Beirut, 23 April 2019 (ESCWA)--The Arab civil society regional consultative workshop on the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action after 25 years, concluded with a set of recommendations that will feed into the 5th Comprehensive National Reviews of the progress made in the implementation of Beijing Declaration after 25 years of its adoption.
The workshop, held on 16-17 April at the UN House in Beirut, was organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in partnership with the League of Arab States (LAS), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), and the Arab Women Organization (AWO).
Participants from various civil society organizations in Arab countries called for adopting economic reform programs that promote participation, achieve justice and equality among society, and abolish discriminatory provisions in constitutions and laws, including personal status laws that exclude women and prevent them from exercising their role in the society.
They also urged States to make national plans, to ensure the independence of national human rights institutions and to strengthen their role in protecting the rights of women and girls at the national, regional and international levels, and to accede to international instruments and lift reservations. They called for the collection, dissemination and analysis of gender-disaggregated data, involving women in planning and negotiating climate change and how to deal with natural disasters before and after them. They also stressed the need to involve women in building peace processes in Arab societies.
In her opening statement, the Director of ESCWA Centre for Women, Ms. Mehrinaz El Awady, highlighted the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that contribute to the promotion of women's rights and the civil society organizations (CSOs) capacity to discern the needs of women to strengthen their role at all levels.
El Awady praised all the efforts exerted by the CSOs in the region to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, and hoped that these efforts will continue so as to ensure a decent and secure life for them.
"For us, the participation of civil society organizations is essential for the implementation of national action plans for equality and the empowerment of women, because it has an impact on the efforts of governmental institutions," she added.
In the same context, Head of Women, Family and Childhood Department at LAS Shaza Abdel Lateef expressed her hope to come out with an efficient and credible regional report that will focus on the role of women in the Arab region and expose existing drawbacks and inadequacy.
The workshop consisted of presentations and discussions on the progress made over the past five years from the perspective of civil society organizations and highlighted contributions made by CSOs to the implementation of the Beijing Declaration. It identified the most significant obstacles and challenges, as well as priorities, future visions and recommendations that will accelerate the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in the Arab region.
For her part, Regional Monitoring and Reporting Specialist at UN Women Nesreen El Molla stressed the continued effectiveness of the Beijing Declaration which is as significant as ever, while the world is increasingly convinced that women must be part of the global dialogue for sustainable Development.
She said: “The leading and pioneering role of women and girls that we see today in our Arab world emphasizes their pivotal role, and without the empowerment of women and girls, nations will suffer and development will be farfetched.”
The workshop also tackled on-going preparations of national-level reviews and shadow reports of civil society organizations if any, and identified follow-up steps and mechanisms at both the national and regional levels to coordinate efforts and recommendations that would accelerate the implementation of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in the Arab region.
Arab Women Organization Director-General Fadia Kiwan urged civil society to say all things by their names, seriously think of priorities amid critical regional circumstances and bring a new vision to how women issues should be dealt with.
This workshop is part of ESCWA’s leading role in assisting its member States with the preparation of their national reports and in completing the resulting regional reviews of the progress made and challenges encountered in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly and the preparation of regional reviews and results within the international review of implementation of the Beijing Declaration, which will be presented by the Commission on the Status of Women at its sixty-fourth session in 2020.
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