Mona Al Marri
Mona Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, during the UN Security Council Arria-Formula meeting. Image Credit: DMO

Dubai: The UAE Gender Balance Council participated in key meetings and sessions held at the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York.

The Council was also part of a meeting of the UN Security Council, and a session on women’s empowerment in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, jointly organised by the GCC and the UAE.

This active engagement of the Council in these meetings is in line with the directives of Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council (UAE GBC), wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court, to strengthen the Council’s global partnerships.

According to Government of Dubai Media Office, thee efforts also support the worldwide initiative to accelerate the achievement of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, with a particular focus on Goal 5, which is dedicated to empowering all women and girls.

The UAE has been at the forefront of formulating and adopting these goals, demonstrating its commitment to promoting gender equality on both a local and global scale.

Women, security and peace

Mona Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, participated in the UN Security Council Arria-Formula meeting focused on strengthening cooperation between the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Women, Peace and Security Framework.

In her address, Mona Al Marri emphasised the UAE’s strong commitment to leveraging the key principles of the international framework for women, peace, and security to ensure the protection of women’s rights and foster their full, equal, and meaningful participation in both public and private sectors. Further, she stressed the importance of creating a flexible and sustainable international framework for safeguarding and promoting women’s rights globally.

She touched on the efforts of the UAE in this regard. In 2017, the UAE established a national committee for sustainable development goals to implement the 2030 plan at the national level. She emphasised that the current session and its productive discussions once again demonstrate that the international community has laid down a robust framework. This foundation is essential for promoting the full, equal, and meaningful engagement of women in social roles.

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GCC achievements

The UAE Gender Balance Council also participated in a high-level session sponsored by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) under the title ‘Closing the Gap: Women’s Empowerment in the GCC Region’, which focused on the progress achieved by countries in the region in the field of gender balance and women’s empowerment, as well as challenges and future trends. The meeting, which featured several inspiring female personalities, provided an opportunity to highlight the tremendous advancements witnessed in the GCC region in the field of women’s empowerment. It also provided a platform for sharing expertise and experiences between them.

The Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council highlighted the council’s major achievements and the key projects it has implemented since its establishment in 2015 to enhance gender balance in all sectors of the country. She also noted the council’s efforts to develop principles and policies to prevent gender-based violence through digital applications, as well as a draft policy for gender balance in the Fourth Industrial Revolution era and a gender-responsive federal budget.

Programme for women and girls

During the session, Mona Al Marri highlighted the UAE’s experience in supporting and empowering women. She stressed that the UAE, since its founding, has laid solid foundations to ensure the empowerment of women and girls under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, (Mother of the Nation), President of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation. The implementation of many national programmes and specific initiatives focused on granting women their full right to obtain education and balanced and fair opportunities in all fields are evidence of this robust foundation.

She said: “The UAE is committed to pursuing a comprehensive programme aimed at supporting women and girls, particularly the most vulnerable groups such as low-income women, widows, divorcees, the elderly, and people of determination. Legislative updates and policy implementations have been prioritised to strengthen family cohesion and ensure access to opportunities without compromising their vital roles within their families.”

Cooperation with UN Women

On the sidelines of the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, Mona Al Marri met with Sima Sami Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women. They explored cooperation to enhance gender balance and ways to overcome the challenges associated with advancing women’s empowerment in order to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 5 to empower all women and girls worldwide.