UAE Gender Balance Council, World Bank explore cooperation to enhance women's economic participation

World Bank official praises UAE’s progress in advancing gender balance and supporting the economic empowerment of women

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A Staff Reporter

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UAE Gender Balance Council officials meet World Bank officials on the sidelines of World Government Summit in Dubai. — Wam
UAE Gender Balance Council officials meet World Bank officials on the sidelines of World Government Summit in Dubai. — Wam

Published: Wed 15 Feb 2023, 12:25 AM

The UAE Gender Balance Council (UAE GBC) held a meeting with the World Bank to discuss cooperation to enhance women’s economic participation in the region.

The meeting formed part of the council's World Government Summit engagements and activities held under the patronage of Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council.


During the meeting, Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Vice-President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, and Ferid Belhaj, Vice-President of the World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa, discussed new avenues to strengthen knowledge exchange and closer collaboration to achieve their common objectives.

The two organisations have established a robust framework of cooperation as part of which they established the “UAE Gender Balance Centre for Excellence and Knowledge Exchange”, a regional centre for promoting the development of gender balance expertise in the region.


Al Marri said the UAE Gender Balance Council is committed to building global partnerships to advance women’s empowerment and gender balance, especially with countries and organisations that have significant expertise in the domain, as per the directives of Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed to undertake initiatives to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 5.

She said the UAE GBC’s strong ties with the World Bank are demonstrated by the significant joint events and initiatives they have undertaken.

The World Bank provided technical advice for a number of UAE Gender Balance Council projects and jointly organised a session titled “Empowering Women for a Better Economy”, on the sidelines of last year’s World Government Summit, focused on discussing the positive impact of gender balance in the educational, economic, social and political spheres.

Mona Al Marri and Ferid Belhaj discussed ways to maximise the impact of the “UAE Gender Balance Centre for Excellence and Knowledge Exchange” by holding regular workshops and programmes on raising women’s economic participation and increasing the proportion of women in leadership positions in vital sectors such as energy and climate.

The 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), to be held in the UAE, will contribute to raising awareness about the role of diversity and inclusiveness in advancing prosperity, sustainable development and social stability.

The two sides affirmed their keenness to further enhance cooperation in many fields, including organising forums, developing programmes and conducting studies to resolve challenges and promote best practices in the fields of gender balance, energy, climate and capacity building. The two sides agreed to jointly organise a series of high-level sessions during COP28 under the umbrella of the “UAE Gender Balance Centre for Excellence and Knowledge Exchange”.

Ferid Belhaj praised the UAE’s progress in advancing gender balance and supporting the economic empowerment of women. He said the UAE has set an inspiring example for the world in advancing gender balance in various spheres. Its achievements are validated by the top rank it achieved for two consecutive years in the Middle East and North Africa region in the “Women, Business and the Law” report issued annually by the World Bank. The UAE achieved a full score (100 points) in five main pillars of the report: freedom of movement, workplaces, wages, entrepreneurship, and pension.

He highlighted the role of the “UAE Gender Balance Centre for Excellence and Knowledge Exchange” in supporting global efforts to achieve sustainable development.


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