As the regional arm of the United Nations in Africa, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is mandated to support the economic and social development of its 53 Member States, foster regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa's development. The African Centre for Gender and Development, a Division of ECA, is mandated to orient the policies of the ECA into areas concerning gender equality and to advise the ECA on the implementation of appropriate strategies for the economic and social advancement of women in Africa.
ECA’s mandate and policy framework on violence against women derives from the Dakar Platform for Action (1994) and the outcome and way forward-document of the Seventh African Regional Conference on women (2004). Its policy framework is also rooted in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and its Additional Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa.
ECA through the African Centre for Gender and Development undertakes policy development and research activities, as well as operational activities and awareness-raising activities in relation to violence against women.
The ECA organized a sub-regional workshop in Morocco in March 2011 on the CEDAW Convention which focused on the removal of reservations and the ratification of the CEDAW Optional Protocol in North Africa. Violence against women was one of the key issues deliberated upon.Hide
In October 2011, the ECA organized jointly with Mentoring and Empowerment Programme for Young Women (MEMPROW) a sub-regional advocacy workshop in Zambia on violence against young women and girls in centers of learning. The workshop identified issues affecting girls’ performance and retention in the context of VAW and made recommendations to improve policy and practice.Hide
As a member of the “Gender is my agenda campaign” (GIMAC), ECA participated in the 13th Pre-Summit African Union Heads of State Consultative Meeting on gender mainstreaming where participants recognized the need to intensify measures in response to the Secretary-General’s campaign “UNiTE to end violence against women”.Hide
ECA supports inter-governmental processes, including those that result in policy instruments for the advancement of women, and the elimination of violence against women. It supports the work of the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices on fight against traditional practices that are harmful to women and girls, including genital mutilation.Hide
ECA’s African Centre for Gender and Social Development supported the Sixth African Development Forum (ADF) on Gender Equality, Women’s Empowerment and Ending Violence Against Women in Africa, held in October 2008. Participants from Member States, research institutions, academia, civil society, donor communities and other stakeholders discussed, among other topics, ways for tackling violence against women. The ADF adopted a Consensus Statement with and Plan of Action with 3 pillars, one of which is on violence against women. (see: http://www.uneca.org/adfvi/ConsensusStatement.asp). In follow-up to the ADF Consensus Statement and Plan of Action, ECA is designing a methodology to collect data on violence against women.Hide
ECA’s African Center for Gender and Social Development (ACGSD/UNECA), in collaboration with UNDP regional gender programme for Africa, developed the African Women’s Rights Observatory (AWRO) website. Violence against women is one of the three thematic areas covered by the AWRO. The AWRO was officially launched on 28 August 2008, at the Conference of Ministers of Gender and Women’s Affairs in Addis Abba.Hide
ECA, in partnership with the African Union (AU) and development partners, has set up the Network on Gender-Based Violence/Violence against Women (GBV/VAW), in Addis Ababa. Its members include Regional Economic Communities, the Swedish, Finnish, Danish and South African Embassies, United Nations agencies and civil society organizations. The Network is undertaking the following activities: review global and regional legal commitments on GBV/VAW and analyse obligations by States; review and recommend for strengthening AU reporting frameworks to facilitate monitoring progress and improve performance in implementation of commitments; compile good practices in addressing GBV/VAW in Africa.Hide
ECA produced a synthesis report of studies conducted in Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia which provides an overview of violence against women (VAW) in each country, the scale and prevalence of different forms of VAW, its causes and consequences. It also identifies gaps in knowledge and data collection and gives particular attention to good practices in addressing VAW.Hide
The African Women’s Rights Observatory (AWRO), launched by the ECA in 2007, was presented at the 7th session of the Committee on Women and Development (CWD), held in May, 2011. The 44 member states present during the session commended the initiative and moreover, have committed to appoint focal persons in order to provide data on a timely basis.Hide
The ECA Series of Meetings on Gender Statistics held in Ghana in November 2011 followed the workshop and included a session on the role of statistical data and indicators to inform policy and actions to prevent, sanction and eradicate violence against women.Hide