Calls for sustained engagement after first Women’s Parliament

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Staff Writer

MAHE, SEYCHELLES - The 41st Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum gets underway on Monday 10th July 2017, here with a Symposium focusing on the Youths as SADC Member states angle for the demographic dividend that the region's youthful population presents.

The Plenary is SADC PF's highest decision-making body that brings together Speakers of 14th National SADC Member States or their representatives and up to five Members or Parliament from each Member State, observers and resource persons. It meets twice a year. In all, 12 National Parliaments are attending this Plenary. Lesotho and Tanzania are not attending, citing pressing national engagements according to Sheuneni Kurasha, SADC PF's Parliamentary Business Focal Person.

ALL SET: Dr Esau Chiviya, SADC PF Secretary General (seated) looks at his documents while Ms Boemo Sekgoma, SADC PF Director of Programmes, looks on in Mahe, Seychelles.SADC PF Secretary General Dr Esau Chiviya on Saturday told a high level preparatory meeting ahead of the Plenary that the 41st Plenary Assembly Session is being held under the Theme: "Harnessing Demographic Dividend in SADC through investment in Youth."

"The main resource person is Frederick Okwayo, the Technical Advisor with UNFPA Eastern and Southern Regional Office," Chiviya told officials who included the SADC PF President, Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos, Speaker of the National Assembly of Seychelles, Mr Patrick Pillay, and Dr Jessie Kabwila, Chairperson of the Regional Women's Parliament Caucus.

 

Kurasha said the theme of the Plenary was originally adopted by the African Union Summit of Heads of State and Government and suggested by an organ of SADC PF.

Mr Sheuneni Kurasha, SADC PF Parliamentary Business Focal Person"It depicts a situation obtaining in much of Africa but the focus is on Southern Africa where approximately 67 percent of the population is young people. Additionally, economies in the SADC Region are either on a decline or are experiencing jobless growth while access to services is poor. This can prompt young people to deploy their energies detrimentally," Kurasha said.

The opening symposium therefore, seeks to provide a platform for MP's and other stakeholders to explore ways of utilizing the continent's vast resources so that they generate employment and accommodate young people so that they find relevance and meaning in the socioeconomic activities of their countries.

Chiviya thanked the National Assembly of Seychelles for hosting the Plenary Assembly Session which ends on the 15th of July 2017. The President of Seychelles Mr. Danny Faure, will be guest of honor at the official opening. He also attended the official opening of the first ever Women's Parliament which ended on July 6th 2017. Dr Teodosia Uate, Head of Legal Affairs at SADC, will represent SADC Executive Secretary Dr Sterogmena Lawrence Tax during the Plenary.

The Women's Parliament produced the Mahe Declaration which contains key recommendations on what SADC Member States can do to stop HIV infections among women and girls. It will be tabled during this Plenary for adoption.

Also scheduled for tabling and adoption are approximately 10 motions. The motions include those on: gender mainstreaming as a strategy for accelerating gender equality; adoption of the report of the SADC PF Election Observation Mission on the 2017 Lesotho National Assembly Elections; the African Union decision on the Institutional Reform of the AU; increase of non-communicable diseases and the risks they pose; and harassment, bullying, and abuse of children in schools.

Kurasha said while many people and organizations worked hard to make the Plenary possible, the National Assembly of Seychelles deserved special commendation for the "gracious and generous way in which they are hosting us."

Although the Plenary will be busy given the many items on the agenda, it will not be all work and no play.

The National Assembly of Seychelles has planned an excursion and a sumptuous farewell dinner to ensure delegates get to see parts of Seychelles and relax.

Ends/.

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