UfM: What are the biggest challenges regarding women’s empowerment in the region?
Mohammad Naciri (M.N.): It’s a very long list, unfortunately, as it is one of the most unstable regions in the world. In addition to the current conflicts, wars and terrorism women from the region are also suffering from political and economic marginalisation as well as from physical violence.
UfM: How do you think UN Women and the UfM, as international organisations, are specially equipped to address these challenges?
M.N.: We are trying to be as agile as the situation requires, as it is constantly changing and evolving. From UN Women’s side, we are including a new component to our Peace and Security strategy to deal with violent extremism. Through our partnership with the UfM, we are working to promote women’s economic empowerment and higher participation of women in Politics as well as to combat violence and the stereotyping of women in media. These are some of the root causes for women’s marginalisation.
Futhermore, we recently had a meeting with all the UfM member state’s Senior Officials and discussed very concrete steps to follow-up on the Beijing platform for action and the post 2015 agenda, so definitely the advocacy and the political work of the UfM to advance the agenda after 2015 will be key.
UfM: What is the added value that the UfM Secretariat can specifically bring to the work that UN Women is currently undertaking?
M.N.: As its own name implies, the Union for the Mediterranean includes a combination of European, North African and Middle Eastern countries, where political and economic support can be obtained and actions implemented at regional level. Furthermore, the UfM has been working very actively over the past few years on the gender equality agenda.
Last year we signed a memorandum of understanding of strategic importance for the simple fact that there are so many issues to tackle that it will be quite impossible for any of us to work alone on the developmental agenda in the next future. It is then very important to create partnerships, not only to implement specific actions on the ground but also to secure political support at the regional level.
More Info – Context
On 25 September, 2014, the Union for the Mediterranean and UN Women signed a partnership agreement to work closer on the road to Beijing+20, and undertake joint initiatives to effectively contribute towards women’s socio-economic empowerment….. Read more