By Moses Magadza in Mahe, Seychelles
MAHE, SEYCHELLES – The Speaker of the National Assembly of Seychelles, Honourable Roger Mancienne, has called for collaboration in addressing Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and HIV and AIDS challenges.
He made the call when he delivered an opening speech yesterday (Monday 29 May, 2023) at a multi-stakeholder meeting focused on SRHR and the challenges posed by HIV and AIDS.
The event, which marked the culmination of the SRHR Governance Project supported by the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) with funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), brought together key stakeholders, including SADC PF Secretary General Ms. Boemo Sekgoma, Members of Parliament and representatives from various organizations and ministries.
Mancienne, who is also the President of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, expressed his gratitude to various stakeholders for support throughout the project. As the second phase of the initiative drew to a close, he stressed the significance of evaluating both the successes and challenges encountered during the project's implementation over the past four years.
He highlighted the vital role of parliament in tackling contemporary challenges and advancing the agenda of sexual and reproductive health rights, particularly in the context of HIV and AIDS. Acknowledging the leadership position of parliamentarians and their oversight function, he underscored their impact in driving attention, scrutinizing policies, and influencing national responses to these pressing issues.
“Parliament as an institution has an important role to play in dealing with the great challenges of our times and advancing the agenda of sexual and reproductive health rights in the face of HIV and AIDS is such a challenge,” he said.
Referring to HIV and AIDS as a formidable health challenge that has recently come to the forefront in Seychelles, Mancienne emphasized the need for collective efforts to combat it. He reminded attendees of the vulnerabilities of health systems when faced with new epidemics, underscoring the urgency to identify and understand the disease, while simultaneously seeking effective protection and treatment strategies.
He commended the scientific and social defences mounted against HIV and AIDS but acknowledged the persistence of challenges related to stigma, behaviour change, and treatment adherence.
Drawing a parallel between the battle against HIV and AIDS and warfare, Mancienne emphasized the gravity of the situation and the need for continued defence and counter-attack strategies. He emphasized that the closure of the SRHR Governance Project presented an opportune moment to engage with stakeholders and develop a comprehensive plan of action to ensure the sustainability of efforts in this critical area.
“Since we are involved here as the legislature, we can note that there has been a number of pieces of legislation that have been brought for consideration and approval which had direct impact on services linked to SRHR and HIV and AIDS. Legislation has to change in response to how the challenge evolves,” he said.
He encouraged participants to work together, leveraging the expertise and perspectives of Members of Parliament, line ministries, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to formulate recommendations and solutions.
“So here we are – Members of Parliament, Line Ministries, CSOs and other stakeholders – in one room, with one agenda to address this most pertinent issue and to come up with recommendations and possible solutions,” he said.
Recognizing the role of legislation in responding to evolving challenges, Mancienne acknowledged the introduction and approval of several legislative measures with a direct impact on SRHR and HIV and AIDS services.
He expressed the possibility of further legislative amendments or enactments resulting from the workshop's outcomes, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and dedication to the cause.
He commended the SADC PF for conceiving the SRHR Governance Project and expressed his hope for its renewal, as the targets set had not yet been fully achieved. He assured attendees of his unwavering support in any capacity required for the project's continuation.
The multi-stakeholder meeting presented a unique opportunity for stakeholders to come together, share knowledge, and contribute to lasting solutions for the challenges of SRHR and HIV and AIDS in Seychelles.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Chairperson of the Standing Committee of Communicable Diseases, HIV/AIDS, and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of the National Assembly of Seychelles, Honourable Rosie Bistoquet highlighted the significance of parliamentary engagement in addressing issues of SRHR, HIV and AIDS, and other related matters.
The theme of the meeting "Stronger Parliamentary SRHR Engagement – A Lens on HIV/AIDS Response in Seychelles,"underscored the need for collective action and emphasized the importance of ensuring equitable and inclusive national HIV and AIDS responses in Seychelles.
Bistoquet called upon everyone, particularly the parliamentarians, to fulfill their constitutional mandate and protect the rights of all citizens, leaving no one behind.
The SADC PF SRHR, HIV and AIDS Governance Project, which operates in line with model laws developed for the SADC region, provided guidance for the meeting. The activities implemented by parliamentarians have significantly contributed to advancing SRHR, HIV and AIDS governance, democracy, and human rights in Seychelles.
Bistoquet also highlighted the importance of addressing the root causes of vulnerabilities faced by women and girl children in the context of HIV and AIDS, as outlined in the Mahé Declaration following the Women's Parliament in Seychelles in 2017.
Seychelles responded to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in 1987, with concerted efforts from the government, the Ministry of Health, and various partners. Significant progress has been made, with access to free antiretroviral therapy (ART) and other sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services.
However, challenges remain in achieving the 90-90-90 targets set by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in 2014. The need for regular and long-term care for HIV patients, including ART and SRH follow-up, was emphasized to ensure the success of national AIDS responses.
Sekgoma described the meeting as an important “celebration of the work done over the years” in implementing the project.
She thanked the National Assembly of Seychelles through the Speaker and the office of the Clerk, without whose leadership “the project would not have taken off in the manner that it did.”
She said: “It is for this reason that we are able to ensure inter-parliamentary cooperation at the level of SADC PF. It is because of these robust bonds of commitment that whatever is done in collaboration with the SADC PF becomes successful.”
She said MPs in Seychelles had been “humble and diligent” in the implementation of the project.
“Without you, we would not have any motions or laws to talk about, and the budgets would not reflect the justice that you wish to see in the world,” she said.
She said the project was aligned with the African Charter on Human Rights which emphasizes everybody’s entitlement to respect and integrity.
“The multi-sector approach of the project looks at all the three arms of the state to ensure that what our Member States accede to is implemented collaboratively by the judiciary, parliament and the executive to ensure all people have the right to services, are protected against discrimination, and their rights are not violated.”
She said the SADC PF was committed to implementing similar projects across all the 15 Member States of SADC. For now, the project is being implemented in 10 Member States.
Sekgoma explained that the success in implementing the project can be measured by the extent to which it had been institutionalised in Parliament, how relevant regional and international instruments had been domesticated and how other committees in parliaments had embraced it.
She said the active involvement of the Speaker, the Clerk, the Deputy Clerk and dedicated staff including Ms. Genevieve Daniel “who has dedicated all her efforts and commitment to ensuring that the targets set out in the project are (met) successfully”, was proof that the project had been institutionalised in Seychelles.
She said SIDA had granted a no cost extension to the project and talks were ongoing to renew it.
She commended Daniel saying: “She has been dedicated to her job. She has put her best foot forward. She has been writing her reports every month. She has been reporting on what is happening in Seychelles through this project and the results which are visible to all of us.”
Concept Note - THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM IN COLLABORATION WITH THE SEYCHELLES NATIONAL ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE FOR COMMUNICABLE DISEASES, HIV/AIDS & SRHR, THE MINISTRY FOR HEALTH AND THE HIV AND AIDS SUPPORT ORGANISATION (HASO)
SADC PF SRHR GOVERNANCE PROJECT
THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM IN COLLABORATION WITH THE SEYCHELLES NATIONAL ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE FOR COMMUNICABLE DISEASES, HIV/AIDS & SRHR, THE MINISTRY FOR HEALTH AND THE HIV AND AIDS SUPPORT ORGANISATION (HASO)
Theme:"Stronger Parliamentary SRHR Engagement-A lens on HIV AIDS Response in Seychelles"
MONDAY 29TH MAY 2023, 0900HRS - 1330HRS
VENUE: Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa
THE SADC-PF SRHR, HIV AND AIDS GOVERNANCE PROJECT (2019-2023) END OF TERM REVIEW Multi-stakeholder Validation Meeting
THE SADC-PF SRHR, HIV AND AIDS GOVERNANCE PROJECT (2019-2023)
END OF TERM REVIEW Multi-stakeholder Validation Meeting
Venue: Johannesburg, South Africa Date: 11-12th February 2023
Purpose: To validate initial findings of the SADC-PF SRHR, HIV and AIDS Governance Project (2019-2023).
CONCEPT NOTE - REGIONAL MEETING TO VALIDATE KNOWLEDGE TOOLS FOR PARLIAMENTARIANS AND STAKEHOLDERS IN CURBING CORRUPTION AND PROMOTING HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE SADC REGION TO BE HELD ON 8TH AND 9TH FEBRUARY 2023 IN JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
REGIONAL MEETING TO VALIDATE KNOWLEDGE TOOLS FOR PARLIAMENTARIANS AND STAKEHOLDERS IN CURBING CORRUPTION AND PROMOTING HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE SADC REGION TO BE HELD ON 8TH AND 9TH FEBRUARY 2023 IN JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
Strengthening institutions of governance and accountability is a central pillar of the work of the SADC Parliamentary Forum. In this regard, the SADC PF Constitution enjoins the Forum "to promote the principles of … governance … within the SADC Region." 1 This is critical given that SADC Member States face various governance related challenges as evidenced by the poor results during corruption perception index (CPI) and other governance related surveys. For instance, the according to the 2021 corruption perception index (CPI), only three countries of the region are above 50 percentage point, namely Seychelles (70), Botswana (55) and Mauritius (54).
Remarks by the Chairperson of the SADC PF Standing Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights, Hon. Dought Ndiweni
REMARKS BY THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE SADC PF STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEMOCRATISATION, GOVERNANCE AND HUMAN RIGHTS, HON. DOUGHT NDIWENI DURING THE REGIONAL POLICY DIALOGUE ON “STRENGTHENING SEPARATION OF POWERS & PARLIAMENTARY OVERSIGHT IN THE SADC REGION: A LEAP TOWARDS DEMOCRATIC ACCOUNTABILITY AND INCLUSIVE GOVERNANCE” HELD ON 4TH AND 5TH NOVEMBER 2022 AT PREMIER HOTEL JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
Welcome Remarks by Her Excellency Boemo Sekgoma, Secretary General, SADC Parliamentary Forum during The Regional Policy Dialogue
WELCOME REMARKS BY HER EXCELLENCY BOEMO SEKGOMA, SECRETARY GENERAL, SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM DURING THE REGIONAL POLICY DIALOGUE ON “STRENGTHENING SEPARATION OF POWERS & PARLIAMENTARY OVERSIGHT IN THE SADC REGION: A LEAP TOWARDS DEMOCRATIC ACCOUNTABILITY AND INCLUSIVE GOVERNANCE” HELD ON 4TH AND 5TH NOVEMBER 2022 AT PREMIER HOTEL JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
THEME: ‘TOWARDS BUILDING RESILIENT AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS THROUGH ENHANCED PUBLIC FINANCE MANAGEMENT. HOW CAN PARLIAMENTS CONTRIBUTE?’
SUNDAY, 1ST MAY 2022, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, AHEAD OF THE 51ST PLENARY ASSEMBLY
|09:00 – 09:50|| || |
Hon Leon Andre Tumba, Chairperson
|09:50 – 10:20|| |
Consideration of the theme: ‘Towards Building Resilient Agricultural Systems through Enhanced Public
Presenter - TBA
|10:20 - 10:50||Committee’s Interactive Dialogue on Presentation|
|10:50 -11:10|| |
Meeting with the Consultant for the SADC PF Strategic Plan (2019 to 2023) Review
|12:10 -12:50|| |
Election of FANR Chairperson and Vice Chairperson for 2022 to 2024
|12:50-13:00||Closing Remarks and Adjournment||Hon Lekhetho Mosito, Vice Chairperson|
END OF MEETING
MINUTES OF THE VIRTUAL MEETING OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON FOOD, AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES (FANR) STANDING COMMITTEE HELD ON TUESDAY, 12THOCTOBER, 2021
Credentials of Delegates and Apologies.
Adoption of the Agenda.
Consideration of the Minutes of the FANR Standing Committee held on Monday, 12th April, 2021.
Consideration of Matters Arising from the Minutes of the FANR Standing Committee meeting held on Monday, 12th April, 2021.
Presentation and discussion of the theme: “Water Resource Management in the SADC Region: What is the Role of Parliaments.”
Any Other Business.
SADC Revised protocol on shared watercourses (2000).
Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).
Regional Water Strategy (2006).
SADC Regional Water Policy (adopted in 2005).
Two cross-border water projects, namely, Lomahasha-Namaacha Water Supply and Sanitation Project between Eswatini and Mozambique and Kazungula Water Project in Zambia supported by the SADC Regional Water Fund.
The Climate Resilient Projects (through United Kingdom support in collaboration with the USAID and other partners.
Establishment and Strengthening of River Basin Organisations (RBOs), managing the joint programmes of various basins
Groundwater Development – for improved and sustainable livelihoods supported by the SADC GMI and World Bank supported)
Water, Energy and Food Security (WEF) nexus project (supported by the European Union).
Cross-Border WASH Projects (as a COVID-19 related response), the SADC Secretariat received funding from the Germany Government, so far pilot projects were being implemented between the borders of the Republic of South Africa and Zimbabwe. If successful, other the project to be replicated in other SADC borders.
The Water Transfer Project called the Songwe River Multi-purpose Infrastructure Development Project between Lesotho and Botswana and the Lesotho-Highlands Project.
Capacity building Development and research programmes: Waternet Programme: Running a flagship Masters Programme on IWRM, offered mainly at the Universities of Zimbabwe and Tanzania Dar-es- Salaam and the Southern African NEPAD Water Centre of Excellence Programme.
There was need for the SADC Member States to conduct research in order to ascertain the potential of groundwater in the region. This would result in effective planning and sustainable management of water.
The Committee made a clarion call to Member States to appreciate and provide support towards implementation of the WEF nexus programme, noting that water challenges were becoming complex and interfering with the key developmental sectors such as energy, agriculture, transportationand communication, among others.
In light of the WEF nexus approach, there was a need for respective Member States to ensure that the policies, strategies and legislation onwater were aligned to the principles of integrated water resource management.
The Committee resolved to urge Members States to adopt an integratedand basin wide approach to development, noting that developmentalactivities of one Member State could have a negative impact on another country.
There was need to provide support to SADC Parliamentarians to enable them address new and emerging challenges such as climate change, COVID 19 pandemic, gender and social inequalities all of which impacted water resource management.
SADC Parliamentarians to strengthen their representative role and utilise it to raise awareness on the challenges that beset water resource management in the region.
Need for strengthened oversight and harmonisation of legislation across the SADC region to ensure smooth and effective implementation of programmes.
SADC Parliaments to lobby respective Governments to increase budgetary allocations towards the water sector to promote investments that can guarantee a water secure region.
CONCEPT NOTE FOR THE MEETING OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON FOOD, AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES SUNDAY, 1ST MAY, 2022 9.00 AM TO 17.00PM CAT
- For the Maputo Declaration, see: https://bit.ly/2PQ4EhX
- TRANSTEC, Public Governance: Public Finance Management Research Park, Last update January 2017, Belgium www.transtec.be
- Zúñiga, N. 2018. Land corruption: Topic guide. Transparency International.
- The Role of Smallholder Farms in a Changing World. The Role of Smallholder Farms in Food and Nutrition Security, 2020 ISBN : 978-3-030-42147-2Shenggen Fan, Christopher Rue
- assess how the Model Law can contribute to improved utilisation of public financial resources and enhance the performance of the agriculture sector in the SADC region;
- establish the challenges inhibiting effective public finance management in the agriculture sector, and assess how the Model Law can be utilised to develop a turnaround strategy;
- make recommendations on how legislatures can use their oversight role to foster effective public finance management in the agriculture sector; and
- reflect on a theme for the 51st Plenary Assembly of the Forum in line with current regional and world affairs, such as the energy crisis i.e the upward escalation of oil, natural gas and diesel prices due to speculations on the energy market, and the need for the SADC region to be more energy efficient and attain SDG 7 on affordable and clean energy.