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VP Njie-Saidy Opens AU Expert Meeting

Nov 16, 2009, 2:28 PM | Article By: Sarata Jabbi Dibba

Dr. Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy, the Vice-President and Minister for Women's Affairs over the weekend opened the AU Experts Meeting on validation of the feasibility study on the operationalisation of the African Women Trust Fund and on the road map for the African Women's Decade (2010-2020), held at the Jerma Beach Hotel.

In her opening statement, Vice-President Njie-Saidy described the meeting as timely, noting that it would accelerate the rate of implementation of the AU Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality. She noted that the meeting will also avail them the opportunity to further brainstorm, devise and develop strategies for the implementation of the African Women's Decade (2010-2020) and African Women's Trust Fund initiative, as well as the AU Gender Policy, plan of action and women's protocol, among others.

"Many African countries have signed and ratified international treaties and conventions relating to women, The Gambia has submitted its first report on the status of implementation of the AU Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa. This was done in consultation with stakeholders, taking into consideration of the existing policies and programmes that address the objectives and commitments of the Solemn Declaration and Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA)," she stated.

Madam Njie-Saidy expressed delight over the coincide of the second AU meeting of Experts and Ministers of Gender and Women Affairs and the Eight African Regional Conference on women (Beijing + 15), which according to her, is expected to consider and adopt key documents of the African Union and Commission, review current challenges and formulate forward looking strategies for the advancement and empowerment of women and girls on the continent.

VP Njie further disclosed that the period of 2010 to 2020 has been declared the African Women Decade with the objective of bringing to the forefront issues affecting African women and the way forward.

"It is our collective responsibility to develop a proper and viable gender action plan for adoption in order to realise a highly successful decade," she said.

On the attempt to promote and empower women, VP Njie noted that the government of The Gambia had established the National Women?s Council and Bureau in 1980 by an Act of Parliament, which she added, a ministry of women's affairs co-ordinates and charged with ensuring that all programmes and projects are gender sensitive and a national policy for the advancement of women and girls. 

In conclusion, she urged all the experts to critically look at the issues, share their experiences and come up with critical, sustainable and concrete proposals and recommendations.