By Mahlet Mesganaw, Partner at DMLO
Proclamation No 1263/2021 is the latest proclamation that provides for the definition of the powers and duties of the executive organs of the FDRE. The proclamation has listed 22 Ministries. In addition to Ministries, there are Commissions, Authorities, Administrations or Development, Services, Offices and Institutes as part of the executive organ. The Ministry of Women and Social Affair(MoWSA) is one Ministry under the executive organ and its powers and duties concerning children will be the focus of this brief informative article.
Ministry of Women and Social Affairs
MoWSA has been renamed and reorganized. The powers and duties that were entrusted to the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth are now vested to the MoWSA. Moreover, the powers and duties entrusted to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs other than concerning labor affairs are now transferred to MoWSA. Thus the Ministry has been renamed to accommodate both tasks as the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs. As a result, MoWSA will have powers and duties concerning women, children, youth, elderly, persons with disability and other vulnerable groups of the society.
Powers and Duties Regarding Children
Article 36 of Proclamation 1263/2021 details powers and duties of MoWSA. The powers and duties with respect to children include the power to initiate policies, strategies and laws concerning children, awareness creation and coordination with all stakeholders with respect to rights and well being of children and supporting centers that provide health, psychological, legal and rehabilitation services for children who are victims of violence. The Ministry is entrusted with the power and duty to design strategies to ensure local options of care and support including adoption for orphans and children exposed to risk due to various reasons. The Ministry is responsible to follow up Ethiopian children adopted under international adoption who are living abroad. Finally the Ministry has the power to conclude international treaties, agreements or contracts concerning children in accordance with the law and follow up implementation of the same.
Implementation and Reporting
Each of those powers and duties assigned to the Ministries are required to be implemented. Planning, preparation, and submitting for approval are required for some of the powers and duties. Upon approval, the Ministry is duty bound to implement them. Each Ministry is required to submit periodic performance reports to the Prime Minister, Council of Ministers and other concerned bodies. Implementing the powers and duties concerning children by MoWSA is expected and periodic performance reports will show how efficient the Ministry has been in alleviating the problems of Ethiopian vulnerable children.
The government of Ethiopia has structured the executive organ in the manner that enables coordination of tasks, efficient and cost effective implementation of policies, strategies and laws. The carefully detailed powers and duties of each Ministry is an indication of well intentioned structuring of tasks for each Ministry for evaluation on performance. The Ministry of Women and Social Affairs has been entrusted with vast powers ranging from children to women, youth to elderly and persons with disabilities to vulnerable groups. The ongoing vulnerability of children, especially abandoned, orphaned and children under risk, requires the Ministry’s preparation, planning and implementation. Participation of stakeholders has paramount importance. Periodic performance reports should show practical progress made, and in the absence accountability and responsibility of Ministers and State Ministers.
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