Barcelona, 8 March 2016. The Union for the Mediterranean joins the international community in celebrating the International Women’s Day. In accordance with the world leaders’ decision to set the achievement of gender equality as a specific goal in the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UfM highlights and supports the instrumental role of women and their decisive contribution to human development, prosperity and stability in the Mediterranean region.
In all Euro-Mediterranean countries, despite the progresses made in closing gaps between men and women over the past years, women continue to experience low rates regarding participation and access to equal opportunities in all spheres of public life. In parallel, the region continues facing several challenges which include a high unemployment both for men and women and a low economic growth resulting in an increase in illegal migration and extremism affecting essentially young people.
More and continued efforts are therefore needed, by all stakeholders, to address these challenges in the region. Giving women greater and equal opportunities to participate in the social and economic life and by the way, contribute to the development of their societies and countries, could constitute one of the solutions to current constraints faced by the region.
The UfM, with the support of its Co-Presidency, EU and Jordan, contributes to these efforts at various levels:
- By supporting concrete projects promoted by strategic partners. Over 20 projects with 200.000 beneficiaries addressing the challenges of youth employability and gender equality in the region are under implementation, with 14 projects targeting specifically women empowerment benefiting to more than 50,000 beneficiaries.
- By coordinating a multi-stakeholders regional dialogue, launched in 2015, to enhance gender equality agenda in the region, involving the UfM governments and the main stakeholders on gender equality in the region. The objective is monitor the progress made in the implementation of the UfM Ministerial commitments and to prepare the next Ministerial meeting on Strengthening the role of Women in Society foreseen to take place end 2016/early 2017.
- By holding the Third high-level UfM Conference on Women’s Empowerment in October 2016 to identify, with key regional actors, concrete and strategic ways to overcome challenges that hinder full participation of women in society.
“Fostering region-wide cooperation initiatives in the fields of youth employability and women’s empowerment is paramount to effectively advance regional integration, stability and human development in our region. We all have the duty to act, and to act collectively and efficiently”, said Delphine Borione, UfM Deputy Secretary General for Civil and Social Affairs.
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About the UfM
The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organisation bringing together 43 countries: 28 EU member states and 15 Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries. It provides a platform for political dialogue, coordination, and regional cooperation.
The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, established in Barcelona in 2010, focuses on enhancing regional cooperation and integration through the implementation of regional cooperation projects and initiatives. The Secretariat has developed and accelerated the implementation of new regional projects that are key socio-economic and strategic drivers: more than 40 regional labelled projects worth over €5 billion in areas including inclusive growth, youth employability, women’s empowerment, promotion of student mobility, integrated urban development and sustainable development. The Secretariat works in close collaboration with government agencies and an active network of Euro-Mediterranean partners to assist project promoters throughout the entire project cycle, from technical assistance to project implementation, as well as financial planning and fundraising.