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29 Apr, 2015

Arab – China Women’s Forum begins : H. H. Sheikh Fatima bint Mubarak Women Economic Empowerment is a priority

H. H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood & Childhood (SCMC), Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) has called for strengthening the strategic cooperation relations between UAE and People’s Republic of China in the area of women’s economic empowerment. This can be achieved by launching joint investment projects along with implementing advanced programs for human resources development and women’s abilities support. 



In a speech delivered yesterday on behalf of H. H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak upon opening Arab China Women’s Forum by Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, H.E. Rym Al Falasy stated that launching investment projects by both sides could provide technical, technological and practical training opportunities for women. This could also provide mutual support to small and medium companies of the two countries so that their production could reach out foreign markets. 


There are also many other opportunities that can be made available to set up joint investment projects between businesswomen of both sides, especially the UAE businesswomen that are currently managing over (20,000) local and foreign projects whose investments total around AED 45 billion. 



Through the Forum held under the theme, “Women and Economic Empowerment”, which was attended by Wedad Babkar Omar, spouse of H. H. the Sudanese President, Omar Al Basheer, representative of Her Royal Highness, Princess Basma bint Talal and representatives of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, in addition to UN agencies and organizations concerned with women’s issues and Arab League, H. H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak has expressed her aspirations that this Forum would constitute an important quality addition to enrich dialogues and deepen understandings. She also hopes that this Forum could be dedicated to optimally utilize mutual experiences and expertises among Arab and Chinese Women’s Associations and Entities and turn them into live practices on real ground. Eventually, these could bear fruit in all developmental fields, especially in the field of social and economic development as well as women’s economic empowerment.   



H. H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak has also reaffirmed that women in UAE have made, on political and economic empowerment level, tangible quality achievements and gains by attaining their constitutional rights and full equality with men in terms of rights and responsibilities. This has been fully supported by H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President – May Allah protect him, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. This has opened wide horizons for UAE Women to be more involved in political and economic activities. In addition, this has enabled them to occupy four positions or seats at the Cabinet, which has been represented by seven members at Federal National Council. It has also enabled them to make a strong presence in local and foreign diplomatic activity. Moreover, this has given them the chance to hold the highest leadership positions in the UAE government and various positions related to strategy formulation and decision making process as a main partner in sustainable development.


Furthermore, the Mother of the Nation (Mother of Emirates) has also stated that your unity, which is represented in such a significant audience, today could embody your keenness to continue establishing the journey of old history and long-standing friendly relations, mutual trust, understanding and dialogue, cultural communication and human interaction that lasted for many centuries between Arab and Chinese civilizations through “Silk Trade”. Towards the same objective, we are currently in partnership to rebuild, revive and immortalize a civilization related project. 


She has also added that this Forum is being held fortunately in coincidence with the 11th anniversary of establishing “Arab – Chinese Cooperation Forum” in 2004 at Arab League headquarters in Cairo on foreign ministers level in recognition of deep historical relations existing between China and Arab Countries. 



H. H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak has pointed out that (6) successive and regular editions of the Forum have been held been so far that produced positive results to promote the entire Arab-Chinese relations in all political, economic, business, investment, technological, scientific, healthcare, agricultural, environmental, media, and women aspects, etc. She has also said that this Forum coincides with the 30th anniversary for establishing diplomatic relations between UAE and People’s Republic of China. Such relations have been established and strengthened due to the directives of the leaders of both friendly countries, H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President – May Allah protect him and H.H. Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China and their continuous keenness to develop and boost such relations in such a manner these two countries have become today two strategic partners in all domains. 


Furthermore, H. H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak has also added, “In this context, we have also managed to complete all or most of programs/schemes with United Nations Millennium Development Goals that are going to end this year. At the same time, we have also continued our journey towards making further accomplishments by announcing new initiatives to promote the UAE Women role as a major partner in development and empower them in all aspects. 


H. H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak has mentioned the initiatives launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai to declare forming of the “UAE Gender Balance Council” at the International Government Summit held on February 08, 2015, with the aim of promoting the role of UAE women and their status as a major partner in shaping the future. She has also pointed out that General Women’s union launched on the 7th of last March the national strategy so that UAE women can be empowered and enabled to lead during the period of 2015/2021. Such a national strategy could form/serve a general framework, a guide and reference point for all local and federal government entities and private sector companies in addition to the entire civil society agencies/departments when setting their plans and blueprints. The ultimate goal of doing that is to provide a decent life for women and empower them to make contributions in all aspects of sustainable development. 


At the close of her speech, H. H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak has emphasized her support to the Forum and any recommendation that could contribute to implementing joint action mechanisms, especially to whatever related to establishing an Arab – Chinese privileged trade zone. The prime goal of doing that is to encourage both sides to increase and expand areas of cooperation and partnership among small and medium companies/entities to serve common interests and mutual benefits of both countries. 


Qualitative Leap   

On his part, H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Director of the Department of East Asia and Pacific at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has reaffirmed that the Forum is held when mutual relations between the two countries witness a qualitative leap, which are strengthened through sectors of women, youth, civil society, intellectuals, and businesswomen leaders. Thus, new horizons for cooperation can be opened not only on official government level, but also within the framework of growing concern with women’s involvement in sustainable development.


Moreover, Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan has also expressed his full support to the sincere efforts made to empower Arab – Chinese women and involve them in development related issues so that they can reach the highest levels and positions in our Arab countries. By so doing, roles of both genders can be integrated and complemented, where their active and strong presence in all domains could be made. 


Furthermore, H. H. Sheikh Sultan has stated that such Forum represents unity and strong relations between Arab – Chinese sides in general and UAE – Chinese side in particular. He also emphasizes the deep historical relations existing between UAE and People’s Republic of China that have been considerably developing on all levels since the establishment of the State. As a matter of fact, this has been started and shaped by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE and builder of its development, which has flourished under leadership of H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President – May Allah protect him, where he always emphasizes that the UAE has been open to all countries of the whole world in an unbiased manner. 


In addition, H. H. Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan Al Nahyan has also pointed out that despite the development witnessed by bilateral relations of the two countries, the UAE and China, and the strategic partnership relations existing between them, we are looking forward to enabling women to be present and active and serve as a strong link and a key and an active partner in the entire process. This can be accomplished by their contribution to fostering such ties, and we are sure that UAE women are trustworthy, reliable and capable of playing a bigger role in strengthening the pillars of such mutual partnership. We are also looking forward that UAE and Chinese women can play a leading role in total development for bilateral trade and expand cooperation in the field of building capabilities, funds, investments, innovations, creativity and transfer of technology (TOT) in such a manner that could eventually serve interests of both countries. 



H. H. Sheikh Sultan has expressed his deep appreciation for H. H. Sheikha Fatima for her kind patronage of this Forum. He also hoped that discussions among officials including decision makers, experts, researchers and participants would enrich issues raised by the Forum and all other matters offered for discussion in such a manner that could serve the Arab – Chinese women interests. 




The Forum included (4) working sessions under the theme, “Arab – Chinese Women and Sustainable Development”. During the first session, the history of UAE and Chinese women empowerments has been discussed. The second session, under the title, “Leading women...Opportunities and Challenges”, included an open discussion on mutual experiences of both sides. 


As for the third working session held under the theme, “Pioneering Women’s Experiences in Business”, pioneering businesses based upon three Arab experiences and other three Chinese ones have been investigated. In regards to the fourth and last working session, pioneering models in supporting young businesswomen leaderships have been presented through UAE experience and another Chinese one. 


This Forum has been organized within the framework of Arab – Chinese Cooperation Forum that was established between the Arab League and People’s Republic of China in 2004 at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo-Egypt. The goal of doing that was to develop ties of friendship and cooperation and support dialogue between the two sides and promote Arab – Chinese relations level in all domains.


Emirati Night    

Under the high patronage of H. H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the General Women’s union and Supreme Council for Motherhood & Childhood organized yesterday the “Emirati Night” on the sidelines of “Arab – Chinese Women’s Forum. This Emirati Night was held at Emirates Palace Hotel-Abu Dhabi and attended by President of Republic of Kosovo, Atifa Yahya Agha, Wedad Babakr Omar, Spouse of the Sudanese President, Omar Al Bashir, H. E. /Dr. Maitha bint Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of the State, Hafsa Abdullah Al Ulama, the Ambassador of UAE for Republic of Montenegro and non-resident ambassador to Republic of Kosovo, and a large number of UAE community ladies as well as wives of ambassadors to UAE in addition to the Chinese delegation. In her conversation with the press, Atifa Agha voiced her strong admiration of the accomplishments made by the UAE women and civilization and cultural development achieved in all fields in addition to their awareness about political, cultural and sport related aspects. 



In the speech delivered on behalf of the Princess Basma bint Talal, Salma Al Nemis, Secretary General of the Jordanian National Commission for Women, has stressed that UN Women presence and Women management at Arab League would signify the importance of participation in Arab – Chinese Women’s Forum on regional and international level. 


Al Ketbi: Gains made by Emirati Women due to patronage of our leaders and hard and continuous work  

Dr. Ibtessam Al Ketbi, Chairwoman of the Emirates Policy Center, has presented the journey and experience of Emirati women empowerment. In her working paper presented at the Forum, she has emphasized that the success and excellence achieved by UAE women in addition to the high positions they have held have not come from scratch; rather it has been a result of such a long journey and years of hard and continuous work. This has also been the case thanks to the concern of the wise leadership and late founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the approach adopted by H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President and support of Rulers and Sheikhs of Emirates.    


She has also pointed out that women represent (22%) of Federal Supreme Council members and (10%) of those working in diplomatic Corps/Corps Diplomatique (CD). According to Global Economic Forum, the UAE has achieved a remarkable equality rates among the two genders. 


As far as workforce is concerned, she has explained that (23%) of total UAE female workforce constitutes (50%) of government employees and (80%) of them are working in the education sector. To this effect, the UAE women have achieved the first position in the field of education for women on the international level in 2012 and got the first position in terms of women respect indicator according to the report issued by the World Economic Forum's Network of Global Agenda Councils for 2014. 


Makkawi: “Mother of Arabs” Efforts are made to elevate Women’s dignity and status is to be appreciated   

 The Ambassador, Enas Makkawi, Manager of the Directorate of Women, Family, and Childhood at the Arab League, has emphasized that Arab League really appreciates and lauds the great efforts made by H. H. “Mother of Arabs”. The aim of doing that is to promote women’s status, elevate their dignity, protect them and empower them under such hard conditions that so many women go through in the Arab region. That is because she offers a lot of her own heart and soul to many battered, and devastated women because of war, disputes and disasters whether in the Arab World or abroad. 


She has also pointed out that H. H. “Mother of Arabs” has contributed a lot in the protection of Arab children and striven a great deal to provide all possible means for their good upbringing and secure their basic rights to education, healthcare and protection. She has also done her best to serve their best interests, prompted by principles and teachings of our glorious Islamic religion and in fulfilment of our international obligations. Therefore, we pray to and ask Allah, the Almighty, that such beneficial deeds may be maintained on earth and sustain her as an exemplary model for continuous and productive giving for all present generations. And that may history register in the record to be the best example for ability and work to protect the entire humanity and achieve growth. She has also said that such a meeting is so great, which constitutes the main pillars of Arab – Chinese Forum blueprint on the ministerial level in implementation of Arab League resolutions. 



Al Beetar: (4,000) Chinese Companies are operating in the country, and related investments total one USD $ billion.  

The Ambassador of UAE to China, Omar Al Beetar, has reaffirmed that the Emirati Chinese relations on the business level are developing. That is because relevant figures indicate that volume of trade exchange (volume of business) between the two countries jumped from USD $ 63 million in 1985 to USD $ 54.8 billion by the end of last year. He has also stated that the total number of Chinese companies registered in the country exceeds (4,000), and Chinese investments volume in the UAE exceeded USD $ billion. As for visible volume of Emirati investments in China totaled over USD $ billion, expecting the volume of business to reach USD $ 60 billion by the end of this year. 


In addition, he has also mentioned that our relations with China are a key issue when it comes to the international balance in the future, especially that China is a permanent Security Council member. China has tremendous and latent energies and resources, and total population of China is the largest in the entire world. Above all, it is rich in great natural resources and economic potentials as well. 


Finally, he has maintained that strengthening relations with China would provide lots of opportunities to the UAE in terms of achieving a long-term equilibrium in its economy, noting that business relations with China have been developed naturally through silk trade by sea and land. 


UN lauds Emirati Women’s Participation in Politics and Trade

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has delivered a video speech to the Forum in which he extended thanks to H. H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak for her valuable contribution to promoting UAE women and her help for many women abroad. In her capacity as Chairwoman of General Women’s union, she has demonstrated a considerable amount of commitment towards addressing healthcare and eradication of illiteracy in addition to so many other issues that have an impact on women, children and families. 

Nowadays, the average life expectancy for female newborns in the UAE is equal to that of developed countries. He has voiced his gratitude to H. H. Sheikha Fatima for her assistance to promote women status in the Emirati society and support youth rights to get a high level of education. He has also stressed that Sheikha Fatima is considered to be an example or source of inspiration for all women in the Arab region and the whole world. He has also said, “I welcome the growing level of Emirati involvement in politics, diplomacy and trade. In the future, I hope that women will be able to make greater gains in other fields, especially in judiciary system correction.     


Kosovo President: Emirati Women Achievements Reflect the Leadership Support   

While attending the celebration held by General Women’s union the day before yesterday to welcome the guests participating in Arab China’s Women Forum, Atifa Aghar, President of Republic of Kosovo, expressed her admiration and appreciation for the accomplishments made by Emirati women under the leadership of H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President – May Allah protect him, and other Rulers of Emirates. 


She has declared that the Emirati women achievements in terms of cultural development and advancement in all areas would reflect the leadership interest in and support to women. This also pinpoints the strength of Emirati women and their desire to make significant contribution towards development, growth and creativity. She has also pointed out that what she felt about Emirati women is the great awareness about politics, culture and sports, etc. In addition, she has also lauded H. H. Sheikha Fatima’s keen and strong vision that prompted Emirati women to achieve further progress and make accomplishments under her kind support and assistance. She has also expressed her happiness that she got introduced to the journey of development and empowerment of women in the UAE.

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