THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

SADC leaders embrace MDGs
Fazilla Tembo, Ulemu Teputepu & Susan Mwape, Southern Africa Social Forum (SASF)
Extracted from SASF Newsletter
October 25, 2006

Southern Africa Social Forum (SASF) participants have agreed that citizens and Civil Society Organizations should stand up and join hands to ensure that their respective governments in SADC are on track towards the fulfilling of Millennium Development Goals.  

At the very end of 2006 SASF in Lilongwe, delegates paraded colorful banners and donning t-shirts of all colors with different messages. Rights activists from Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Malawi all walked from Civo Stadium to the Town Hall, about five kilometers.  

Participants marched in solidarity and country representatives delivered speeches calling for an end to neo-liberalism and imperialism. They observed a moment of silence of for all the late brothers and sisters that had died in the struggle against negative forces that had not been of their own making.  

Participants expressed the need for government to free the media and facilitate a free access to information arguing that they were tired with dictatorship cover ups. They called for quick implementation of land reforms and other laws in the region.  

"There should be less talk and more action .SADC governments must design policies and set aside adequate resources to achieve the goals, the communique said. It said governments in the region should ensure that citizens, particularly those in rural areas, are consulted widely to ensure that national development policies on health reflect the needs and concerns.  

"Governments should take the responsibility to educate, sensitize citizens on their health rights and that information should be disseminated in vernacular language," reads the communiqué.  

It further suggests that leaders should prioritize access to treatment like having health facilities near the communities and essential drugs like anti retroviral (ARV's), malaria drugs, tuberculosis.  

The communiqué added that governments should recognize that women are critical to fighting poverty and that no poverty eradication programme or initiative can succeed without centralizing women's rights and gender equality issues. Current international policies rob women of livelihoods, health care and other economic rights. On a broader level it said international and national policies are urged to consider poverty, privilege and discrimination as inter-related and therefore feminization of poverty is a reality that needs to be addressed by inequalities of trade, debt and aid within the global policy framework.  

collective effort. "We call upon governments to be more transparent, participatory and accountable in producing national policies and strategies," it added. The communiques calls on SADC governments to ensure that whatever international obligations they commit are in line with promoting pro-poor development policies and in particular ensure that women's livelihoods are not adversely affected, it observed. On social level, they appealed to religious leaders to take greater responsibility in sensitizing communities on gender equity issues and protection of women's human rights.

It further called upon governments to acknowledge the critical role youth play in decision-making processes and as such ensure that their voices are heard in national planning processes.

However, participants endorsed the Global Call to Action against Poverty Campaign's (GCAP) calls for trade justice, more and better aid and debt cancellation as a concrete ways for world leaders to eradicate poverty by 2015.

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.