As part of the main drivers of the BAM Group of Companies, this being the umbrella company within which Informative Newspaper operates, alongside sister brands Finite Magazine, Finite Lifestyle Club, Bam Promotions and Twin Talk, Informative Newspaper takes particular interest in social issues and causes created to advance the development of young girls and women and their participation in the global space.

To advance and cement the organization’s support for women and young girls, the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights is today, through this issue introduced. Its purpose is to advance knowledge and create further awareness on developments surrounding the said community sector and to help audiences stay updated on such, further guiding means of both action and reaction to these developments.

The journey continues…

The SRHR, HIV and AIDS Governance Project of the Southern African Development
Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) aims to strengthen the capacity of Southern
African Development Community (SADC) national parliaments to advocate for, and influence
governance in the context of SRHR and HIV in the SADC region.

The primary aim of the project
is to realise the long-term vision of equitable universal access to sexual and reproductive
health (SRH) and related rights and HIV-related services, with a focus on improved health and
rights for women and girls in SADC. The project supports the realisation of regional and global
political commitments, including Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 – ensuring healthy
lives and promoting the well-being of all at all ages, SDG 4 – ensuring inclusive and quality
education for all and promoting lifelong learning, and SDG 5 – achieving gender equality and
empowering women and girls.

Through the SRHR, HIV and AIDS Governance Project, parliamentarians will be better
equipped to deliberate on issues related to SRHR and HIV, including child marriage, adolescent
pregnancy, cervical cancer, contraception and family planning, and HIV prevention and
This manual is the key outcome of this project, developed by SADC-PF in collaboration with
the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) to build the skills, knowledge and
values needed by members of parliament in SADC to execute their mandate.

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and HIV are inextricably linked
in Southern Africa where HIV largely plays out as a heterosexual epidemic, and is
also transmitted during pregnancy and breastfeeding, in a context where same
sex sexual conduct and sex work are often criminalised and deeply stigmatised.
Despite some progress in reducing new HIV infections and expanding access to
antiretroviral treatment (ART), Southern Africa remains at the epicentre of the
global HIV epidemic. It also faces unacceptably high levels of gender inequality
and gender-based violence (GBV).

Why this column was developed and how to engage with it

The Mahé Declaration on Sustained Engagement by SADC Parliaments to Implement Resolution
60/2 of the Commission on the Status of Women on “Women, the Girl Child and HIV and AIDS”.

In July 2017, parliamentarians from 14 SADC countries met during a Regional Women’s
Parliamentary Caucus, hosted in Mahé, Seychelles where they adopted the Mahé Declaration, a
framework for sustained engagement by SADC parliaments to implement Resolution 60/2 of the
United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) entitled “Women, the Girl Child
and HIV and AIDS”.
The declaration focusses on the HIV-related vulnerabilities of women and
girls, and participating parliamentarians committed to advocate for the implementation of CSW
Resolution 60/2, which calls for greater attention to the causes and consequences of the high levels
of new HIV infections amongst young women and adolescent girls.

On 13 July 2017, the Mahé
Declaration was adopted by the 41st Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC-PF.

Commitments in the Mahé Declaration;
to using the framework for sustained engagement by SADC parliaments to implement the CSW
Resolution 60/2 entitled “Women, the Girl Child and HIV and AIDS” to advocate for the implementation
of Resolution 60/2 in an effort to address the root causes of the disproportionate burden of HIV among
women and girls in the SADC region, and further advocate for the mobilisation of the requisite resources
to implement the Resolution at the national level;

Request SADC-PF and its partners to support parliaments to advocate for the implementation of Resolution 60/2 through various activities including the dissemination of information, training, sensitisation workshops and if considered necessary, the development of Model Laws relating to the various issues of HIV and SRHR, and thereby assist parliaments to enact national laws based on international human rights norms as set out in the major international and regional instruments;

Recommend greater parliamentary involvement in the ratification and domestication of relevant
international and continental instruments relating to women, girls, HIV and sexual and reproductive
health rights;

Promise to acquaint ourselves with the legal and policy environment in our countries with regards to HIV
and SRHR, and assess the effectiveness thereof with the intent to enact laws aiming at protecting the
SRHR of all, with a specific focus on the most vulnerable;

Identify key governance and policy issues which would gradually be incorporated into domestic law
regarding HIV and SRHR and explore avenues for enactment of legislation including amendment of
different pieces of legislation directly dealing with HIV and comprehensive SRHR;

Commit to review, revise, amend or repeal all laws and regulations, abolish policies and prohibit practices
and customs, including cultural and religious practises that have a discriminatory impact on youth
especially girls and young women, without distinction of any kind, and ensure that the provisions of
domestic legislation comply with international human rights laws and include protection from all harmful
practices such as, but not limited to, child marriage, sexual and GBV, and female genital mutilation;

Undertake to harmonise within the region and within the national laws the provisions of legislation
dealing with SRHR to ensure the effective implementation of the Resolution 60/2;
SRHR, HIV AND AIDS Governance Manual
Pledge to enact laws aimed at improving inclusive access to education at all levels and provide
for viable alternatives for the many young people, particularly adolescent girls, who drop out of
the formal education system, by facilitating re-entry, revamping informal education and training
through standardised certification within and between African countries;

Promise to ensure that in the exercise of the function of approving national budgets adequate
allocations are made for SRHR and HIV and AIDS programmes as well as to implement gender responsive budgeting;

Commit ourselves, individually and collectively, to continue to enhance our knowledge on HIV,
SRHR and issues affecting women and girls, and further engage relevant stakeholders (including
traditional leaders, faith-based organisations, civil society organisations, development partners and
other actors), legislate and exercise oversight on related issues affecting women and girls within our
national jurisdictions and act on identified loopholes to ensure universal access to integrated HIV
and sexual and reproductive health services and information;

Support institutionalisation of age-appropriate and culturally sensitive comprehensive sexual and
reproductive health education for in and out of school young people and youth-friendly health
services in order to avert complications and challenges associated with unintended pregnancies,
sexually transmitted infections and its consequential impact thereof on the development and
wellbeing of young people;

Create an enabling environment by empowering constituencies and strengthening the role of men
in improving access to youth friendly sexual reproductive health and reproductive rights services;

Commit to enact laws and advocate for policies that improve access to credit facilities for women,
and provide legislation for establishing and institutionalising national Women Funds to increase
their access to business capital and thus ensure their social and economic integration and enhance
their quality of life and that of their children;

Urge that this Declaration be tabled at the 41st Plenary of the SADC-PF for its deliberation to enhance
the implementation of the UN Resolution 60/2 of the CSW, the Girl Child and HIV and AIDS.
SADC Region.

The role of parliamentarians

Parliamentarians play multiple roles – they are lawmakers, representatives of their constituents.
Overseers of government activity and national budgets, and thought leaders and opinion makers.
Available at:
2For more information about the 90-90-90 targets:

As representatives of the people, parliamentarians can make sure they reflect the voices and
concerns of all people, including people living with HIV and key populations. They ensure that the
voices of those most affected are heard and shape laws, policies and programmes to address the
issues of their constituents;
• As opinion leaders, parliamentarians can help to combat stigma and discrimination against people
living with HIV and key populations; they can encourage open and evidence-informed debates
about HIV and SRHR and they can champion rights-based policies and programmes to tackle HIV
and enhance access to SRH;
• As lawmakers, parliamentarians can develop and enact laws that protect and promote human
rights in the context of HIV and SRH and they can ensure that discriminatory laws are repealed or
amended. All laws should promote non-discriminatory access to HIV prevention, treatment, care
and support and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care;
As overseers of government action, including national budgets, they can ensure that governments
comply with their national, regional and international human rights commitments and that
appropriate and sustainable funding is provided for HIV and SRH interventions. They can ensure
that all HIV and SRH programmes comprehensively address the needs of people living with HIV,
women, girls and key populations.

In all of these roles, they can make a critical contribution to meeting the 90-90-90 targets of the
Fast-Track approach to end HIV by 2030 and advancing the human rights of people living with
HIV, women and girls and members of key populations such as sex workers, men who have sex
with men, transgender people and people who use drugs, many of whom experience profound
violations of their human rights and an inability to protect themselves from HIV and access
prevention, treatment, care and support:

The 90-90-90 targets and Fast-Track Cities4

The Fast-Track Cities is a global partnership between the City of Paris, International Association
of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and
the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), in collaboration with local,
national, regional, and international partners and stakeholders.

The initiative was launched on World AIDS Day 2014 in Paris, where mayors from 27 cities in
over 50 countries convened to sign the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities (Paris Declaration)
committing to accelerate and scale-up their local AIDS responses.

Current Fast-Track Cities includes SADC countries:
• Blantyre and Lilongwe – Malawi
• Dar es Salaam – Tanzania
• Durban and Johannesburg – South Africa
• Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Mbujimayi – Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
• Lusaka – Zambia
  Maputo – Mozambique
• Windhoek – Namibia
3Adapted from Taking Action Against HIV, Handbook for Parliamentarians No. 15, 2007,
4For more information about the Fast-Track Cities initiative:

Having shared ways to make use of this manual and how parliamentarians may be involved in its facilitation, the upcoming issue will shed light on the aims of this column and Background to HIV, SRHR and human rights in SADC.

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