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Djibouti, 07-03-2016: On March 8th 2016 as the world commemorates International Women’s Day (IWD 2016) under the theme: “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality” I take this opportunity to salute all women in IGAD region and to reaffirm our unflinching commitment to complementing the efforts of our Member States in protecting, promoting and fulfilling the human rights of women.

Within IGAD region, the day serves as; a symbol of advocacy for recognition, promotion and fulfillment of women’s human rights and social progress; an illustration of women’s determination to play a more significant role in socio-economic, political and cultural progress of their nations and region; a sign of women’s solidarity in the struggle for peace, democracy social equality and development of their nations and region; an opportunity to reflect on progress by women in the empowerment process of their communities, nations or region; an opportunity for all stakeholders and actors in national, regional and global development efforts to take stock of the contributions they have made towards empowering women and discern what more needs to be done.

Within the IGAD Gender Strategy (2016 – 2020) the salient gender issues in the region fall within the remit of IGAD’s mandate as highlighted. The campaign theme ”Pledge For Parity” is therefore in line with the IGAD Gender Policy Framework, Service Regulations and related instruments. 

We are working towards stepping up the numbers of women in professional and decision making positions through recruitment and promotion, enhancing gender expertise within IGAD Programmes and Offices through recruiting specifically designated and qualified staff to support in-house gender mainstreaming efforts, stepping up learning on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) through research, participatory gender audits, training and knowledge management hence every platform available is as an opportunity to deepen responses to gender inequalities as well as commitment at personal level, to be champions of GEWE.

Our vision of being the premier Regional Economic Community (REC) to achieve peace and sustainable development in the region encompasses creating opportunities for women, men, girls and boys, disadvantaged and marginalized people and communities especially those in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) so that everyone can participate effectively in and benefit from the development in our countries.  It is this inclusive growth and social cohesion that will lead to peaceful, stable and vibrant societies

IGAD Secretariat will sustain the momentum of this call in Member States by imploring governments, organisations and individuals to make specific pledges and commitments to take action to accelerate gender parity closing the gender equality gaps in their countries, including addressing and preventing violence against women and girls, and transforming social norms and discriminatory attitudes against women and girls as well as promote and support interventions that build resilience to climatic and security shocks, create wealth, deepen democratic governance and spur socio-economic transformation in IGAD region.

Happy International Women’s Day 2016!


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