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.
ECA supports Member States, at their request, and undertakes capacity-building activities for non-governmental organizations on women’s human rights. ECA supports training workshops on women’s human rights, with a focus also on violence against women, in collaboration with partners from governments, United Nations entities and civil society. Examples include a regional training workshop on women’s human rights in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in 2003; and a national training workshop on gender mainstreaming in Uganda, in 2004.Hide
The ECA, through its African Center for Gender and Social Development (ACGSD), has developed the Follow-up Strategy of the Beijing +15 Regional Review, which defines an approach to operationalise the Banjul Declaration as well as those outcomes of the 54th session of the Commission on the Status of Women that relate specifically to Africa. The strategy identifies seven strategic focus areas, one of which is violence against women. Key recommendations include the need to adopt and implement a multi-sectoral plan to address gender-based violence, within the framework of the United Nations Secretary-General’s “UNiTE to End Violence against Women and Girls” campaign; as well as ensuring the enactment and strengthening of laws to address it.Hide
In October 2011, in collaboration with Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) and the Togolese Ministry of Women Affairs, the ECA organized a Regional Stakeholders’ Meeting in Togo on “Women’s Access to Legal and Judicial Services”, which focused on access to justice for women victims of violence including in conflict settings, and on the need for a multisectoral response to victims through the provision of legal, medical and psychosocial support services.Hide
As a member of the “Gender is my agenda campaign” (GIMAC), the ECA co-hosted the 19th Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting, in partnership with Femmes Afrique Solidarité and The Mary Robinson Foundation–Climate Justice, in January 2012. Participants recognized the need to intensify measures to end violence against women and girls, especially in the areas of sexual violence in conflict.Hide
ECA collaborated in the organization of a seminar by the African Union Commission, held in April 2008 in Addis Ababa, to commemorate the fourteenth anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, on the theme “Ending violence against women in conflict situations: lessons drawn from the Rwandan Genocide”.Hide
In February 2008, the Economic Commission for Africa organized a high-level policy dialogue in Addis Ababa on national implementation of the Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) in Africa, in collaboration with the Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women.Hide
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’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