She stressed the importance of continuing to build partnerships and alliances among governments, international organizations, civil society organisations and youth groups to change negative gender stereotypes, and to protect women from the threats of armed conflicts, humanitarian crises and the waves of extremism ripping through the region. “Focus should also be given to women?s economic empowerment as a mean to fight poverty, and to engaging men and boys in the struggle for gender equality in the region,” she added.
Participating experts called for the mainstreaming of gender in all plans, policies and programmes, which are aimed at empowering, protecting and supporting refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs); the pursuing of practical targeted actions that address the needs and rights of women and girls and the engagement of men and boys as partners for gender equality.
The experts acknowledged the findings of the Global Study on Women, Peace and Security, which reported that the chance of a peace agreement lasting 15 years increases by as much as 35 per cent when women participate in the negotiations, Recalling the commitments made by Arab Member States in the Cairo Declaration for Arab Women and the Strategic Plan for Women Empowerment, as well as the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which calls for gender equality in all areas of public and private life and a commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the participants called on member states to create national mechanisms and develop national action plans to guarantee implementation of the Regional Strategy and Executive Action Plan on ?Protection of Arab Women: Peace and Security?.
They call upon member states to intensify cooperation with religious institutions to ensure women’s rights within Islam, as well as women?s rights in other religions practised in the MENA region; to protect women and girls from all forms of violence, particularly during wars and conflicts; to promote religious discourse which creates awareness; to ensure that women’s rights are protected in the family and society and to actively work toward a culture of peace and security.