Under the auspices of Her Highness Doctor Muna Al-Fahd Al Said, the Sultanate of Oman is hosting the 7th session of the Committee on Women at ESCWA (the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) from 20 to 21 January 2016 at the Muscat Intercontinental Hotel. Participants in the Session include representatives of Governments, national machineries for the advancement of women and line ministries as well as councils, governmental organizations and committees on women in member States of ESCWA.
Representatives of States not members of ESCWA, the League of Arab States, the Committee of Arab Women, the United Nations programmes and specialized agencies and relevant civil society organizations in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, will also attend the session as observers. Speakers at the opening ceremony, which will start at 9:00 AM on Wednesday, the 20th of January, will be Ms. Rima Khalaf, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCWA, and his Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Saeed bin Saif al Kalbani, Minister of Social Development of the Sultanate of Oman and a representative of the Republic Iraq, in his capacity as representative of the State that chaired the 6 th session of the Committee.
The Minister of Social Development in Oman will be addressing the statement of the hosting country, which will chair the 7th session. The Committee on Women at its 7 th session aims to promote cooperation between member States and with regional organizations active in the advancement of Arab women. It will focus on the progress achieved in the Arab region towards the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 20 years after their adoption and the effects of international development processes, in particular the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, on women in the Arab countries.
Discussions will also address the challenges faced by women in the Arab region, especially in conflict-affected countries and areas. Moreover, the agenda of the 7 th session includes such recurrent items as the review of progress achieved in the implementation of activities related to the advancement of women under the ESCWA programme of work and the implementation of the recommendations made by the Committee at its 6 th session, in addition to the presentation of the proposed programme of work for the biennium 2016-2017 in the advancement of women.
The recommendations of the 7 th session of the Committee of Women at ESCWA are expected to engulf a comprehensive concept of Gender Justice, which includes a two-pronged key; namely, the achievement of equality through the abolition of all forms of discrimination between men and women, and the application of accountability through the existence of effective accountability mechanisms to ensure the reduction of discriminating actions. It is also expected that the suggested recommendations of the session reflect the pivotal role of ESCWA in supporting Member States in implementing the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
The Committee on Women at ESCWA was established in 2003 with the aim of following up regional and international conferences on women, ensuring the participation of ESCWA member States in those conferences and coordinating the efforts exerted by member States and regional organizations in the implementation of resolutions and recommendations adopted by those conferences. The Committee on Women held its first founding session in Beirut, on 4 and 5 December 2003 and its subsequent sessions biannually. On 4 and 5 December 2013, Kuwait hosted its 6th session. ESCWA is one of the five UN regional commissions.
It provides a framework for the formulation and harmonization of sectoral policies for member countries; a platform for congress and coordination; a home for expertise and knowledge, and an information observatory. It aims at supporting economic and social cooperation between the region’s countries and promoting development process in order to achieve regional integration. Mauritania became member of ESCWA in September 2015.
By this new membership, the number of ESCWA countries rose to 18, including: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.