The growing need at the national, regional and global level for gender equality and the empowerment of women underlines the importance of developing a single information-gathering monitoring system for gender statistics to provide a follow-up and evaluation process for international agreements, including the goals and objectives of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the United Nations Millennium Declaration.

The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), within the framework of the United Nations system, is the focal point in the region for follow-up activities on regional and world agreements that deal with gender equity and the advancement of women. With this in mind, United Nations agencies at the Eleventh Regional Coordination Group Meeting, which was held in Beirut from 20 to 21 June 2006, endorsed the project “Toward More Gender-responsive Millennium Development Goal (MDG) monitoring and reporting in the Arab region” and asked the Secretariat of ESCWA to take the lead in the preparation of this booklet.

The booklet consists of seven chapters. The case for engendering the Goals is presented in Chapter I. It presents the background for the change in perspective from “women in development” to “gender and development” that led to a parallel shift in data production on “gender statistics”; it also covers the implementation of MDGs and gender equality in the region; links with gender instruments; and the importance of engendering the monitoring and reporting of MDGs for evidence-based policymaking

Chapter II provides a synopsis of current practices in engendering the monitoring and reporting of MDGs, including key partnerships, harmonization with international gender-related instruments and work undertaken to engender statistics. The material is based on a review of national MDG reports and established parameters for gauging the extent to which MDG reports are engendered.

Chapter III summarizes the main gender issues and concerns in the region in the context of each Goal. It also provides a detailed assessment of the availability of sex-disaggregated data and gender-sensitive indicators in the Arab region for gender-responsive monitoring and reporting of MDGs.

Chapter IV provides information on the different types of indicators – qualitative and quantitative – and presents Goal-specific data sources for compiling gender statistics for each indicator under each of the eight Goals.

Chapter V presents the proposed “G IS IN” framework that links priority gender issues in the Arab region, the Beijing Platform for Action and MDGs to a minimum core set of gender-sensitive indicators devised on the basis of the measures recommended to Governments at the Inter-agency Expert Group Meeting on Gender and MDGs in the Arab Region, which was held in Cairo from 10 to 11 September 2007. The set of proposed indicators in the “G IS IN” framework must be applied in relevant countries in order to obtain data on the situation of women compared with that of men, in different spheres, thereby making it easier to monitor MDGs and compliance with agreements related to the Beijing Platform for Action.

Proposals for improving the availability of data for more gender-responsive monitoring and reporting of MDGs in the region are highlighted in Chapter VI, while Chapter VII presents concluding remarks.

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