Dubai: A road map to achieve women empowerment and gender equality will be in discussion at a high-level UN meet beginning in Dubai from Monday.

Meeting for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel (HLP) on Women’s Economic Empowerment will play a key role in drawing up future strategy.

Organised by the UAE Gender Balance Council, the two-day event will be held at the Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah.

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The High-Level Panel (HLP) was established to support and provide guidance on the implementation of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to improve economic outcomes for women, and promote women’s leadership in driving sustainable, inclusive, gender-responsive and environmentally sensitive economic growth.

The panel features representatives of government, business, and civil society and is co-chaired by Luis Guillermo Solis, President of Costa Rica, and Simona Scarpaleggia, CEO IKEA, Switzerland.

The line-up of speakers at the meeting includes Solis, who will deliver a keynote speech via video conference, and Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of State for Tolerance.

Shaikha Lubna, who is a member of the HLP, said that she is honoured to participate in the meeting, and be involved in the discussion of these important topics, which represent a key component of the UAE’s development strategy.

“I am proud to take part in this important global dialogue and play a role in enhancing women’s economic empowerment throughout the world,” said Shaikha Lubna, adding that the UAE has established itself as a role model for the region in this field, opening the door for women to invest in business and establish their own enterprises.

“Today, we have thousands of businesswomen running investments worth billions of dirhams. We look forward to sharing our experience and insights with participants at this important global event,” she added.

Vice-President of the UAE Gender Balance Council Mona Al Merri said the UAE Gender Balance Council has worked closely with the HLP in recent weeks to organise the event and ensure its success, as part of the council’s vision to become a regional and international leader in women’s empowerment.

Al Merri said the discussions held during the meeting will play a critical role in establishing the future framework of the HLP for the coming period, through a number of sessions focused on women’s economic empowerment.

She also said the meeting will feature discussions about the outputs of the HLP working groups.

Panel members and their deputies will also review the outline of the second HLP report, which will be presented to the United Nations Secretary-General, during the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in March 2017.

Additionally, the HLP meeting will establish a road map to achieve the objectives of the current strategy.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, said: “When we increase women’s effective representation and participation at all levels of the labour market, the global economy can yield inclusive growth that leaves no one behind. As we reach the end of the panel’s work on the report to the Secretary-General, we must ensure that its findings and recommendations create lasting and transformative change for women and girls.”