Areas of work and programmes

UN Women ROAS’s work on the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals is guided by intergovernmental norms and standards, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) and the outcome documents of its reviews, the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), relevant UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security, agreed conclusions of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Session 60, and other applicable UN instruments and resolutions on gender equality and women’s empowerment. 

UN Women’s work to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda cuts across four thematic pillars; Women’s Political Participation and Leadership, Women’s Economic Empowerment, the Elimination of Violence against Women, and Women, Peace and Security.

More specifically, UN Women ROAS aims to:

  • Support inter-governmental bodies in the region, such as the League of Arab States (LAS), in their formulation of policies, standards and norms on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Launched in 2014 during the Civil Society Forum organized with LAS and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in preparation for the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), as part of the discussion on how to foster gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s rights in the post-2015 development agenda, the Cairo Declaration (in Arabic here) supported the landing of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs in the region. With the adoption of the Declaration and its Strategic Plan by the League of Arab States in March 2017, the LAS General Secretariat has been mandated to follow up on the implementation of the Declaration and ensure quinquennial reporting. The priorities embedded in the Cairo Declaration and Strategic Plan of Action reflect the importance of addressing the inter-linked structural causes of gender-based inequalities.
  • Support Member States to implement the 2030 Agenda and the 17 SDGs, in collaboration with LAS and ESCWA, ROAS supports national women machineries to increase their capacities. Additionally, the 2030 Agenda provides an opportunity to address data gaps on gender equality and women’s empowerment and mobilize all actors around this fundamental issue. The UN General Assembly has called for (a) the review and follow-up mechanisms to be informed by country-led evaluations, and (b) capacity development for developing countries including strengthen­ing of national data systems and evaluation. In recent years, in collaboration with the EvalMENA Network, UN Women has provided a space for parliamentarians, representatives of ministries/government bodies responsible for monitoring and evaluating the SDGs, national women’s machineries and national evaluation associations, for dialogue and peer-to-peer learning, and supporting the institutionalization of evaluation at the national level. 
  • Support the UN System to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment: UN Women ROAS works with the broader UN development system to uphold the principle of Leave No One Behind and specifically the gender dimensions of this principle. This work includes ROAS’s collaboration in the preparation and holding of the yearly Arab Forum for Sustainable Development as well as other UN actions. During the Arab Forum for Sustainable development held in May 2017 in Morocco, the Special Session held in collaboration with UN-ESCWA highlighted the urgency of accelerating progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the framework of the 2030 Agenda. During the 2018 Arab Forum for Sustainable Development (AFSD), in partnership with ESCWA, UNFPA, UNDP and UNICEF, UN Women convened a Special Session side event. The lively discussion brought together UN experts, the Government of Lebanon and National Parliament of Iraq and a leading regional think tank to examine the role of gender equality and women’s empowerment as a critical element of Leave No One Behind for effective implementation of Agenda 2030.
  • Support to civil society partners to call for the achievement of the 2030 agenda. UN Women is working with civil society partners across the region to call for and promote the implementation of agenda 2030. As part of these efforts, UN Women ROAS established the Youth Gender Innovation Agora (GIA) as a consultative forum and a platform for regular youth dialogue in January 2018. The GIA is made up of eminent civil society professionals, young activists, and media influencers who seek to support the youth representatives to develop innovative gender equality solutions for the achievement of the SDGs. The GIA launched HerStory as a youth-led initiative to produce and disseminate knowledge in Arabic language about the SDGs, gender equality issues and women and girls’ lives and contributions in the Arab region. HerStory uses information and communication technology to facilitate crowdsourced knowledge production that is disseminated through Arabic Wikipedia, the world’s sixth-most-visited website on the internet. HerStory’s vision is to add 25,000 articles about the SDGs, gender and empowerment of women and girls on Arabic Wikipedia between 2018 and 2020.