12th Pre-Summit

12th Pre Summit Consultative Meeting
Sharm El Sheikh
21 - 23 June, 2008

African women who attended the 12th Consultative meeting on gender mainstreaming in the African Union held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt  from June 21 -23, 2008, agreed to send a Women's Solidarity Mission to Zimbabwe to support women of that country after the Presidential Run-off election on June 27, 2008.

The women, brought together under the auspices of the Gender is My Agenda Campaign, a network of 40 members coordinated by FAS, drafted a Solemn Statement and Recommendations to protect women and girls affected and displaced by the violence that erupted in Zimbabwe after the March 29 Presidential, Parliamentary and General elections.

The Solemn Statement and Recommendations will be presented to Heads of State and Ministers of the African Union between June 28 and July 1.
The theme of the Summit meeting is 'Meeting the Millennium Development Goals on Water and Sanitation'.

The women also called on the Zimbabwean government to facilitate women's access to humanitarian resources such as food, shelter and medical services by lifting the ban against humanitarian organizations operating within the country and ensure the safety and protection of all its citizens.

FAS and the Gender is my Agenda Campaign hold bi-annual Pre Summits in order to review the progress made by the AU in gender mainstreaming with specific emphasis given to the implementation of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA). The meetings serve as a means to monitor, evaluate and make recommendations to the African leaders.

The 12th Pre Summit was held at Pyramisa Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh and attended by about 70 participants. Amongst the attendees were African ministers in charge of gender, legal experts within Africa and the Diaspora and regional institutions involved in the campaign that deal with women's welfare. It was officially opened by the First Lady of Egypt, H.E. Mrs Suzanne Mubarak, who  is a strong advocate of the empowerment of women, respect for their freedom and dignity. 
Mrs. Mubarak who is also the founder of the Suzanne Mubarak Women's International Peace Movement was cognisant of the effects of violence against women during conflicts and said there was need to establish effective social protection mechanisms.

On the situation in Darfur, the women asked the African Union to intervene in the dispute between Sudan and Chad, and ensure that the peace accord signed between the two governments in Dakar, Senegal, in March 2008 was fully implemented. The women felt it was important for the African Union to demonstrate leadership in supporting the Comprehensive Peace Agreement as well as ensuring that women were included in the Darfur peace process as equal partners in line with the principle of parity in SDGEA and the UNSCR 1325.

On the theme of war in Africa, the Meeting welcomed the initiatives of resolving African conflicts, particularly the appointment of a distinguished African woman, Her Excellency Graca Machel within the Mediation Team to Kenya. To this end, the women encouraged the African Union to nominate women to positions of mediators and / or special envoys to participate in peace negotiations in Darfur, Somalia, and Zimbabwe.

The women asked the African Union to mandate the President of the African Union Commission to initiate the process leading to a Second Summit of Heads of States on Gender in July 2009, in order to review and strengthen African commitments to gender equality as set forth in the SDGEA and other instruments.

Other topics such as land were also addressed at the 12th Pre Summit with the women demanding that a mandate be given to the AUC, in cooperation with the women's movement, to convene a continental round table on women's access, control and ownership of land/natural resources and productive in Africa in 2008, to discuss and develop indicators and benchmarks for the AU Land Framework and Guidelines before their adoption by the AU Summit in 2009.

The women also enthusiastically welcomed the initiative of H.E. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia, and her counterpart, H.E. Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, to jointly organise an International Colloquium on Women Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security in March 2009, in Monrovia, Liberia.

This 12th Pre Summit was organised by the "Gender is My Agenda" network, composed of 40 members and coordinated by FAS, with the support of the African Union Commission (AUC), AU Gender Directorate (AUGD), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Suzanne Mubarak Women's International Peace Movement (SMWIPM), Egyptian Women Business Association (EBWA), Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), ActionAid International, Department For International Development (DFID), African Development Bank (ADB), African Women's Development Fund (AWDF), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Solemn Statement and Recommendations of the 12th Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting » PDF