In March 2016, at the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), under the leadership of Botswana, instigated CSW Resolution 60/2, which will set the global agenda for policy and programming for women, girls and HIV and provide an opportunity to keep governments accountable to the commitment. The resolution was, for the first time, passed with consensus and will accelerate political momentum to address the causes of unacceptable levels of new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in Africa.
CSW Resolution 60/2 calls on countries to take action across multiple sectors in order to effectively address the social and structural drivers of HIV among women and girls, including the promotion of education, economic opportunities and decent work; engaging men and boys; strengthening laws, policies and strategies to eliminate gender-based violence and scaling up comprehensive HIV education.
At a recent meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, SADC, with the support of UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa (RST ESA), brought together 57 multi-sectoral stakeholders to review and validate a focused SADC programme of action that will catalyse the accelerated implementation of the Resolution 60/2 at the national and regional levels within SADC Member States. The meeting comprised technical level government officials from the Ministries of Gender, Health and Education from each SADC Member State, regional level civil society organizations, members of the UN Joint Planning Team at country level from each participating SADC Member State; SADC Secretariat Gender and HIV and AIDS Unit and the Regional AIDS TEAM for AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa (RATESA).
The programme of action benefitted from a process of target-setting started by SADC countries during the workshop and finalised with technical support from UNAIDS, UNWomen, UNESCO and UNFPA. Countries also began to identify priority interventions and actions for further development in their countries and the need technical support to strengthen and implement these interventions.
"Poverty is an overarching factor that systematically pushes girls into age-disparate relationships, a driver of HIV risk for adolescent girls and young women.”
Piere Somse, Deputy Director, UNAIDS RST ESA
"This resolution is timely as its birth is coinciding with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and emerging consensus around the strategy to Fast-Track the End of AIDS by 2030.”
Jane Mkhonza, Director of Gender, Deputy Prime Minister's Office , Swaziland
"Empowering adolescent girls and young women to claim their rights, protect their sexual and reproductive health, access services and live free of violence and discrimination is at the core of ending the AIDS epidemic”
Joseph Pitso, Head of SADC Gender Unit