Allow me to congratulate warmly the Women Development Organisation on its efforts in supporting women empowerment and development issues at the regional and international level.
Let me also extend an appreciation to the Government of Egypt for the outstanding efforts to launch the WDO here in Cairo last year. The recent establishment of the WDO is an important addition that will support the agenda of women rights in line with international commitments.
Gender equality is a core value of the European Union. It is a universally recognised human right that is imperative for the well-being, economic growth, prosperity, peace and security of any society. The European Union is a global front-runner in promoting women empowerment and integration in all spheres of sustainable and inclusive development. The EU legal and policy frameworks are anchored to international commitments, such as the Beijing Platform for Action, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, among others. In addition, the European Member States are part of the CEDAW and other international commitments.
In order to achieve its commitments toward gender equality and women empowerment, the European Union works with partners at different levels. The ‘European Union Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in External Action’ provides the EU with a policy framework for meeting international commitments and a world in which everyone has the space to thrive. In the framework of the EU Gender Action Plan, the European Union and its Member States are committed to promoting engagement with our partners at the bilateral, regional, and multilateral level, with a view to accelerate progress in gender equality and women empowerment through development cooperation and strengthened dialogue.
At the bilateral level in Egypt, the European Union has built a strategic partnership with the Government and has developed a fruitful cooperation with national and development partners, as well as with civil society. In Egypt, the European Union has worked with several partners, particularly with the National Council for Women, on issues like women’s economic empowerment, financial inclusion, prevention of gender-based violence, Female Genital Mutilation, women’s access to technical and vocational training, just to name a few.
The European Union is also working at the regional level in many parts of the world. In the Arab region, the European Union has cooperated with the League of Arab States, the Union for the Mediterranean, and it has supported networks of civil society, like the Anna-Lindh Foundation in the areas of women empowerment, women peace and security, and combating violence against women and girls.
At the global level, with a contribution of EUR 500 million by the European Union, the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative is the largest worldwide effort for supporting the elimination of violence against women and girls. We are currently discussing a country programme with Egypt that would be embedded in the Spotlight initiative.
We believe that achieving an impact through different interventions is greatly reliant on ensuring that the relevant enabling environment is in place. This should include the legislative and policy frameworks that well contribute to international commitments – such as CEDAW, among others.
This is why we highly welcome this workshop which aims at strengthening dialogue and capacities that well contribute to CEDAW commitments. On behalf of the European Union Delegation, I welcome more of these events and I would also welcome to consider sharing experience and best practises with gender equality and women empowerment.
Let me wish you a very successful and fruitful participation in this important workshop.
Source: EU in Lebanon