Women at the heart of stability and development: the UfM at the Bled Strategic Forum 2019

In the framework of an official visit to Slovenia, UfM Secretary General Nasser Kamel was invited to address the 14th Bled Strategic Forum, a platform for high-level strategic dialogue among leaders from the private and public sectors on key issues of the 21st century. Held on 2-3 September 2019 under the title ‘(Re)sources of (In)stability’, this edition was dedicated to discussing the role of (re)sources regarding peace and security, sustainable development and economic progress.

Secretary General Kamel took part of the panel discussion entitled ‘(Re)sources in Women’s Hands: Tapping the Potential’, moderated by the Slovenian Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Simona Leskovar, with notably the participation of the Deputy Secretary General of the OECD, Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, and the Chairperson of Interpeace and former Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Monica McWilliams. During the discussion, SG Kamel underlined the importance of monitoring progress on gender equality to bridge the gap between the legislative advancements and the reality on the ground, recalling the significance of the follow-up mechanism of the Cairo Declaration currently developed by the UfM Secretariat.

“Gender equality is not only a matter of concern for women. It must mobilize all parts of society, stressed Secretary General Kamel. There is an agreement on what has to be done, but we need more than ever a whole government approach to bridge the gap between the aspiration and the effective implementation on the ground.”

On the margins of the Forum, SG Kamel held meetings with the Slovenian Government, notably with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miro Cerar, and Minister of Education, Science and Sport,  Jernej Pikalo, to discuss their collaboration with the UfM Secretariat. A partnership agreement was signed for the organisation of the 2nd Creative Forum Ljubljana, to take place on 12-15 November 2019, two years after the launch of the initiative in Bled. As the only platform that links the Southern Mediterranean and the Western Balkans through creativity, the Creative Forum will provide capacity-building, networking opportunities, and policy review with the aim of creating an enabling environment for the cultural and creative sector at the regional level.

SG Kamel took also the opportunity to meet with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Pekka Haavisto, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, Péter Szijjártó, the Deputy Secretary General of the OECD, Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, the Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs and Political Director of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Jean-Christophe Belliard, as well as the Vice-President CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and special adviser to the Prime Minister on Sustainable Development, Bernard Fautrier.

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