From 14 to 16 November 2011 Save the Children, the Pan African Parliament and SADC CNGO hosted a conference on the Status of Children’s Rights in Southern Africa.
The conference was attended by government representatives from 11 SADC countries, the Pan African Parliament Members of Parliament, SADC Parliamentary Forum Members of Parliament, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, civil society organizations from 12 Southern African countries, academics and consultants.
The conference aimed at increasing the participant’s understanding of instruments and processes in promoting accountability for the realization of children’s rights. There were dialogue sessions to strengthen civil society and government’s capacity to collaborate on advocacy issues around children’s issues.
On the last day a committee was established to take forward the process of establishing a Regional Child Rights Reference Group to undertake advocacy around children’s rights in the region.The terms of reference for the Reference Group were discussed but it was agreed that further discussions at country level have to take place.
The conference also agreed that more issues should be included to the Reference Group's ToRs. The issues include identifying child rights advocacy priorities and resource mobilization, building networks and coalitions for child rights advocacy, establishing collaborative relationships amongst CSOs and governments, the implementation of regional and international instruments and protocols, reporting mechanisms and child participation.
At the end of the conference resolutions were made which will be finalised once country network consultations have taken place. They will be communicated wildly and used as a benchmark. The report on the conference will be available shortly.