Arab States build consensus on priorities for empowerment of women and girls living in rural areas ahead of CSW 62

Ahead of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, governments of the Arab States region met to prepare a common position on the empowerment of women and girls living in rural areas. Participants stressed the need to ensure access to education, political participation and land ownership

Date: Sunday, March 11, 2018

Participants in the Arab region intergovernmental consultation in preparation of CSW62.Photo Credit: UN Women/ Diego de la Rosa

                                                                                                 UN Women, in partnership with the League of Arab States and the Ministry of Women, Family and Children of Tunisia convened the Arab region intergovernmental preparatory meeting ahead of the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) to be held at the United Nations headquarters in New York on March 12. The meeting gathered ministers and government officials as well as civil society representatives from fifteen countries across the region to forge a common Arab position on the key issues to be deliberated during CSW62.

Underscoring the collaborative nature of the event, the preparatory meeting was facilitated by H.E. Ms. Neziha Labidi, Minister of Women, Family and Children of Tunisia; Ms. Inas Mekkawy, Head of the Women, Family and Childhood Department, League of Arab States; and Mr. Mohammad Naciri, UN Women’s Regional Director for the Arab States. Representatives of member States discussed the importance of ensuring the empowerment of women and girls living in rural areas and the key actions needed to achieve this objective in line with Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the international community. In her opening remarks, H.E. Minister Labidi emphasized that “in all sectors, women are affected by the 17 SDGs of the 2030 global agenda. We are optimistic; however, optimism should be coupled with hard work and continuous work in order to achieve our ambitions. Not only our ambitions but also the ambitions of the next generations.”

Addressing the meeting, Ms. Inas Mekkawy emphasized that “the rights of rural women is a cross-cutting subject in all the SDGs. Rural women are at the heart of these objectives in the Arab region.” Mr. Mohammad Naciri noted that “women in rural areas do not have the same access to markets as men. Women face violence, harassment inside and outside the home. Women often cannot own land or inherit land equally with their male counterparts. This structural inequality needs to change if we are to truly prosper and ensure sustainable development.”

Participants engaged in fruitful debates around the empowerment of women and girls living in rural areas, resulting in a common position ahead of CSW62, which is in turn aligned with that of the Africa member states and agreed upon in Addis Ababa in February. The Tunisia Declaration recognizes, inter alia, the need to ensure equal access to land, education and innovative, time-saving technologies for women and girls living in rural areas. It calls upon member states to build the resilience of communities, and of women and girls in particular, to environmental hazards, shocks, and climate change. The declaration highlights the strong commitment and political will of member states to women’s empowerment, and will serve as the basis for discussions and the position of Arab member states ahead of the CSW62 agreed upon conclusions negotiations.

See the Tunisia Declaration in Arabic.