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Arab stakeholders agree on priorities for gender equality and women’s empowerment in the coming five years

Amman, Jordan

Amman, 28 November 2019 (ESCWA, UN-Women)--Senior officials representing Arab States met to agree on priorities for the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment, in the light of the findings of the regional review of progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) 25 years after their adoption. As an outcome of the conference, member States adopted an Arab declaration which reaffirms the principles enshrined in the Beijing Declaration.
Government officials and representatives of national women’s machineries, regional and global entities and civil society organizations working in the region took part in the high-level meeting organized in Amman by ESCWA  in partnership with the UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States, the League of Arab States (LAS) and the Arab Women Organization (AWO).
In her statement, ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti stressed that “women’s participation in the economy, at a full capacity and on an equal footing with men, could increase the Arab region’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025 by USD 1.5 trillion”. “Violence against women, on the other hand, causes losses amounting to USD 245 billion annually,” she added.
Recommendations revolved around the implementation of international frameworks via domestic policy formulation; ensuring the comprehensiveness of national social protection efforts; preventing and addressing all forms of violence against women and girls; mainstreaming gender equality in national legislation and policies; and collecting data and statistics to support evidence-based efforts to promote gender equality.
“Realizing the vision of the Beijing Platform for Action is central to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is critical to increase the enactment and implementation of laws and policies that prevent all forms of violence against women and girls, and to remove remaining discriminatory provisions against them. These efforts, along with attention to recognize and change stereotypes, must result in new access for women to decent work opportunities and engagement in the economy,” said Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director.
The meeting was the culmination of a series of assemblies where partners reviewed progress made in implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for action during the previous five years. Gaps and challenges faced in implementation were identified at the national and regional levels, including by Governments, civil society and experts.
League of Arab States Assistant Secretary-General Ambassador Haifa Abu Ghazaleh called for a doubling of efforts to empower women economically, underlining that “it is no longer acceptable that Arab women’s economic participation remains the lowest globally”.
In turn, Executive Director of the Arab Women Organization (AWO) Fadia Kiwan highlighted that “it is imperative to increase and coordinate efforts to fulfil the rights of Arab women”.
The following six key areas were examined in the regional review process, drawing mainly on national reviews submitted by 20 Arab States: comprehensive development, common prosperity and decent work; poverty eradication, social protection and social services; freedom from violence, stigmatization and stereotypes; participation, accountability and gender-responsive institutions; and peaceful societies where no one is left behind.


For more information:
-Ms. Rania Harb, Public Information Assistant, ESCWA, +961-70-008-879; email:
-Ms. Nourhan El-Nagdy, Regional Communications Assistant, UN Women Arab States +20-12-8280-8644; email: