The National Council for Women, Damietta Governorate and UN Women Egypt Participate in Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces Global Leaders’ Forum in Ecuador


Cairo, 7 December 2023- The National Council for Women (NCW), Damietta Governorate and UN Women Egypt participated in UN Women’s Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces Global Leaders’ Forum (sixth edition) in Quito, which aiming at advancing the international knowledge base and programme action on ending sexual harassment and creating safe cities and public spaces for women and girls worldwide through highlighting the main lessons learned and supporting new partnerships.

The global forum, taking place from 28-30 November, was attended by Ms. Amal Tawfik; Director of NCW’s Women’s Complaints Office; General Mohamed Raafat, Secretary General of Damietta Governorate; and Dr. Salma Nasser; Ending Violence against Women Programme Specialist, UN Women Egypt.

The forum provided an opportunity to showcase Egypt’s experience in developing public spaces and to share best practices and lessons learns in that field. Egypt was among thirty-one countries participating in the forum, with Damietta being declared as one of the twenty-nine cities globally committed to the Global Commitment to Accelerate Action: Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces. The global commitment is made by mayors and representatives of local governments to declare that it is their cities' priority to ensure safe, sustainable, healthy and inclusive cities and communities that promote gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls.

Cairo was one of the five founding/pilot cities in which the flagship initiative was rolled out globally in 2011 through the support of Government of Spain. The first phase of the programme in Egypt ran for 8 years through the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and then expanded to the Governorates of Damietta and Alexandria with the support of the Kingdom of Netherlands.

Ms. Amal Tawfik, Director of the NCW’s Women’s Complaints office, presented Egypt’s experience in the development of essential services for women survivors and the development of the national referral system which culminated in the launch of a One-Stop-Shop for survivors of violence. Ms. Tawfik also explained that the Safe Cities programme was instrumental in enhancing the capacities of multiple stakeholders – both government and civil society- to translate this newly adopted policy framework on the ground including prosecution responses to violence against women and provision of support and protection of survivors. This in turn resulted in an unprecedented momentum in the roll out of services for survivors of violence – among the most prominent of which are the NCW’s Women’s Complaints Office which offers free-of-charge legal assistance and aid for over 30,000 women every year. In addition, Ms. Tawfik stressed that the National Council for Women continues its role, in partnership with UN Women, in supporting the national efforts to create decent and safe public spaces for women and girls, in line with the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030.

During the forum, General Mohamed Raafat, the Secretary General of the Damietta Governorate, shared lessons learnt on SDG localization from the award-winning Damietta Safe Cities work. In his remarks, General Rafaat highlighted that the Damietta Safe Space is accessed by an average of 2,000 beneficiaries each month and has served as a hub for women to develop their local business and acquire skills and knowledge. General Rafaat also added that Damietta received the UNESCO Learning City Award in 2021 for outstanding progress in providing lifelong learning opportunities in part due to the Women Friendly Space.

During her participation at the forum, Dr. Salma Nasser, EVAW Programme Specialist at UN Women, gave an overview of the results of the Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces programme. Dr. Nasser highlighted that the programme supported the national efforts to develop a supportive legal and policy framework. Dr. Nasser also outlined the community engagement and capacity development efforts for service providers nationwide as well as investments in the safety and economic viability of public spaces including the redesign of the country’s first market using an approach that creates a safe space for women vendors and customers.

For more information, please contact:

  • Azza Abdelhai; General Manager of Media Department, the National Council for Women at [ Click to reveal ]
  • Maha Rateb; Communication and Advocacy Analyst, UN Women Egypt at [ Click to reveal ]