Euro-Med Women’s Rights Conference, Nov 2016, Beirut

28 Nov 2016

The Euro-Med Women’s Rights ConferenceFrom the UfM Ministerial Conclusions to Gender equality Policy Making in the Euro-Med Region” organized by Euromed Feminist Initiative and supported by the European Union in the frame of the process Gender Regional Platformtook place on 28-29 November 2016 in hotel Crowne Plaza Beirut. Click Here to view the photo album. This process aims to contextualize the implementation of the UfM Ministerial Conclusions on women's rights (Paris 2013) in the on-going challenges in the region, to enhance regional cross sector co-operation through policy dialogue as well as exchange of best practices with existing networks and stakeholders in the Southern Neighborhood. This process involved over 600 representatives from women’s rights CSOs, CBOs, gender experts, academics and researchers came together, and decision makers and legislators in 6 national and 2 regional dialogues to analyze the changing context since the last Paris Ministerial Conference 2013, to discuss gender equality policy making and agree on national and regional priorities in the current context, in order to prepare concrete policy recommendations to the upcoming 4th UfM Ministerial Conference in 2017.

The Euro-Med Women’s Rights Conference discussed and finalized the Gender Regional Platform with policy recommendations accumulated through the dialogue process and created favorable conditions for a common work towards follow up and monitoring the implementation of the Ministerial Conclusions in the areas of discrimination against women and women’s participation and role in political and economic life, education, violence against women and ensuring freedom and independence of civil society. It was attended by over 100 participants from 22 countries from the Euro-Med Region. Representatives from civil society, media and academia, were joined by Ministries and representatives from ministries involved in the Ministerial Process, decision makers and political actors, as well as European Commission and European External Action Service UfM.

Euromed Conference

H.E. Ms. Alice Chaptini, Minister for Displaced Persons Lebanon, welcomed the conference participants to Lebanon and expressed her and her ministry commitment to women’s rights and empowerment of women especially in the present context of numerous challenges for people of the whole region.  

Panel of Euromed Conference in Lebanon

From left: Ms. Aéronique Aulagnon, Director of French Institute Lebanon, Mr. Jose-Luis Vinuesa-Santamaria, EU Delegation to Lebanon Ms. Imen Kalai, Director of Women’s Affairs Ministry of Women, Family and Children Tunisia, H.E. Ms. Alice Chaptini, Minister of Displaced Persons Lebanon, H.E. Mr Wajeeh Azaizeh, Minister of Social Development Jordan, Ms Lillian Halls- French, Co-President Euromed Feminist Initiative  

Mr. Jose-Luis Vinuesa-Santamaria, Head of Sustainable Development Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon forwarded the address of Ms. Irène Mingasson Head of Unit DG NEAR B/2 Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations-Regional Programmes Neighbourhood South, who emphasized that gender equality is a founding value of the EU and acknowledged the value of the participatory process undertaken by Euromed Feminist Initiative that led to this conference, as well in the formulation of policy recommendations. 

Mr. Azaizeh, Minister of Social Development Jordan, underlined that the increased violence and extremism that characterizes the present context affects women the most because it forced many to return home and abandon their workplaces. Therefore he emphasized, “We need to study carefully the situation in order to fight it to restore women’s rights in the area”.

Ms. Lilian Halls French, co-president of the Euromed Feminist Initiative, called for strong policy recommendations to support gender equality policies to be adopted at the ministerial meeting of next year and underlined the need to develop stronger international solidarity to lobby against discriminatory laws and violations against women in general.

In her address to the conference sent via video, Ms. Néziha Labidi, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Family and Children, Republic of Tunisia underlined that elimination of all forms of violence against women is among the priorities for the ministry and stressed the importance of having a comprehensive and participation approach to fighting violence against women as new data shows the increase of violence in Tunisia. She greeted the participants and expressed her commitment to continue the cooperation with the civil society.   

Minister of women's affairs

H.E. Ms. Néziha Labidi, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Family and Children, Republic of Tunisia

Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs and Minister of State of Jordan, Mr. Maaytah discussed social barriers that hinders women’s progress and emphasized that “social development depends on women’s empowerment and education as a whole”. 

From left to right: Ms Boriana Jonsson, Euromed Feminist Initiative, H.E. Ms. Delphin Borione, Deputy Secretary General UfM, H.E. Mr. Musa Maaytah, Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Jordan,   H.E. Ambassador Wafaa Bassim, National Council of Women Egypt, Ms Imen Kalai, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Family and Children, Tunisia.

Boriana Jönsson, the executive director of the Euromed Feminist Initiative, underlined that the conference is a strong contribution to the whole dialogue process of the civil society with decision makers on how to translate the Ministerial Conclusion into policy action and how to make next year’s ministerial meeting focus on concrete measures by the governments, using lessons learned and sharing of best practices in the region through this process.

Member of Parliament of Croatia, former first deputy of the Prime Minister and former minister of foreign and European affairs Ms. Vesna Pusic said that implementation of the human rights of women and gender equality is a gain for the whole society. 

Women's Rights Conference

From left to right: Mr. Ameer Alkinani - Legal Advisor President of Iraq, Ms. Zita Hernandez, Judge, Founding Member of the Association of Spanish Women Judges, Spain, Dr. Ibrahim Draji, Professor of International Law, Damascus, H.E. Ms. Vesna Pusic, MP, Croatia, Former First Deputy Prime Minister, Former Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Ms. Neila Chaabane, President of Tunisian Association of Constitutional Law, Former State Secretary of Women’s Affairs.

The conference highlighted once more that a dialogue with decision makers and legislators, initiated by the civil society and in particular by women’s rights organizations, is crucial for creating policies that address gender gaps and discrimination. The Gender Regional Platform with final policy recommendations for the 4th UfM Ministerial Conference on women’s rights will be transmitted to all relevant ministries of the 43 countries of the UfM together with the report from the conference. This document will also be sent to the secretariat of UfM.    

In the media:

Article by Almustaqbal (Arabic) 

Video by LBC Group (Arabic)

Article by National News Agency (Arabic)

Article by The Jordan Times (English)

Article by Women's News Agency(Arabic)

Article by tripoliscope (Arabic)

Article by El Arabi Elyom (Arabic)

Article by AlDostor (Arabic)

Article by Nour News (Arabic)

Article by Ahrar News (Arabic)

To view Euro-Med Women’s Rights Conference photo album  Click Here