Leaders’ vision for empowerment of women has made UAE a leader in gender balance, expert says

Leaders’ vision for empowerment of women has made UAE a leader in gender balance, expert says
Mona Ghanem Al-Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, addressing the 8th Dubai International Project Management Forum. (WAM)
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Updated 25 January 2023

Leaders’ vision for empowerment of women has made UAE a leader in gender balance, expert says

Leaders’ vision for empowerment of women has made UAE a leader in gender balance, expert says
  • Since establishing a Gender Balance Council seven years ago, the country has moved up 38 places on the UN’s Gender Inequality Index
  • Women now fill 27.5 percent of UAE cabinet posts, 50 percent of positions on the UAE Federal National Council, and hold key positions in the diplomatic corps

DUBAI: The UAE has become a global leader in gender balance because of the confidence the country’s leaders have shown in the abilities and potential of women, delegates at the eighth Dubai International Project Management Forum heard on Wednesday.
Mona Ghanem Al-Marri, vice president of the UAE Gender Balance Council, told the forum that the leadership’s vision for the empowerment of women ensures that they are considered equal participants and major contributors to sustainable development efforts in the nation.
The four-day forum, which concludes on Thursday, is being held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum, the crown prince of Dubai, the Emirates News Agency reported.
Al-Marri said the rapid progress the UAE has achieved in terms of gender balance is demonstrated by the fact that the country ranked best in the Arab world, and 11th globally, on the Gender Inequality Index of the UN Development Program’s Human Development Report 2022.
The country has jumped 38 positions on the GII since the nation’s Gender Balance Council was established seven years ago. The UAE also ranked first, for a second consecutive year, in both the World Bank’s 2022 Women, Business and the Law report, and the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Gender Gap Report, she added.
Last year, Al-Marri said, the private sector in the UAE further strengthened its involvement in initiatives designed to accelerate the implementation of UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, which aims to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”
A total of 56 local and international companies operating in the country have joined a national initiative to increase the percentage of senior leadership positions filled by women to 30 percent by 2025. Some companies have already increased the percentage of senior women leaders in their organizations to 27 percent, Al-Marri noted.
She said that by demonstrating their capabilities in a variety of fields, women have gained the confidence of the UAE leadership; they now fill 27.5 percent of UAE cabinet posts, 50 percent of positions on the UAE Federal National Council, and hold key positions in the diplomatic corps.
“UAE women have made substantial contributions in various sectors and play vital leadership roles in accelerating the growth and sustainable development of the nation,” Al-Marri said.
The work of the UAE Gender Balance Council has been instrumental in improving the country’s rankings in global gender balance reports and indices, she added.
Al-Marri also highlighted the remarkable efforts of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al-Ketbi, chairperson of the General Women’s Union, to promote women’s development. She said the “mother of the nation” has worked tirelessly to ensure that women become equal partners in the development of the UAE.
She commended the Dubai International Project Management Forum for including topics related to gender balance on the agenda for the event, and said the media has a vital role to play as a partner in conveying an accurate picture of the UAE’s gender balance achievements.


Defense ministers chart ‘new course’ in UAE-Italy relations

Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto meets with his Emirati counterpart in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. (Italy MoD)
Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto meets with his Emirati counterpart in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. (Italy MoD)
Updated 58 min 21 sec ago

Defense ministers chart ‘new course’ in UAE-Italy relations

Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto meets with his Emirati counterpart in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. (Italy MoD)
  • Guido Crosetto, Mohammed Ahmed Al-Bowardi met in Abu Dhabi
  • “Great openness was expressed by the Emirati defense minister,” Italian Defense Ministry source tells Arab News

ROME: Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto met with his Emirati counterpart Mohammed Ahmed Al-Bowardi in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

An Italian Defense Ministry source told Arab News that the visit “marks a new course in defining and reinvigorating the relationship between Italy and the UAE, and the role both countries intend to play in the field of security in the region.”

The source added: “Great willingness and openness toward Italy was expressed by the Emirati defense minister.”

During a long meeting, both ministers pledged “renewed engagement” to protect both countries’ mutual interests. The security situation in the Middle East was also discussed.

According to the Italian Defense Ministry, Crosetto and Al-Bowardi share “a common vision on the new challenges in the regional geostrategic scenario.”

Crosetto offered, on behalf of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s “full cooperation” with the UAE.

Crosetto laid a wreath at the Martyrs’ Monument in the presence of Khalifa bin Tahnoun Al-Nahyan, executive director of the Martyrs’ Families’ Affairs Office. Italy’s Ambassador to the UAE Lorenzo Fanara attended the ceremony.

Crosetto also met with Tareq Al-Hosani, CEO of the Tawazun Economic Council — the procurement agency of the UAE Armed Forces — and Faisal Al-Bannai, CEO and managing director of the Edge Group.


Bahrain, Qatar foreign ministers meet in Riyadh to set procedures for bilateral talks

Bahrain, Qatar foreign ministers meet in Riyadh to set procedures for bilateral talks
Updated 08 February 2023

Bahrain, Qatar foreign ministers meet in Riyadh to set procedures for bilateral talks

Bahrain, Qatar foreign ministers meet in Riyadh to set procedures for bilateral talks
  • Discussions on reviving talks came under the Al-Ula Declaration to end the dispute with Qatar

RIYADH: The foreign ministers of Qatar and Bahrain met in Riyadh on Wednesday to establish procedures for bilateral talks, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.

During the meeting, Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani and his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani explored the “necessary mechanisms and procedures to launch discussions at the level of bilateral committees”, the BNA statement went on to say.  

Discussions on reviving talks came under the Al-Ula Declaration, issued at the Al-Ula GCC Summit in Saudi Arabia last year, to end the dispute with Qatar and re-unite the Gulf states in the face of regional challenges.

During the meeting at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf in Riyadh, the ministers reiterated the importance of boosting cooperation to support the joint action of the GCC countries and achieve security and prosperity.


King Charles ‘profoundly saddened’ by deadly quakes in Turkiye, Syria

King Charles ‘profoundly saddened’ by deadly quakes in Turkiye, Syria
Updated 08 February 2023

King Charles ‘profoundly saddened’ by deadly quakes in Turkiye, Syria

King Charles ‘profoundly saddened’ by deadly quakes in Turkiye, Syria
  • British monarch sends ‘thoughts and special prayers’ in message to Turkish president
  • ‘I can only begin to imagine the scale of suffering and loss as a result of these dreadful tragedies’

LONDON: King Charles has said he is “profoundly saddened” by Monday’s deadly earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria, offering “thoughts and special prayers” to those affected, MailOnline reported.

In the message to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the British monarch said: “My wife and I have been most shocked and profoundly saddened by the news of the devastating earthquakes in southeast Turkiye.

“I can only begin to imagine the scale of suffering and loss as a result of these dreadful tragedies, and I particularly wanted to convey our deepest and most heartfelt sympathy to the families of all those who have lost their loved ones.”

“Our thoughts and special prayers are with everyone who has been affected by this appalling natural disaster, whether through injury or the destruction of their property, and also with the emergency services and those assisting in the rescue efforts.”

The king’s message came as the World Health Organization warned that the death toll from the quakes could exceed 20,000.

In response to the disaster, the UK sent a team of 77 search-and-rescue experts to Turkiye along with equipment and highly trained dogs to aid in recovery efforts.

A British aircraft carrying the response team arrived in Gaziantep in southeast Turkiye late on Tuesday.

The team includes specialist firefighters and rescue staff from 14 fire and rescue services across the UK.


4 Australians missing in Turkiye, Syria after deadly quakes

4 Australians missing in Turkiye, Syria after deadly quakes
Updated 08 February 2023

4 Australians missing in Turkiye, Syria after deadly quakes

4 Australians missing in Turkiye, Syria after deadly quakes
  • Country sending 73 defense personnel, $10m in relief funds to affected areas

LONDON: Four Australians are missing in Turkiye and Syria following Monday’s deadly earthquakes, The Guardian reported.

The country’s Foreign Ministry said it was providing support to families of the missing nationals as well as about 40 other Australians who are in the quake zone.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong told the Australian Senate on Wednesday: “We’ve all seen the scenes of devastation, and the stories of human tragedy that we are witnessing.

“So, if we are able to assist, notwithstanding we are a long way away, I’m sure all of us would want the government to support our personnel to engage in such assistance.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia was sending 73 defense personnel by the end of the week as well as $10 million in funding to aid in rescue and relief efforts.

“These urban search and rescue specialists are highly trained to locate, deliver medical assistance to and remove victims who have been trapped or impacted by a structural collapse.

“I extend my deepest condolences to all those affected by the devastating earthquakes and aftershocks in Turkiye, Syria, and neighboring countries.

“Our hearts are heavy. It is impossible to look away from the terrible and heart-breaking scenes of loss,” Albanese added.

Brisbane Turkish Islamic Society board member, Sadullah Karatas, said that Australians with ties to Turkiye and Syria were facing a “difficult time” watching the disaster unfold from across the world.

“Everyone’s having a really difficult time, and nobody really knows how to process it. These are essentially our brothers and sisters who are left under this rubble and because we’re not there we almost feel desperate.

“We wish we could just go and physically take the rubble out ourselves,” he added.

The society has launched a donation fund to send medicine, food, and blankets to affected areas.


Syria’s White Helmets rescuers urge international quake help

Syria’s White Helmets rescuers urge international quake help
Updated 08 February 2023

Syria’s White Helmets rescuers urge international quake help

Syria’s White Helmets rescuers urge international quake help

BEIRUT: The White Helmets leading efforts to rescue people buried under rubble in rebel-held areas of earthquake-hit Syria appealed Wednesday for international help in their “race against time.”
First responders from the group that was formed a decade ago to save the lives of civilians during Syria’s civil war sprung into action early Monday when a 7.8-magnitude quake rocked Syria and Turkiye.
They have been toiling ever since to pull survivors out from under the debris of dozens of flattened buildings in northwestern areas of war-torn Syria that remain outside the government’s control.
In a video widely shared on social media, crowds of people surrounding the White Helmets cheered loudly as they lifted a young girl and her entire family from a collapsed building in Idlib province.
“International rescue teams must come into our region,” said Mohammed Shibli, a spokesperson for the group known formally as the Syria Civil Defense.
“People are dying every second; we are in a race against time,” he told AFP from neighboring Turkiye.
Monday’s earthquake devastated entire sections of major cities in Turkiye and Syria, killing more than 9,500 people, injuring thousands more and leaving many more without shelter in the winter cold.
In Syria alone at least 2,597 people have been killed, according to the government and the White Helmets.
Shibli said it was “impossible” for the group to respond to the large-scale calamity alone in the rebel-held northwest, home to more than four million people.
“Even states can’t do that,” he said, adding that the group’s volunteers have not had time to reach all of the disaster-struck places.
Britain announced Wednesday that it would release an additional 800,000 pounds ($968,000) to aid the rescue group.
The White Helmets emerged in 2013, when Syria’s civil war was nearing its third year, and operates in battered opposition-held zones.
They have been internationally praised for their work, with a Netflix documentary called “The White Helmets” winning an Academy Award in 2017, while a second film focused on the group, “Last Men in Aleppo,” was a 2018 Oscars nominee.
Their volunteers include 3,300 young men and women, including 1,600 dedicated to search and rescue operations.
“After 56 hours of continuous work... hundreds of families are still missing or trapped under the rubble,” Shibli said.
“People’s chances of survival are declining” in the biting cold, he said.
The rescue group needs heavy machinery, spare parts for the ones they already have, and equipment, “but when will we get them,” Shibli asked.
AFP correspondents across the war-ravaged country said rescue workers and residents have had to sift through the rubble with their bare hands.
White Helmets volunteer Fatima Obeid told AFP teams were busy at work despite exhaustion.
“Being able to pull survivors brings them indescribable joy and excitement,” she said from Sarmada in Idlib.