Manama : Bahrain’s women empowerment efforts got a huge boost yesterday with the opening of the Kingdom’s first UN Women Programme Office at the United Nations House, Manama.
“Today is a historic day for Bahraini women; not only did we celebrate Bahraini women’s day last week but we opened the UN Women Programme Co-ordination Office, which is a huge milestone in its own,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director told DT News after inaugurating the representative office.
The opening of the representative office follows the signing of the memorandum between the UN Women and the Supreme Council for Women.
Hala Al Ansari, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Women, Shaikha Rana Isa Duaij AlKhalifa, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Amin El Sharkawi, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative were present at the launch.
The office will oversee HRH Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Global Award for Women Empowerment launched, last march, in New York.
Pledging to work towards ending violence against women, Mlabo-Ngcuka said: “We had been working here for the past years, but now we have formally launched our work within our office.” “We are focusing on gender-responsive budgeting and most importantly ending violence against women.”
She made clear that the UN office will take an active role in supporting the government of Bahrain as part of a UN plan focusing on women’s economic empowerment. “We are focusing on main streaming gender with a focal point on every Ministry.”
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka also pointed out that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been working for the past couple of years to get membership in both the Commission on the Status Of Women and the UN Women Executive Board. “Presently, we are members for two years from 2017 to 2019 for the UN Women Executive Board and members of the CSW from the years of 2017 up until 2021.”
“This came after the elections that were held just last year where its the first time that the Kingdom becomes a member and gets these nominations on these profile positions,” she added.
When asked about the significance of the launch, Hala Al-Ansari told DT News that the office will support national efforts to make Bahrain a global centre for women’s support and provide more platforms for cooperation with international experts on women’s issues.
The move, Hala Al-Ansari said, reaffirms the “success of the Supreme Council for Women’s efforts under the leadership of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of the King of Bahrain.”
“Bahrain has done a lot for women in the country and I believe that this exchange of experiences and dialogue will set Bahrain as an example for other countries and would further provide the Kingdom good platform to work on,” Dr Shaikha Rana Isa Duaij Al Khalifa, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told DT News.
Commenting on the launch, Amin El Sharkawi, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative said, “It is an honour to be part of the UN Women’s Programme Office in Bahrain as this occasion is a recognition of Bahrain efforts and achievements in the advancement of women empowerment.”
El Sharkawi added: “The UN Women is one of 16 UN agencies that joined this effort to support Bahrain attaining its development objectives and the SDGs 2030. Moreover, the United Nation office is looking forward to working together as a UN partner in many different and interesting projects to support and empower Bahraini women in the Kingdom.”