2016 Declaration

Recognizing that one cannot build sustainable peace on the basis of marginalization, exclusion and inequality
Noting that women have a catalytic role as agents of change and leaders in reconciliation, peacebuilding and countering violent extremism
Recognizing that engaging men and boys is a necessary means to challenge the structures, beliefs, practices, and institutions that sustain men’s privileges, as well as to address inequalities between women/girls and men/boys
Recognizing the positive potential of young people, both females and males, in promoting peace and security
Emphasizing that the adoption of the sustainable development agenda, with its dedicated goal on gender equality and the mainstreaming of gender equality across all 17 goals, demonstrates that development, human rights and peace and security are interdependent
Reiterating that civil society, including women´s organizations, plays an important and vital role in the sustainable and peaceful development of a community and country, and should be engaged in decision-making processes at all levels
Calling for mainstreaming gender in all plans, policies and programmes which are aimed at empowering, protecting and supporting refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs), and pursuing practical targeted action that addresses the needs and rights of women and girls, and by engaging men and boys as partners for gender equality
Acknowledging the findings of the Global Study on Women, Peace and Security, which found that the chances 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 call for gender equality in all areas of public and private life and a commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
Calling 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”
Call upon Member States to intensify cooperation with religious institutions to ensure women’s rights within Islam and ensure rights for women in other religions practised in MENA and to protect women and girls from all forms of violence, particularly during conflicts, to promote religious discourse which creates awareness and to ensure that women’s rights are protected in the family and society and actively work toward a culture of peace and security
Noting that extreme poverty and hunger could be eliminated by 2030 if between 9.5 and 13 per cent of global military spending was channeled to improve agriculture and rural infrastructure in poor communities
Noting that women and girls need to be included and specifically targeted in planning for economic recovery and resilience, with special consideration given to their needs regarding education, livelihoods, skills development, employment and access to resources, particularly for female-headed households and in light of socio-economic restrictions placed on women and girls
Recognizing the important role of women as agents of economic stabilization and growth, and that economic outcomes are more likely to be inclusive when women are involved
Reaffirming that “No action is not an option”, and that it takes governments, businesses, development partners, men, women and all actors to work in a coordinated and sustained partnership framework to realize inclusive and equitable peace and stability
Emphasizing that data show a persistent underinvestment in gender equality and women’s empowerment in humanitarian assistance, and calling on all donors to invest in women´s empowerment and leadership in emergencies and development

Policy Forum

Through a series of roundtable discussions, keynote speeches and dialogue between the participants and experts, the policy forum will highlight the importance of engaging in a meaningful conversation on the resilience of women and girls. The forum will bring out concrete recommendations for how the empowerment of women and girls can be strengthened through recognizing their agency in peacebuilding, economic recovery, livelihoods and leadership.

Youth Forum

The objective of the youth forum is to engage young women and men in a discourse on gender equality and to better understand the specific gender inequalities and dynamics that youth grapple with in the region.

The forum will include an audience of local/regional NGOs, international organisations working on youth issues, and university students from colleges of humanities and social sciences as well as other relevant fields of study. The forum will include many activities such as workshops, seminars and musical performance. The expected number of attendees for the youth forum is 1800 participants for two days.

About the Conference

The purpose of the conference is to highlight that women and girls need to be included and specifically targeted in planning for economic resilience. Special consideration must be given to their needs in education, livelihoods, skills training, employment, access to resources, in particular for female-headed households and in light of socio-economic restrictions placed on women and girls. Furthermore, research and practice has built an unquestionable evidence base showing that women’s participation in peace and security work strengthens the protection efforts of peacekeepers and peacemakers, improves efforts against radicalization and the spread of extremism, accelerates economic recovery through more diverse peace dividends, and exponentially increases the chances that peace will be sustainable over the long run.