Press Release: Costing the Economic Impact of Violence against Women in the Arab Region to Be Released Today
Date: Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Wednesday 4 October 2017: Beirut, Lebanon - UN Women; The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA); the Swedish Institute in Alexandria; and the Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World (IWSAW) at the Lebanese American University (LAU) have joined hands to launch the outcome of the first phase of a project on “Estimating the Cost of the Economic Impact of Violence against Women in the Arab Region”. The two-phased regional project aims to support Arab States in estimating the costs of violence against women (VAW)and using such costings as an instrument for policy reform and advocacy.
Taking place in Beirut, the event brings together concerned top officials in the Arab governments, namely ministers of women's affairs; heads of national institutions for the advancement of women, as well as representatives of the Arab and foreign diplomatic corps, the United Nations agencies and civil society organizations, with a special appearance by Tunisian Actor Dhafer L'Abidine and Media Personality Ricardo Karam.
The project produced a report on the status of violence, as well as an operational model to estimate the cost of violence as a key priority for Arab States, based on the recognition that VAW is a critical human rights violation that has negative multiplier effects on the rights of women, economic growth, public health and societal wellbeing. This model is based on a review of available methodologies and regional specificities to cost VAW in the Arab region. It accounts for the direct and indirect tangible costs of marital violence, including the total household cost, the total cost of service provision (at the community-level, and total cost to businesses.
Recognizing that despite most Arab states having ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), progress at policy level remains slow and uneven across the region, the report also provides an overview of the policy context of VAW and sets forth recommendations targeted at State Institutions, UN and other International Organizations, and Civil Society Organizations.
“For UN Women, this project is incredibly important as a tool in our programming to drive policy development. When policymakers understand both the economic and social burdens of a problem, and the cost savings that can be generated by strategies designed to address the problem, the likelihood of endorsing a policy addressing the issue is expedited.” says Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director for Arab States, UN Women.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Mohamed Ali Al-Hakim comments that the project is the product of continuous work carried out by ESCWA and its partners over the past two years to provide an economic model for calculating the cost of violence against women in line with the needs of the region. He emphasized that the model not only helps decision-makers to know the economic consequences of violence against women and their effects on the national economy, but also supports the comprehensive reform process against the phenomenon. This is in full conformity with international obligations that require States to protect women from violence and punish those who cause harm.
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