This booklet was endorsed by the Eleventh Regional Coordination Group (RCG) Meeting, which was held in Beirut from 20 to 21 June 2006, within the context of the inter-agency project “Toward More Gender-Responsive Millennium Development Goal (MDG) monitoring and reporting in the Arab region”. It is the result of collaborative efforts on the part of various organizations of the United Nations system in the Arab region led by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

ESCWA is grateful to RCG representatives, Gender Focal Points and Project Focal Points of United Nations agencies, and participants of the Inter-agency and Expert Group Meeting on Gender and MDGs in the Arab Region, which was held in Cairo from 10 to 11 September 2007, for providing valuable feedback on the background literature review document and for being instrumental in setting out the proposed regional framework for priority gender issues and indicators used in MDG monitoring and reporting in the region.

The Commission appreciates the assistance of its partners in producing this booklet and acknowledges the contributions of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Arab States and UNDP Sub-Regional Resource Facility for Arab States, International Labour Organization, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Statistics Sweden, United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Development Fund for Women, Economic Commission for Africa, Economic Commission for Europe, United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization, United Nations Environment Programme, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization. The valuable feedback of the Economic Analysis Division and the Information and Communication Technology Division of ESCWA is also very much appreciated.

Gratitude is also extended to the Statistics Division of ESCWA, particularly Ms Neda Jafar for her distinguished effort in coordinating the project and preparing the booklet. The contribution of Ms Gheda Temsah in this endeavour is also highly appreciated.

Special thanks are given to Ms Najwa Kefaya for preparing the background literature review document.

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