Minister drills gender discrimination, global warming agendas at conference

2010-07-28 09:52

Initiatives aimed at addressing gender discrimination must form

part of dedicated programmes of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)

in Africa.

This, according to Science and Technology Minister Naledi

Pandor.

Pandor was speaking during the opening of the CPA’s 41st conference

that began at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit yesterday.

The conference was attended by representatives of various African

countries and will, over three days, thrash out political, social, economic,

gender and climate change issues and come up with resolutions.

Pandor, who was representing President Jacob Zuma, said gender

discrimination was deeply embedded in social and cultural attitudes and

practices that were slow to change.

She said: “Commonwealth countries need to work actively,

intentionally and proactively to address gender equity.

“In most contemporary contexts, this calls for special support for

education for women and girls who have often been deprived of opportunities for

personal development through learning.”

Pandor said that all African Commonwealth countries faced a huge

problem of youth unemployment, and said the quality of education had to

improve.

She said governments had to expand funding of higher education as

this sector has been undergoing major restructuring in recent years.

“It has also been a time of expansion in the number of students

throughout the African Commonwealth. Expansion requires an expansion of funding.

Yet state funding of higher education has been in decline comparatively until

recently,” said Pandor.

Pandor said that the Commonwealth’s most pressing current global

challenges were climate change and poverty, which she said were interlinked.

“We cannot eliminate poverty without increasing the use of energy.

As developing countries take their people out of poverty, there has been a

strong growth in greenhouse gas emissions.

We cannot stop development in the

developing world, but we can control emission of greenhouse gasses,” said

Pandor.



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