UCLG-MEWA Committee on Gender Equality Presidency Meeting was held in Beylikdüzü, Istanbul on February 4, 2020. The meeting was the first meeting of the committee presidency, which was elected at the UCLG-MEWA Congress on 9-10 July 2019. Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality, Beit Jala Municipality and Beyarmudu Municipality attended the meeting which was held under the auspices of Beylikdüzü Municipality, President of the Committee.

Starting with the evaluation of women’s participation at the local level within the MEWA region, the meeting continued with the sharing of the policies developed by cities and local governments on gender equality. The importance of cities to take a more active role to ensure gender equality and inter-city collaborations was emphasized. Moreover, it was stressed during the meeting that one of the United Nations’ goals for 2030 was to ensure Gender Equality.

Stating that women’s participation should be facilitated in all fields, and equality of opportunity was a supra-political issue, Mehmet Murat Çalık, Mayor of Beylikdüzü, mentioned that the most affected by the conflicts in this geography were women. Çalık said, “Local governments should take women’s issues into consideration. In order to ensure gender equality, it is necessary to provide equality of opportunity rather than only setting up gender quotas.”

Within the framework of the discussed 2020-2022 strategic plan, the needs, priorities and areas of action of the UCLG-MEWA Committee on Gender Equality were determined. In regards to the Commitment on the Localization of Sustainable Development Goal 5 developed within the scope of the Committee, it was expressed that a common commitment should be established with stakeholders, and monitoring and evaluation institutions should be included in the process. In order to realize gender equality, it was decided to encourage local governments to establish institutional mechanisms within municipalities, through a call and a common calendar.

It was decided to include health and violence issues in the Committee’s policy paper, a document reflecting the committee’s political stance and position in relation to global agendas. In addition, it was stated that the concept of gender equality should be expressed as building a more inclusive culture.It was emphasized by the participants that a greater number of local governments should be reached for gender equality, and goals could be achieved with a joint road map with the committee members.

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