UfM regional policy dialogue and preparation of the next UfM Ministerial Conference on Women’s Empowerment – Advancing the gender equality agenda in the Mediterranean region
The Intergovernmental process
In the last Ministerial Declaration on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society in Paris in 2013, the 43 UfM Ministers committed to promoting equal participation of women in political, economic, civil and social life, to increasing their participation in economic and policy decision-making processes, and to combating all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls.
The UfM Ministers also agreed to establish a follow-up mechanism to review the progress achieved in the implementation of commitments taking into account the outcome of consultations with civil society and to prepare a progress report which will contribute to preparations for the next Ministerial Conference.
The UfM Senior Officials launched in 2015 the first regional dialogue process on women’s empowerment as a multi-stakeholder forum for regional dialogue and cooperation to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Mediterranean region. The platform will monitor the progress achieved in the UfM ministerial commitments and will facilitate the exchange of information, experiences, best practices and opportunities between governments and key players involved in the field of gender equality and women’s empowerment. The initiative aims at increasing consistency and complementarity between actions and exploring ways to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of all stakeholders in order to increase their impact and also advance the gender equality agenda in the Mediterranean region.
Four areas of work were identified related to the Ministerial declaration’s priorities:
- Increase women’s participation in economic life.
- Improve women’s access to leadership and decision-making positions.
- Combat violence against women and gender-based violence.
- Dispel stereotypes through education and culture.
Progress will be assessed through working group meetings, one for each thematic priority, which are open to all UfM members and key stakeholders in the region. A final progress report will be produced in 2016 and will feed into the conclusions of the next UfM Ministerial Conference on women’s empowerment.
The progress report will take into account the contributions of civil society organisations.
The forthcoming working groups meeting will be held on 21-22 April in Barcelona.
Civil society process
A regional civil society roundtable “From the UfM Ministerial Conclusions on strengthening the role of women in society to gender equality policy making in the Euro-Mediterranean region” was organised on 3 February 2016 in Amman, Jordan, by the Euromed Feminist Initiative IFE-EFI. This meeting constituted the first regional roundtable among other national and regional civil society meetings which will be organised during 2016 in the framework of a regional project funded by the European Union and implemented by the Euromed Feminist Initiative IFE-EFI. The objective of this process is to implement a civil society follow-up process on the Paris Ministerial Conference, aiming at providing a common platform for dialogue and exchange of best practices on utilising the ministerial conclusions as a major policymaking tool for advancing the gender equality agenda in the region.
The round table was hosted by the Ministry of Social Development in Jordan and gathered representatives from Ministries of Social Development from Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Palestine, the Union for the Mediterranean Secretariat, EU Embassies, representatives from the European Parliament and the European Commission, together with civil society partners and gender equality and legal experts.