"Towards Justice and Equality for Women in the Arab Region" was the title of the Arab High Level Conference on Beijing+20, which was hosted by the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on 2 and 3 February 2015 at Sofitel Hotel, El-Gezirah.
Over two days, policy-makers, experts, and representatives of national women's machineries in Arab countries and concerned international and regional organizations, sat around a discussion table and renewed pledge to enhance gender equality and women's and girls' empowerment in the Arab region, and to promote their rights in the framework of the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action.
The Conference sessions focused on the national accomplishments and challenges related to the implementation of the Beijing Declaration in the 20 years since its adoption. The sessions examined 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 addressed emerging regional developments and their impact on the implementation process of the Beijing Declaration.
The Conference had started by an opening session which witnessed statements by Mr. Nabil Al-Arabi, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States; 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 was the event's keynote speaker, and highlighted the pioneering role of women in the Arab civilization and aspects of their current suffering, as well as their commitment justice and equality.
The Conference closed by adopting 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. Participants also issued "The Arab Declaration", which included six main commitments such as integrating women's issues in policies programs and budgets. In addition, a final statement was released by the civil society representatives attending the Conference, focusing on a series of recommendations in frame of the current surrounding circumstances in the region and the states' commitment to implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action.