“Towards Justice and Equality for Women in the Arab Region” is the title of the Arab High Level Conference on Beijing+20, which will be held in Cairo on 2 and 3 February 2015 in Sofitel Hotel, El-Gezirah. The Conference is organized jointly by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the League of Arab States (LAS), and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). Other organizations are contributing to the funding of the event such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The Conference opens at 10:00 AM on Monday 2 January 2015, with statements by Mr. Nabil Al-Arabi, Secretary-General of LAS, Ms. Rima Khalaf, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCWA and Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women. Distinguished Arab Actress Nidal El-Ashkar will be the event’s keynote speaker. The Conference will bring together political and diplomatic figures, as well as policy-makers, experts, and representatives of Arab Member States, national women’s machineries, members of civil society, international and regional organizations, and United Nations agencies. Conference Objectives The primary objective of the Conference is to reaffirm Arab States’ commitments to the principles enshrined in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and subsequently adopt an official Arab declaration underscoring a renewed pledge to enhance gender equality and women’s empowerment in the region. The Conference will aim to adopt the Arab Regional Synthesis Report on the Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in the Arab Region after 20 Years, which was prepared based on national review reports submitted by 21 Arab States, providing an overview of progress achieved in the region in relation to the 12 areas of concern outlined in the Beijing Platform for Action.
The Conference sessions will focus on national accomplishments and challenges related to the implementation of the Beijing Declaration in the 20 years since its adoption. Sessions will also examine past approaches and proposed future measures toward the full realization of the Beijing Platform for Action in the Arab region, particularly in connection with parallel global processes regarding equality and justice for women. In this context, the Conference will address emerging regional developments and their impact on the implementation process of the Beijing Declaration. Background The Beijing Declaration was adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995, and reaffirmed in 2000 during the 23rd Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The Beijing Declaration symbolizes the commitment of the international community to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. It calls upon Governments, civil society, and the private sector to undertake strategic measures to ensure justice and equality and achieve lasting peace and development.
The Platform for Action of the Beijing Declaration is structured around 12 critical areas of concern: Women and Poverty; Education and Training of Women; Women and Health; Violence against Women; Women in Armed Conflict; Women and the Economy; Women in Power and Decision-making; Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women; Human Rights of Women; Women and the Media; Women and the Environment; and the Girl Child. The Platform for Action provides a reference framework for both the analysis of the situation of women and the assessment of world States’ efforts to advance gender equality. Through the accountability framework envisioned in the Beijing Declaration, multi-level reviews led by the New York based UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action are held every five years. In March 2015, CSW will hold its 59th Session dedicated to reviewing global progress toward gender equality in the 20 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration. Accordingly, States have been called upon to prepare national reports on achievements, challenges, and persistent gaps, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders (particularly non-governmental organizations) and based on a common guidance note developed by UN Women and the five UN regional commissions. In addition, the UN regional commissions, including ESCWA, were mandated to prepare regional synthesis reports drawing on national reviews completed in their respective regions over the course of 2014. These national and regional reports will also contribute to the Secretary General’s Global Review Report on Beijing+20 to be submitted to upcoming session of the UN General Assembly.
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