There has been a mounting need at the national, regional and global level for systematic mainstreaming of a gender perspective within national statistical systems and in the production of statistics. Although women and men are influenced differently by development and changes in society, there are indeed differences in the availability of sex-disaggregated data across countries. The international comparability of gender-sensitive qualitative and quantitative indicators for evidence- based policymaking is another issue of major concern in statistics.

So far, the production of gender statistics has not kept up with the global commitments to achieving gender equality and empowering women, such as those contained in 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. On the contrary, such a global consensus underlines the importance of developing a single and internationally agreed upon information-gathering monitoring system for gender disaggregated data.

This booklet represents the main outcome of the project "Toward more gender-responsive Millennium Development Goal (MDG) monitoring and reporting in the Arab region" that is being implemented by the ESCWA in cooperation with United Nations agencies in the Arab region. The project, endorsed by the Eleventh Regional Coordination Group Meeting, held in Beirut, June 2006, is aimed at forging a common understanding among stakeholders on ways to engender quantitative monitoring and reporting on the MDGs, particularly the identification of priority regional gender issues and the development of gender-sensitive measurements in Arab countries.

Towards this end, an Inter-agency and Expert Group Meeting on Gender and MDGs in the Arab Region, held in Cairo, September 2007, attended by representatives of United Nations agencies, national statistical offices and women's nongovernmental organizations, agreed on measurement tool entitled "G IS IN" Framework. This Framework, which contains a list of priorities areas and corresponding gender-sensitive indicators for the region, is an initial step for Arab countries towards realizing the ideals of the Millennium Declaration and implementing CEDAW and the Beijing Platform for Action.

I hope this booklet, with its in depth analysis of current practices in gender monitoring and reporting in the Arab countries, the proposed framework and the ways forward, will serve as a useful information guide for statisticians, gender experts and other stakeholders with regard to mainstreaming gender statistics in MDGs in the Arab region.

Bader Omar Al Dafa
Executive Secretary, ESCWA
On behalf of the Regional Coordination Group

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