UN Women’s South Africa Multi-Country Office has officially launched its Civil Society Advisory Group, which will use its expertise to advise UN Women on its work in South Africa.
The formation of the group is testament to the important role civil society plays in the campaign to achieve gender equality, the UN reported on 12 February.
The 11-member committee — a group of nine women and two men – comprises members from non-governmental organisations, academia, research institutions and the private sector. Members will share their experiences and support UN Women in developing strategies to improve advocacy for gender equality and women’s empowerment in South Africa.
“This advisory group will be an important consultative body in regard to our programmes and work in South Africa,” said Dr Auxilia Ponga, UN Women representative, South Africa Multi-Country Office.
“The launch is particularly timely with awareness of the gender equality movement currently gaining momentum ahead of the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women next month,” Ponga said.
The 59th session of the commission will take place at United Nations headquarters in New York City from 9 to 20 March. Representatives of the government of South Africa and accredited South African non-governmental organisations will attend.
The main focus of the session will be the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 20 years after its adoption. Despite the commitments made, the platform’s envisioned gender equality in all dimensions of life is still an unfinished agenda.
Member states, including South Africa, have submitted national reviews ahead of the session that highlight achievements to date as well as the remaining gaps and challenges, and how they plan to accelerate implementation.
Following the launch of the South African Civil Society Advisory Group, the group and UN Women met a broader group of representatives from gender-focused South African civil society organisations. The consultation was designed to ensure a range of voices were being heard and multiple organisations were given the opportunity to provide input.
The National Review submitted by South Africa ahead of the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women was one of the topics discussed at the meeting. They also spoke about how the issue of violence against women remained a critical area of concern.