Med: UfM restarts after hiatus, with focus on women's rights

Ministerial summit in Paris Sept. 11-12, against Syria backdrop

11 September, 11:41

    Med: UfM restarts after hiatus, with focus on women's rights Med: UfM restarts after hiatus, with focus on women's rights

    (ANSAmed) - PARIS - After a two-year hiatus, ministers from the 43-member Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) will gather in a September 11-12 conference on the rights of women in the post-Arab Spring scenario and its bloody aftermath.

    Sexual and reproductive rights, street harassment, making cities safe for women, and the role of female entrepreneurs in economy and development will be on the agenda, which organizers said is one of debate but also of practical commitments to be taken in order to relaunch the UfM, with a donors' conference to be held in March. Ideas include creating a trans-Mediterranean network of promising young women and a foundation for Euro-Mediterranean women, with an observatory and research lab on gender rights. Focusing on practical and concrete aspects will hopefully be the basis for restarting cooperation between the two Mediterranean shores after the tumultuous years of the Maghreb and Middle Eastern uprisings, which have left the region in a state of political and social disorder.

    The only way to face up to the post-crisis period is to be ready to work together, beyond prejudices and stereotypes, and in a way that ''privileges the continuity of states'' over that of political regimes, French diplomatic sources said.

    The task is overshadowed by the ongoing civil war in Syria, whose developments are impossible to predict: accordingly, a meeting on the condition of women in Syria will be held on UfM sidelines, with eyewitness testimonies and teleconferences with activists, local journalists and humanitarian workers.

    National Syrian Coalition Vice President Souheir al-Atassi, voicing the opposition's commitment to the situation of women, is expected to attend. The UfM is a multilateral partnership of 28 member states from the European Union and 15 Mediterranean partner countries from North Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans. Founded in 2008, its aim is to promote stability and prosperity throughout the Mediterranean region. (ANSAmed).

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