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