DOHA, The 29th Ministerial Council of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) adopted the Doha Declaration following a three-day ministerial roundtables, held here from 13th to 15th December, on challenges facing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the Arab States, the impact of conflict and occupation on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and supporting member states in the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Methods and Tools.

Ministers and high-level officials representing the member countries of the United Nations ESCWA gathered in the Qatari capital of Doha to take part in ESCWA 29th Ministerial Session titled "The Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Arab States."

Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Economic Affairs, led the UAE delegation to the meeting.

According to him, ESCWA's bi-annual and highest decision-making forum is gaining paramount importance, given the current regional and international circumstances, which call for enhancing efforts to realise social and economic developments in the Arab states, and sharing information, best practices and successful lessons learnt to bolster regional co-operation and interaction with other parts of the world.

''The UAE is ready to boost co-operation with the ESCWA member states to launch new initiatives and visions to strengthen regional co-operation so as to serve mutual interests,'' Al Shehi added.

The Diplomatic Corps accredited to Qatar, representatives of the United Nations agencies and programmes, delegates of UN member countries who are not members of ESCWA, delegates of regional and international non-governmental organisations, delegates of donor institutions and foundations, and a large number of regional and international experts also took part in the event.

The Doha meeting also focussed on gender mainstreaming in public institutions and achieving social justice in the Arab region, from concept and vision to policy and practice. The ESCWA is implementing a project entitled "Gender mainstreaming in public institutions" to enable national women's machineries in the Arab countries to face numerous challenges that lie ahead in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality and ensuring empowerment of women and girls, as well as realising the goals set by the Beijing Platform for Action. The project specifically aims to support the region's institutions in upholding gender equality, based on the success of the ESCWA in implementing the United Nations System-wide Action Plan (UN-SWAP) on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women.

Al Shehi said the UAE has rich experience in women's empowerment and bolstering the role of women in national development.

''The UAE has taken long strides towards the empowerment of women through the creation of a favourable, encouraging legislative framework and establishment of institutions for development and training of women,'' he explained.

Due to the unlimited support from the government on this issue, women are now taking up senior and leadership roles, he noted.

The Report of the Executive Secretary on the activities of ESCWA since the last session, including the follow-up on the "Tunis Declaration" and other decisions taken by the 28th Session, as well as the draft Strategic Framework for the biennium 2018-2019, had been discussed as well.

ESCWA is one of the five UN regional commissions. The 18-member organisation provides a framework for the formulation and harmonisation of sectoral policies for member countries, a platform for congress and co-ordination, a home for expertise and knowledge, and an information observatory. It aims to support economic and social co-operation among the countries of the region and promote development processes in order to achieve regional integration.

Source: Emirates News Agency