The Regional Office for the Arab States (ROAS) was established in Cairo, Egypt, in 2012. The regional office covers 17 countries in the Arab States region and provides direct support to UN Women country offices in Egypt, Iraq, occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), Jordan and the Morocco Multicounty Office (MCO) covering Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. In addition, UN Women has programme presence in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Libya. In 2014, UN Women started working in Kuwait as a non-resident agency and will pursue this modality in countries where there is no programme or office presence, including in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The regional office supports country offices in assisting national governments to fulfill their gender equality commitments under the applicable national and international laws. The regional office works with country offices in strengthening areas of programmatic interventions under the six thematic areas identified in the organization’s Strategic plan for 2014–2017, including:

  • Expanding women’s voice, leadership and participation;
  • Enhancing women’s economic empowerment;
  • Ending violence against women and girls;
  • Implementing the women’s peace and security agenda;
  • Enhancing governance and national planning to improve accountability for gender equality commitments and priorities; and
  • Strengthening and implementing the global and normative policy framework for gender equality and the empowerment of women.