SHARJAH, 4th October 2016 (WAM) – The Big Heart Foundation in collaboration with UN Women, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women will organize the second edition of ‘Investing in the Future’ (IIFMENA) Conference exemplifying the approach embraced by the UAE and its exemplary leadership to enhance cooperation with international organisations to reinforce the status of women and to provide them with support in all domains.

The Sharjah-based international humanitarian body dedicated to helping the vulnerable and people in need worldwide has reiterated that productive relationships are one of the most important success factors for programmes and projects designed to enhance women’s status in society.

“The existence of a wide range of partners who make outstanding contributions to their respective sectors contributes widely to finding shared commitments and facilitates the task of translating these commitments into clear action plans that accelerate progress in areas of common interest,” Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of ‘Salam Ya Seghar,’ an initiative from The Big Heart Foundation, said, “We are delighted with this strategic partnership with the most important international UN agency dedicated to the empowerment of women, which has a clear mandate in this area.

UN Member States, thanks to UN Women’s ongoing support, have managed to make promising steps in accelerating the United Nations goals on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Through this partnership, we look forward to providing more opportunities that contribute to enhancing women’s role and status globally.”

“In a world where conflict, poverty, political turmoil and humanitarian crises are affecting millions, women are of paramount importance to sustain communities that may be fractured and engage as agents of change. Women’s rights are an integral part of societies’ needs; our work towards gender equality and women’s empowerment sustain and support those rights, seeing them as an essential path to peace and development,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director.

She noted that UN Women’s support for the IIFMENA conference is part of joint action with The Big Heart Foundation and NAMA Women Advancement Establishment to launch collaborative projects and initiatives for women’s empowerment.

The Big Heart Foundation and UN Women seek to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment, and change the negative indicators and statistics on women in the region and the world. UN statistics show that 37% of women in the Arab States region have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime and nearly six out of every ten women survivors of violence worldwide refrain from asking for support or protection. Those that do speak about their experiences talk only to family or friends. UN statistics also show that women and girls constitute 70% of all known victims of human trafficking globally.

International agreements such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 in China) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) are milestones in the history of women’s rights. While there has been significant progress over the last few decades in terms of legislative reforms and women’s education and economic empowerment, participation and leadership, many gaps still remain for women and girls globally.

UN Women, currently the lead agency on gender equality and the empowerment of women within the UN system, supports inter-governmental bodies like the Commission on the Status of Women in their formulation of global policies, practices and norms. In working to advance women’s rights, UN Women supports Member States to implement global standards through the provision of the required technical and financial support where needed. UN Women works in 89 country offices around the world, liaison offices in Belgium, Denmark, Japan, UAE and Switzerland, to remove barriers to equal opportunities for women and girls and to support efforts to ensure that laws and commitments on gender equality and women’s empowerment are fully implemented.

The organization works through a network of programmes, offices and partnerships with national civil society organizations and women machineries as well as with international and regional organizations and research institutions.

WAM/bashir