The African Union Ministers Responsible for Gender and Women’s Affairs Gathered in Cairo to Agree on the African Common Position for the Upcoming 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63)

Date: Thursday, February 7, 2019

Cairo, 5 February 2019 – Representatives from the African Union (AU) Member States and Civil Society Organizations are convening for the Africa ministerial pre-consultative meeting for the 63rd Session of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) taking place 5 and 6 February in Cairo, Egypt.

Hosted by the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt and organized under the auspices of the African Union  Commission (AUC)  in partnership with  the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Africa, the objective of the Africa ministerial pre-consultative meeting is to develop a common regional position and a set of tangible, concise and concrete recommendations in advance of the CSW63. This meeting brings together high- level representatives from Governments and Civil Society Organizations, demonstrating their willingness to work together and articulate a common position that can be further pursued during the upcoming 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) to be held from 11 to 22 March 2019 at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Opening the event, Ms. Asa Regner, Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women thanked the Government of Egypt, the host country, for the initiative of bringing together such a diverse group of experts and encouraged the participants to make solid commitments to advance the agenda of women’s access to social protection and sustainable infrastructure. She referred to the Multi-Stakeholder Forum for CSW63 held last week in New York where recurrent calls were made to increase investments in gender responsive social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure to free up women’s time, support their mobility, enhance their access to economic opportunities and strengthen their resilience to shocks.

In her statement to the meeting, H.E. Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the Egypt’s National Council for Women, highlighted the direct linkages between the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Agenda 2063 and emphasized that the new African strategy for the empowerment of women and gender equality can contribute to setting priorities and strengthening strategic partnerships by maximizing opportunities and inclusion through social protection systems and accessibility to public services and sustainable infrastructure for all women and girls.

Speaking on behalf of H.E. Sameh Shoukri, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, H.E Ambassador Dr. Ahmed Ehab Gamal El Din, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Human Rights, Social and International Humanitarian Affairs, welcomed ministers and heads of delegations to Egypt and  noted that “social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is of paramount importance for Africa, especially with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Agenda 2063. We have to share with the external world our challenges and achievements and speak with one voice in the CSW63 meetings in New York, presenting the common African position.”

 

H.E. Ghada Waly, Minister of Social Solidarity of Egypt recalled some of the country’s experiences and achievements regarding the provision of social protection and safety nets, including the most recent conditional transfer schemes called Takaful and Karama and underlining how inclusive growth and macroeconomic stability are key enablers. She noted that “when women are educated, when women are provided with social and economic protection, the whole society is protected, and doors to social justice are opened; so for us to achieve SDGs and reach our aspirations, educate girls and empower women.”

H.E. Chantal Lopusa Safou, Minister of Gender, Children and Family of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chairperson of the Bureau of the AU Specialized Technical Committee on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (STC on GEWE) stressed that the protection of women and girls depends on governments’ commitments to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. She concluded by calling on the participants to finalize a document that will represent Africa’s common position and that will provide a platform for those women whose voices are still not heard. “The world is moving ahead and women and girls cannot stay on the margin”, she concluded.

Delivering the opening remarks on behalf of H.E. Mr. Mousa Faki Mahamat, the AUC Chaiperson, H.E Amb. Bouzaher Abdhamid, the Head of Mission and AU Permanent Representative to the League of Arab States, commended Africa as a region for its commendable efforts in the democratization of social protection and public services. The flagship projects of the Agenda 2063 include efforts to promote the development of infrastructure that will increase the supply of social services across the continent. He underscored that the new gender strategy of the African Union includes among its priorities the need to design, as part of the implementation of flagship projects, programs aimed at women's economic empowerment and social protection. Member States were encouraged to take ownership of the resolutions that will be made at the end of this meeting, and especially to mobilize all the ministerial departments concerned by the theme in the implementation of the resolutions. Throughout the meeting, participants emphasized the importance of Africa speaking in one voice during the CSW63 negotiations.

The meeting informs participants on important and up to date information on the upcoming CSW63 and on the outcomes of the previous sessions as well as on key messages to guide Africa’s technical contributions to final CSW63 Agreed conclusions.

The meeting participants will also avail themselves of the opportunity provided by this high-level gathering to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the AU Gender Pre-Summit.

For more information, please contact:

  1. Victoria Maloka

African Union Commission

Email: MalokaV@africa-union.org

  1. Marie Goretti Nduwayo

UN Women

Email:marie.nduwayo@unwomen.org

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. A functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), it was established by Council resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946.

The CSW is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.

In 1996, ECOSOC in resolution 1996/6 expanded the Commission’s mandate and decided that it should take a leading role in monitoring and reviewing progress and problems in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and in mainstreaming a gender perspective in UN activities. Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, the Commission now also contributes to the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development so as to accelerate the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women (ECOSOC resolution 2015/6).

During the Commission’s annual two-week session, representatives of UN Member States, civil society organizations and UN entities gather at UN headquarters in New York. They discuss progress and gaps in the implementation of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the key global policy document on gender equality.

The outcomes and recommendations of each session are forwarded to ECOSOC for follow-up.