The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) hosted an expert group meeting in Addis Ababa this week, bringing together policy specialists and academics to review its upcoming African Women’s Report on costing the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 for achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment.
In 2015, countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development along with its 17 goals, including SDG 5, which is considered fundamental to the overall progress on the agenda.
However, the evidence presented at the meeting indicates that no country in Africa is currently on track to meet any of the goals by 2030. In addition, estimates from the African Centre for Statistics reveal that, at the current pace, gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa will only be achieved by 2094.
Speaking at the meeting, Ms. Sweta Saxena, Chief of Staff and acting Director of the Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division at ECA, said: “There is a strong commitment to SDG 5. But the question remains ‘how’ to achieve it. This question resonates with our meeting’s theme and the upcoming edition of our African Women’s Report on ‘Costing of SDG 5 in Africa’.”
She stressed that implementing measures to achieve gender equality commitments by 2030 requires countries to first understand the additional investments required and subsequently mobilise the necessary resources to finance such actions.
Ms. Saxena continued: “In this report, ECA has endeavoured to demonstrate in a practical way and with examples and case studies, how to estimate the investments needed for interventions towards achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.”
To produce the report, ECA conducted an empirical analysis focusing on two aspects of SDG 5: target 5.1 on ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls and target 5.6 on ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.
The initial phase of the analysis involved estimating the cost of contraceptives and addressing unmet family planning needs in Egypt, Ghana, Cameroon, Rwanda, and South Africa. The subsequent phase included costing interventions to address gender-based discrimination in primary, lower and upper education in Rwanda, Egypt and South Africa.
According to the report authors, who presented the methodology and preliminary conclusions at the meeting, the findings demonstrate the feasibility of estimating the costs for SDG 5 in individual countries. Moreover, they highlighted the significance of having sufficient sex-disaggregated data to conduct accurate analyses.
In their interventions, the experts recommended that countries should adopt a multisectoral and integrated approach to identifying data discrepancies and mainstreaming SDG 5 across relevant departments to address existing gaps.
They emphasised the need for a common methodology for identifying investment needs for SDG 5, thereby emphasising the importance of coordination and collaboration among stakeholders across Africa.
Furthermore, the experts advised ECA to develop training programmes to support Member States in collecting sex-disaggregated data and strengthening partnerships with stakeholders, as part of broader efforts to accelerate progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa.
The African Women’s Report is scheduled to be published later this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
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