UN Women and partners convene Special Session on gender mainstreaming in SDG implementation during 2018 Arab Forum for Sustainable Development

Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Beirut, Lebanon

25 April 2018

During the 2018 Arab Forum for Sustainable Development, UN Women, ESCWA, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNDP convene an expert panel discussion on the importance of mainstreaming gender and women’s empowerment in national planning, highlighting that there can be no sustainable development without gender equality.

Between 24 and 26 April, member States, UN entities and representatives of civil society, academia and the private sector are gathered at the Arab Forum on Sustainable Development, convened by ESCWA under the patronage of the President of the Council of Ministers, His Excellency Mr. Saad Hariri, to review progress in regional implementation of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

On 25 April, during the Arab Forum on Sustainable Development, UN Women, ESCWA, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNDP convened a panel discussion on mainstreaming gender equality through national plans for the effective implementation of Agenda 2030 and the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The discussion shed light on the importance of upholding gender equality in national development to ensure that all women and men, girls and boys can participate in and enjoy the benefits of development. The discussion, which was facilitated by Ms. Mehrinaz El Awady, Director of the ESCWA Centre for Women, looked at the experiences of countries in the region, including Lebanon and Iraq, in ensuring that national development plans respond to the diverse needs of women and men.

To contribute to the debate, UN Women presented its global report "Turning promises into action: Gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development". This report includes examples and case studies from a number of Arab States and offers an excellent resource to member States and other stakeholders in the region in considering the gender dimensions of the sustainable development, including natural resources management.

HE Mr. Jean Ogasapian, Minister of State for Women’s Affairs of Lebanon shared the experiences of the Lebanese Republic in mainstreaming gender through its national SDG implementation plan, noting that Lebanon is among the eight countries from the region presenting progress reports on implementation at this year’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, to be held in New York in July.

He said "Since its establishment about a year ago, the Ministry has introduced the National Strategy for Gender Equality, which includes 12 major axes that intersects with the 17 goals of sustainable development, in order to achieve the goals of this strategy. Based on this strategy the ministry has worked on amending the laws lacking gender equality and has presented eight draft laws, the Cabinet has approved three of them and submitted them to the Parliament”. He added “The focus is on the integration of gender in all national policies associated with all sustainable goals”.

Ms. Shiruk Abayashi, a Member of the Iraqi Parliament, spoke of Iraq’s experiences in ensuring that all women and men have equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water, as required by SDG 6.

Ms. Lina Abirafeh, Director of the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World at the Lebanese American University provided some key recommendations, based on the Institute’s research, to ensure that cities and human settlements are effectively inclusive and safe.

In presenting the UN Women global report, Ms. Begona Lasagabaster, Special Representative of the Regional Director of UN Women in Lebanon, noted that it takes an in-depth look at progress on SDG implementation across the globe from the perspective of the international community’s commitment to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. She said “The implementation of this bold vision holds the potential to transform the lives of women and girls all over the world. To ensure this, we need we need to put gender equality at the center of implementation, to close the financing gap, to get much better in monitoring what works for women and girls and to strengthen accountability for gender equality commitments at all levels”. 

The report provides wide-ranging recommendations for change, and focuses on four critical areas requiring urgent action: integrated approaches to SDG implementation across all sectors; effective data collection and analysis to ensure everyone is counted; comprehensive and innovative financing to support national implementation; and strengthened accountability for member States’ commitments to achieve gender equality through Agenda 2030.