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Minister Koonjoo-Shah And EU Ambassador Co-Chair 6th High-Level Policy Dialogue On Gender

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The Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, Mrs Kalpana Koonjoo-Shah and the European Union (EU) Ambassador to the Republic of Mauritius and the Republic of Seychelles, Mr Oskar Benedikt, cochaired the 6th High-Level Policy Dialogue on Gender, yesterday, at the Sir Harilall Vaghjee Memorial Hall in Port-Louis.

Representatives of various Ministries and the EU delegation were also present.

The Policy Dialogue took stock of the implementation of the EU-Mauritius partnership for gender equality, with emphasis on the status on legislation, action, and support measures as regards ensuring freedom from all forms of gender-based violence; promoting sexual and reproductive health rights; promoting economic and social rights and empowering girls and women; promoting equal participation and leadership; and addressing the challenges and harnessing the opportunities offered by the green transition and the digital transformation.

6th High-Level Policy Dialogue on Gender

In her address, the Gender Minister highlighted that the 6th High-Level Policy Dialogue is a continuation of EU-Mauritius collaboration of past efforts as well as bold steps into uncharted territories of opportunity and challenge.

The EU-Mauritius Gender Action Plan III, she indicated, has been pivotal in driving the Ministry’s initiatives forward and tackling critical issues such as gender-based violence and the economic empowerment of women with renewed purpose and urgency.

One notable achievement, she pointed out, was the enactment of three key legislative measures: the Children’s Act 2020, the Child Sex Offender Register Act 2020, and the Children’s Court Act 2020. She added that the Gender Equality Commission Bill, the Adoption Bill, and the Domestic Violence Abuse Bill are not merely legislative changes but essential steps towards fostering a culture of gender parity and societal justice.

6th High-Level Policy Dialogue on Gender

Furthermore, Mrs Koonjoo-Shah recalled that the implementation of the National Strategy and Action Plan on the elimination of gender-based violence set up in 2020, underscores Government’s unwavering support to this cause. As at date, around 100 out of the 156 output indicators have been completed, 54 are in progress and 2 are in mitigation, she informed.

The real challenge, the Minister emphasised, lies in ensuring that the objectives of attaining gender parity are not merely temporary endeavours but integral components of Government’s development agenda. “We must strive for a society where gender equality is not an afterthought but a guiding principle in all our actions and policies,” she stated.

Minister Koonjoo-Shah, stressed that initiatives such as the setting up of the National Women Entrepreneur Council, have been very helpful in creating a conducive environment for women entrepreneurs. In view to further promote women entrepreneurship, additional fund has been earmarked for the financial year 2023-2024, she remarked.

6th High-Level Policy Dialogue on Gender

As for the EU Ambassador, he lauded the initiative of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Welfare in making the Policy Dialogue an annual event. He stressed on the pressing need for promoting gender equality in all spheres of society.

Speaking about the EU-Mauritius Joint Monitoring Framework Agreement, Mr Oskar Benedikt highlighted that Mauritius is the first country to partner with EU on this issue. Besides, he reiterated the support of EU to Mauritius in terms of technical expertise and formulation of legislations to advance the EU-Mauritius Gender Action Plan.

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