New York – The UAE engaged in critical discussions as part of the 60th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, held from 14 to 24 March 2016. Topics of these discussions focused on gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as the impact of women on justice, humanitarian aid delivery, information communications technologies (ICTs), and sustainable development.

Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations, delivered keynote remarks on “Gender, Justice and Sustainable Development” at an event on 22 March hosted by the UAE in collaboration with private sector and UN partners. She highlighted the important role that gender equality and furthering women’s rights plays in achieving peaceful societies.

“While empowering women and achieving gender parity is one select element of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), women are also a force multiplier for achieving all of the goals and addressing problems long found intractable. In other words, empowering women is achieving the SDGs.”

 She also highlighted the UAE’s role in advancing women as leaders and decision-makers. “A key component of the UAE’s development strategy has been the engagement of women in the workforce and as leaders.” Ambassador Nusseibeh concluded her remarks by highlighting the necessity for cooperation between the public and private sectors in achieving Agenda 2030.

On 21 March, Jamal Musharakh, Deputy Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations, delivered keynote remarks on “Integrating Gender into Humanitarian Response” at an event the UAE co-organized with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Mr. Musharakh noted that the key to this agenda is recognizing the priority role that women play as leaders and decision-makers in humanitarian programming. He underlined the UAE’s national perspective on gender and humanitarian assistance. “Empowering women and promoting gender equality is at the core of peaceful and prosperous societies and should also be at the heart of humanitarian responses.”

Mr. Musharakh concluded his remarks by underscoring the importance of the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit as an opportunity to reform the humanitarian system to better protect, assist, and empower women and girls in emergencies.

Deputy Permanent Representative Musharakh also participated in a panel discussion on “Technology Empowering Women”. At the 24 March panel, he talked about the UAE’s national commitment to expanding women’s access and roles in ICTs. “The UAE has long recognized the potential of ICTs as a critical driver of development and our national experience has illustrated the potential of ICTs for innovation and economic transformation.”

Mr. Musharakh further emphasized the UAE’s commitment to bridging the digital gender gap at the national level, noting that the UAE’s early investment in encouraging women and girls to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields has been successful. “Today, more than half of UAE university graduates in STEM are women.”