From Judex Okoro, Calabar
United Nations (UN) Women Partners have called on political stakeholders to mainstream gender-based issues in their constitutions and manifestoes to guarantee the smooth implementation of such programmes.
According to the gender advocates, such measure will tackle the scenarios of lack of political will which has perpetually scuttled the timely execution of gender-related policies and programmes by the government at all levels
The stance was adopted at the end of a one-day UN Women Regional Stakeholders Workshop for South-South geopolitical zone held at Transcorp Hotel in Calabar.
Speaking at the event, the UN Women country representative for Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Beatrice Enyong, said the national consultative workshop was meant to fashion out a comprehensive work plan to set the agenda for UN Women intervention activities in Nigeria from 2023 till 2027.
Enyong said: “We opted for a teamwork approach in formulating our next five years development plan to allow for inputs from our implementing partners since they are the field workers with vast experiences ranging from success stories to the myriad of challenges.
“So, the next five years are crucial in our drive towards addressing issues hindering women and girls from optimizing their full potentials, gender equality and women empowerment is now a development issue that must be vigorously pursued if sustainable development goals must be attained.”
The UN Women representative commended the feat attained by Nigerian women at the global level, especially at the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the sporting arena, noting that such feat will inspire others to actualise their dreams and aspirations.
“Despite these feats, a lot must be done to tackle the high maternal mortality rate, female school dropouts, girl bride, female genitals mutilation and other harmful cultural practices targeted at women and girls” she stressed.
Speaking, the Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr Ini Adiakpan, lauded the UN Women for the interactive session and sued for synergy between implementing partners to accelerate the attainment of set targets.
In her remarks, the Director of Women, Ministry of Women Affairs, Cross River State, Nancy Nsor, expressed delight at the choice of Calabar for the event, maintaining that the ministry has stepped up advocacy campaigns to ensure that issues bordering on girls and women are accorded the needed priority.
Also speaking, the head of programmes, Girls Power Initiative in Cross River, Mrs Ndodeye Bassey, advocated for collective engagement of relevant key players in line ministries, agencies and other arms of government vital to achieving stipulated goals.
The workshop was attended by participants from the six states of the South-South.