post-2015 agenda for the African child to ensure that children’s are not missed out. The outcome of these consultations would provide input to the regional and international debate and contribute to putting children at the Post-2015 agenda setting process.
Monrovia Meeting on Post-2015 Development Agenda: The third meeting of the United Nations' High Level Panel took place between 30 January 2013 and 2nd February 2013 in Monrovia, Liberia. The theme of the meeting was "National Building Blocks for Sustained Prosperity" with a particular focus on economic transformation. This meeting is part of the Debate on the Post-2015 Development Agenda that seeks to find out what is going to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015.
Conference information, including blogs, communiqués and reports are available here.
A Conference entitled Public Dialogue and Leadership Meeting on Addressing Inequalities in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, on February 18 and 19, 2013. The Conference Report, available here, summarises the presentations and discussions during the public dialogue and leadership meeting. Co-hosted by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Women and the Governments of Denmark and Ghana, these meetings were the culmination of the Global Thematic Consultation on Addressing Inequalities in the Post-2015 Development Agenda and were held to review the final report and findings of the consultation. At the Copenhagen meeting, gender inequalities in the law was one of the thematic areas discussed. As such based on the findings of its recent publications entitled "Harmonisation of Children's Laws in Africa" (see below: Special of the Month). ACPF contributed to the discussion on gender inequalities post 2015.
Despite the framework laid by MDG 3, Gender inequalities persist in many countries and contexts. Girls have traditionally been viewed as subordinate to boys in most African communities. Unequal treatment between girls and boys which is sometimes pervasive in law reinforces this traditional view of girls as subordinate,as reflected in provisions dealing with minimum ages of marriage, sexual consent, FGM, education (especially in relation to education opportunities for pregnant school girls or reintregration into the education system after pregnancy), child labour, sexual exploitation, and corporal punishment.
Addressing inequality in the Post-2015 Agenda ought to start with addressing discriminatory treatment between girls and boys because when they grow in an orientation of equality, as tomorrow’s leaders and tomorrow's population, they are likely to ensure that they themselves do not employ discriminatory treatment. Therefore, as African countries embark on law reform and harmonisation with international or regional standards, they must take into consideration the specific needs of girls.
February International Days:
February 6 was the International Day of Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. In the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, where the practice of FGM/C is widely practiced, on average, 36% of girls aged 15-19 have been cut compared to an estimated 53% of women aged 45-49. The decline is particularly sharp in some countries: in Kenya, for example, women aged 45-49 are three times more likely to have been cut than girls aged 15-19.
The new estimates follow the unanimous adoption of a UN General Assembly resolution in December 2012 calling on member states to intensify efforts toward the complete elimination of FGM/C. The new estimates follow the unanimous adoption of a UN General Assembly resolution in December 2012 calling on member states to intensify efforts toward the complete elimination of FGM/C. Read more.
Another date of importance in February is the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers, which is commemorated on February 12. Estimates suggest that as many as 300,000 child soldiers are active in conflicts around the world. 40% of armed forces (including national armies, militias, gangs, terrorist organizations and resistance forces) in the world use children.
The recent conflicts in Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic have given us examples of how urgent the matter of recruiting children in armed conflicts has become. Abducted, recruited, killed, maimed or raped, children in conflict are separated from their families, Mrs. Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, says. Read more.
The Special feature of the Month is Harmonisation of Children's Laws in Africa: "The harmonisation of laws research, conducted by ACPF’s Children and the Law Programme, is an audit and review of the level of alignment of national laws with international and regional standards. This publication is a compilation of country briefs which is an update of preceding harmonisation research done in 11 countries in West and Central Africa and 19 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa."
The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)
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