Arab CSOs Share Recommendations Ahead of Beijing Declaration Review
UN Photo/Evan Schneider
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The workshop featured presentations and discussions on progress made over the past five years, from the perspective of CSOs.

The recommendations support incorporating a gender perspective in climate justice policies and involving women in planning and negotiations related to climate change.

The recommendations call for States to develop national action plans to achieve gender equality and eliminate discrimination, to mainstream gender equality in all national action plans and to provide necessary budgets.

May 2019: The Arab civil society regional consultative workshop on the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action agreed on a set of recommendations. The recommendations will contribute to the Fifth Comprehensive National Reviews of progress made in implementing the Beijing Declaration, which the 64th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will discuss in 2020.

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) organized the civil society regional consultative workshop in partnership with the League of Arab States (LAS), UN Women and the Arab Women Organization (AWO). The event took place from 16-17 April 2019, in Beirut, Lebanon.

The workshop featured presentations and discussions on progress made over the past five years, from the perspective of CSOs. Discussions addressed key challenges and obstacles, regional priorities and recommendations. Several participants highlighted the continued relevance of the Beijing Declaration, noting that women must be part of global efforts to achieve sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in SDG 5 (gender equality) and across the SDGs.

The recommendations support involving women in planning and negotiations related to climate change.

In their recommendations, participants called for: abolishing discriminatory provisions in constitutions and laws, including personal status laws that prevent women from exercising a role in society; adopting economic reform programs that promote participation, equality and justice among society and provide women with access to economic opportunities; and for involving women in peacebuilding in Arab societies. CSOs supported emphasizing the importance of “women’s full participation in all fields and in all positions” at the national and local levels, taking into account international and Arab experiences on gender parity. The recommendations also support: incorporating a gender perspective in climate justice policies; collecting, analyzing and disseminating gender-segregated data; and involving women in planning and negotiations related to climate change.

Civil society calls on States to assume “primary responsibility” in providing social services and protection within a gender-sensitive, rights-based and developmental approach, to ensure the independence of national human rights institutions (NHRIs), to strengthen their role in protecting the rights of women and girls at all levels, and to amend national legislations to align with international human rights conventions and standards and accede to relevant international instruments. The recommendations call on States to develop national action plans to achieve gender equality and eliminate discrimination, to mainstream gender equality in all national action plans, and to provide necessary budgets for implementing strategies, laws and measures to guarantee women’s access to justice.

Mehrinaz El Awady, ESCWA, praised the efforts by CSOs in the Arab region to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls. She said the participation of CSOs in the region is essential because it “has an impact on the efforts of governmental institutions.”

In July 2018, UN Member States agreed that at its 64th session, in 2020, the CSW will undertake a review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, including an “assessment of current challenges that affect the implementation of the Platform for Action and the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and its contribution towards the full realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through a gender perspective.” [ESCWA Press Release] [Recommendations] [UN Women Webpage on Preparations for 2020 Review]


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