The Santa Maria/Sal Commitment

13 March 2003
Author: UNFPA

We the African Women Ministers and Parliamentarians representing 40 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, meeting in Santa Maria/ SAL, Cape Verde, between 15-18 October 2002 for the Fifth Regional Conference of African Women Ministers and Parliamentarians:

Recalling the need of the effective implementation of the Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development;

Further recalling the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action;

Noting the commitments of Heads of State and Government in response to HIV pandemic on the Continent as a developmental issue;

Bearing in mind the UN Millennium Development Goals, NEPAD, the Additional Protocol to the African Charter on human and peoples rights, relating to women rights, the Abuja declaration on HIV/AIDS and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers;

Further recalling the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, in particular, chapter VI on Health and Sustainable Development;

Concerned with several challenges, which continue to aggravate the situation of gender/ HIV AIDS namely: 

  • Harmful traditional values, beliefs, practices and other cultural barriers;
  • Ever growing numbers of orphaned children;
  • Persisting conflicts and migration trends;
  • Continued denial, stigmatisation and fear of HIV/AIDS;
  • Competing priorities in allocation of budgets leading to fragmentation and duplication of resources, creating insufficient responses towards combating HIV / AIDS and promoting gender equality and equity;
  • Under representation of women in legislative institutions, government executives and other decision making bodies at national and international levels;
  • The difficulties faced in the implementation processes of the adopted resolutions of previous CAWMP;

Aware of the existing favourable opportunities namely

  • Political will and conducive environment;
  • Multisectoral institutional framework and strategic plans of action being developed by African countries at different levels;
  • Coalitions for gender /HIV AIDS and conflict resolution leading to greater grassroots mobilization;
  • Existence of the Network of African Women Ministers and Parliamentarians.
  • Adoption of gender parity by Africa Heads of State within the African Union.

Concerned over the very high levels of HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in general and the even higher levels among women and girls;

Noting the commitments we made as Women Ministers and Parliamentarians in previous meetings and conferences;

Convinced that we can halt the HIV pandemic through persistent steadfast focus on the promotion of gender equality, equity and empowerment;

Being aware of the difficulties faced in the implementation process of the adopted resolutions;


  1. Advocate for appropriate gender sensitive policies, strategies and resources allocation;
  2. Promote collection, analysis and use of sex and age desegregated data for planning, assessing impact of programmes and allocation of resources for gender equity, equality and HIV/AIDS;
  3. Support international, regional and national initiatives on gender, HIV/AIDS and poverty reduction;
  4. Engage in national and sub regional committees for effective networking, coordination and monitoring of AWMP activities;
  5. Advocate for review of national legal frameworks and policies to protect and promote women’s sexual and reproductive rights in order to enable them to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS;
  6. Establish, before the next conference, functional secretariat and bureau for the AWMP;
  7. Network for peace and conflict resolution and prevention.


  1. Urge our governments and the international community to urgently take all the necessary action to ensure the availability and affordability of care including anti-retroviral, pharmaceuticals, to treat opportunistic infections as well as appropriate nutrition for those infected with the AIDS, in particular women and the poor.
  2. Advocate for the inclusion of gender and HIV/AIDS issues in the PRSP NEPAD framework, the Millennium Development goals and other relevant initiatives.
  3. Strengthen the gender perspective and expansion of peer group programmes to prevent HIV/AIDS through programmes in schools, universities, armed and other uniformed forces, in an effort to speed up the national response.
  4. Encourage dialogue on sexual and reproductive health within households, and between generations, and with faith-based organisations in order to expand alliances in the fight against the AIDS pandemic.
  5. Support the involvement of the civil society in information, education and communication for behaviour change and delivery of sexual and reproductive health services at the community level.
  6. Develop sensitisation messages targeted specifically at high-risk groups so as to equip them with the information and knowledge about their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.
  7. Fight for the elimination of all forms of violence against women, and to promote the development of programmes targeted at the victims of violence as well as at the perpetrators as way of holistically addressing violence against women and children.
  8. Form the necessary alliances to stop harmful practices against women and girls, which negatively impact their health, dignity, self-esteem and expose them to HIV/AIDS.
  9. Promote and expand programmes to prevent the vertical transmission of HIV/AIDS to ensure accessibility and affordability of drugs.
  10. Advocate for subsidizing female condoms by governments and ensure their availability to women and young girls.
  11. Improve quality of care in HIV/AIDS programmes to ensure confidentiality, counselling and voluntary testing and follow-up;
  12. Support stronger and more comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention life skills activities targeted at adolescents, especially young girls, who are vulnerable.
  13. Guarantee food security and targeted nutritional interventions for all as one of the means of alleviating the effect of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
  14. Ensure the economic empowerment of women as a condition for the development of our countries.
  15. Promote the integration of HIV/AIDS prevention activities in all peacekeeping and post-conflict and rehabilitation activities to forestall the rapid spread of the pandemic.
  16. Promote the development of programmes to provide assistance to orphans whose parents died of AIDS.
  17. Support girls and women, especially older women, who provide home-based care for the ill and develop alternative approaches for care including social security and innovative insurance programmes for the affected families.
  18. Mobilise additional resources at the national, regional and international levels through PRSP, MAP and NEPAD initiatives and the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Adopted at Santa Maria, Sal, Cape Verde, October, 18, 2002. The fifth African Women Ministers and Parliamentarians Conference

South Africa
Population : 58.1 mil
Fertility rate
Maternal Mortality Ratio
Contraceptives prevalence rate
Population aged 10-24
Youth secondary school enrollment
Boys 86%
Girls 84%

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