Sat Sep 23 2017, 4:57:51 +03

Fifth OIC Ministerial Conference on Women’s Role in Development

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(Jeddah-AlummahWorld, Muharram 2, 1436, 26 Oct 2014) The Fifth Ministerial Conference on Women’s Role in Development of OIC Member States was held under the high patronage of First Lady of Azerbaijan, Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva, under the title “The Role of Women in Sustainable Development” in Baku, Azerbaijan on 20-21 October 2014. A welcoming message was delivered on behalf of the President of Azerbaijan H.E. Ilham Aliyev at the opening session on 20 October 2014. Then, Prof. Hijran Huseynova, Chairperson of the State Committee for family, Women and Children Affairs delivered the opening statement to the Conference in which she said that the main objective of the Conference is to strengthen the cooperation between the Member States of the OIC and to increase the active participation of women in the development of the society. She spoke of Azerbaijan’s achievements at promoting gender equality in employment, health, education, economic and social policy, as well as at addressing violence against women such as special funds for activities ensuring gender equality; a state program on poverty reduction and sustainable development which fully incorporates the gender component; and a law on the prevention of domestic violence; in addition to the increase in the participation of women in political life.

In his statement to the Conference, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani, stressed that despite the fact that throughout history Muslim women have been making significant contributions in various fields of professional and social activities such as business, civil service, policy making, social and family welfare, their role is frequently less-acknowledged and, at times, even neglected. There is a need to take steps for addressing this situation.

“Due acknowledgement of women’s role in the society and their empowerment is key to progress and development. On the other hand, when women are constrained by socio-cultural factors and their role is not duly acknowledged, it reflects negatively in every field of human endeavor,” said the Secretary General in his statement, which was read on his behalf by Assistant Secretary General for Science and Technology, Ambassador Naeem Khan.

The Conference comes at a time when the OIC is in the process of formulating a successor program to its Ten Year Program of Action (TYPOA), which ends next year. Mr. Madani urged the Conference to contribute significantly towards the articulation of a well-defined and realistic strategy for the advancement of women and greater recognition of their role in the development and progress of the society. “Let us dedicate our efforts to defining a futuristic vision, mission and plan of action for ensuring that women in Muslim countries are fully enabled to play a proactive role in addressing multidimensional challenges of our ever changing world,” he said.

Mr. Madani also underlined the need to review the implementation of the OIC Plan of Action for Advancement of Women (OPAAW), adopted in 2008, and bringing it in conformity with the current discourse under United Nations Post-2015 Agenda, mainly on issues related to sustainable development goals.

Mrs. Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director UN Women also made a statement at the opening of the Conference. She urged the governments of the Member States to demonstrate strong leadership and commitment to advance women’s rights and counter extremist agendas that are inimical to women’s rights; reach the most marginalized women and girls by tackling inequalities and discrimination; strengthening women’s and civil society organization to exert greater influence in policy decisions; and increase investment in gender equality and women’s empowerment. She added that UN Women looks forward to strengthened collaboration with the Member States and the OIC to advance rights and opportunities for all.

Mr. Heimo Lakkoneen Regional Director for UNFPA’s Eastern European and Central Asia focused in his statement on OIC-UNFPA cooperation on women’s health. He praised the decade of cooperation between OIC and UNFPA in addressing maternal mortality, women empowerment and youth promotion; and stressed on the need to work together on shared priorities for seeking women's safe access to health, education, public life and socio-economic opportunities.