Joint Press Release: Under the Auspices of the Ministry of International Cooperation, UN Women and UNFPA sign agreements with KOICA to Enhance Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

Date: Monday, June 28, 2021

Courtesy of Ministry of International Cooperation.

High level representatives from Ministry of International Cooperation, Ministry of Youth and Sports, National Council for Women, Embassy of Korea in Egypt, UNFPA, and UN Women Egypt during the signing ceremony of the Multilateral Cooperation Program for Gender Equality in Egypt.

Cairo, June 28 2021- The Ministry of International Cooperation (MOIC) hosted today the signing ceremony of the Korea International Cooperation Agency’s (KOICA) 2021-2024 Multilateral Cooperation Program for Gender Equality in Egypt, to be implemented in collaboration with UN Women and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Council for Women.

This program comes in light of the Korean Government’s earlier announcement to designate Egypt as an official development assistance (ODA) priority partner country during the period of 2021-2025. The signing ceremony brought together Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Ashraf Sobhy, Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women, H.E. Ambassador Hong Jin-Wook, Korean Ambassador to Egypt, Ms. Frederika Meijer, Representative, UNFPA Egypt, Ms. Germaine Haddad, Assistant Representative, UNFPA, Ms. Christine Arab, Country Representative, UN Women Egypt, Ms.Gielan El-Messiri, Deputy Country Representative, UN Women Egypt and Mr. OH Yeon Keum, Country Director, KOICA.

The Multilateral Cooperation Program includes the “Women’s Economic Empowerment in Egypt” project, implemented by UN Women in partnership with the National Council for Women. The aim of this project is to enhance women’s economic empowerment by facilitating decent job opportunities, access to skills development and advocacy for creating an enabling environment in the community and the private sector through the implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). The targeted governorates through this project are Beni Suef, Alexandria and Greater Cairo, and particular focus will be given to young women’s access to jobs.

The program also includes the “Preventing and Combating Gender Based Violence in Egypt” project, implemented by UNFPA in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Council for Women. This project focuses on strengthening national protection and response systems and institutions in addressing gender-based violence and harmful practices, as well as enhancing youth-led community awareness and knowledge around combating gender-based violence and harmful practices.

To ensure a coherent and comprehensive approach, the UNFPA project will target the three governorates targeted by UN Women in addition to the governorates of Assiut, Qena, Sohag and Mansoura. 

In her remarks, Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, highlighted the importance of the agreements signed between multilateral and bilateral development partners, which reflect a realistic example of integration and coordination between development partners, with the aim of supporting the state’s developmental vision focusing on empowering women, achieving equal opportunities for both genders, and promoting women’s participation in development as a key player in society and a major player in development plans which lead to accelerating the pace of achieving the fifth sustainable development goal related to gender equality.

The Minister has also stressed that social inclusion and providing equal opportunity for women and men is the only way to achieve sustainable economic growth, a better future and a more comprehensive economic and social environment in which everyone enjoys a decent standard of living, explaining that global studies have proven that women’s participation in the labor market in Egypt, being equal with men, increases gross domestic product (GDP) by 34%.

During his speech, the Minister of Youth and Sports praised the fruitful cooperation between the ministry and the various concerned institutions within the integrated framework which aims at enhancing women's economic empowerment and working on skills development through the implementation of several joint programs and projects that meet the objectives of cooperation and provide all services to Egyptian women.

Dr. Ashraf Sobhy highlighted the ministry's cooperation with UNFPA, and the implementation of many projects with the aim of expanding the concept of sports practice, giving more opportunities for women in sports and empowering them, providing services to women and developing their skills, noting that this comes within the framework of the ministry's strategy, which aims to open up prospects for cooperation and investment with international institutions and organizations that seek to support youth and sports projects.

In her remarks, Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women, expressed her pleasure to witness today the signing of two joint cooperation agreements to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in Egypt between UN Women, UNFPA, and the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), noting that the two agreements are very important as they tackle two of the most important issues that the Egyptian state gives great importance to, namely women’s economic empowerment and the elimination of violence against women in Egypt. The National Council for Women also pays great attention to these issues in light of the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030, which was developed by the Council and approved by the President of the Republic, which stems from Egypt’s Vision 2030.

Dr. Maya also stressed on the importance of coordinating efforts between national institutions and development partners for the advancement of Egyptian women and their empowerment in all fields, explaining that the Egyptian women’s agenda has witnessed great progress over the past years at all levels, in light of the political leadership’s support for women with conviction and faith, as it considers women’s empowerment a national duty, noting that the real development of Egypt will not be achieved without strengthening the participation of women, advancing, protecting and enabling them to play their role to the fullest.

Concluding her remarks, the President of the Council praised the joint and fruitful cooperation with the Ministry of International Cooperation, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, UN Women, UNFPA, and the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in working on many issues of common concern.

“I am excited to announce the opening of a new chapter of development cooperation between Korea and Egypt along with valuable UN partners in the year when Egypt has become one of the priority partner country in terms of development cooperation. Korea now has become a partner of the Egyptian government in combating gender-based violence and harmful practices as well as boosting women’s economic capability. I have no doubt that today’s partnership will be the significant cornerstone in building up the mutual relationship in various social and economic agendas between the two countries” stated H.E Ambassador Hong Jin-Wook.

“KOICA has been making strenuous efforts for gender equality and women empowerment in many of our partner countries and in 2019, KOICA launched 'Fill the GAP Initiative' to exclusively support the SDG 5. I am very glad to have a chance to implement this initiative in Egypt as the first cooperation for gender equality in MENA region. I hope this meaningful cooperation will boost KOICA's contribution to national efforts for gender equality and development partnership as a whole” stated Mrs. Baek Sook Hee, KOICA’s Vice President through her video message.

““Zero gender-based violence and harmful practices is central to UNFPA’s upcoming strategic plan and we are looking forward for KOICA’s support to this goal, and we are grateful for our partnerships with the Ministry of International Cooperation, the National Council for Women and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.” stated Ms. Frederika Meijer, UNFPA Representative in Egypt.

 “Women’s economic empowerment is crucial for achieving gender equality. Through the new programme signed today, UN Women will strengthen opportunities to support Egyptian women’s – including young women’s – access to decent employment. The programme is grounded in Egypt’s vision that women’s protected and sustained employment in competitive markets is a crucial driver to Egypt’s national economic growth. Economically active women have greater decision-making in the home and community, positively impacting their own and their family’s wellbeing.” stated Ms. Christine Arab, Country Representative, UN Women Egypt.

The efforts to be exerted through the Multilateral Cooperation Program are in line with the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030, particularly the three pillars on economic empowerment, social empowerment and protection.

The program contributes to the operationalization of the recently endorsed policy reforms in April 2021 by the Prime Minister in the areas of providing adequate response to violence against women in the workplace and the importance of coordinated response to survivors of violence. It also contributes to the findings of the Report on the 2015-2020 National Strategy to Eliminate Violence against Women, which highlights strengthening of the national referral pathway, the enhancement of integrated protection and response service delivery and the importance of behavioral change campaigns.

Additionally, it contributes to Egypt’s “Closing Gender Gap Accelerator,” a national platform and action plan under the broader World Economic Forum’s initiative, and led by the Ministry of International Cooperation, in partnership with the National Council for Women. The Accelerator is a platform, fostering greater public-private sector partnership to advance women’s economic empowerment in the country. The Accelerator’s focus includes, but is not limited to, equipping women for a post-COVID job market, closing the gender wage and pay gap between and within sectors, increasing women’s participation rates in the labor force and strengthening the effort for more women to advance into managerial and leadership roles.

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