Tunis Forum on Gender Equality 2019

In partnership with the Government of Tunisia and the Swedish International Development Agency, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) are organizing the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality that will take place April 24-26 2019.

The Tunis Forum will take place one year before the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as one year before the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 which set the standard for women, peace and security. The Tunis Forum will also take place before the first Global Sustainable Development Report, which will be presented to the autumn summit on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will be an opportunity to integrate and connect the key elements of these processes and highlight the important role that civil society can play.

The Tunis Forum will explore the role of women participating in local government, working towards more sustainable and inclusive cities.

The Forum will also explore the role of innovation and technology in encouraging women’s economic empowerment.

The Tunis Forum is a follow up to the Stockholm Forum held in April 2018. The agenda for the Forum has been built in a similar spirit of co-creation, as a result of an open online discussion. The results of this discussion can be found below.

About the Consultation

The Tunis Forum on Gender Equality will focus on 4 main themes

Beijing to Beijing +25

What has worked, what was missing, what should the next 25 years be about?

The Beijing Platform for Action: inspiration then and now

Gender equality for local governance transformation

Can increasing numbers of women mayors in the world change the nature of our cities, how can their power be used to help create sustainable cities/ more equitable resource distribution?

Women, Peace and Security

Has UNSCR 1325 delivered? What can be done to integrate the WPS agenda better with CEDAW? What could help give civil society more ownership of the WPS agenda?

Innovation and technology for women’s economic empowerment

How can the 4th industrial revolution be harnessed for gender equality and women’s empowerment? Making the business case for gender equality

The Tunis Forum on Gender Equality will focus on 4 main themes

The Forum will gather around 500 participants nominated from countries all over the world including women activists and representatives and male champions from national, regional and local governments, civil society, private sector, academia, and international organizations including UN agencies.
A separate programme will also include about 40 side events open to the public.

be part of the change
for more gender equality!

The Tunis Forum on Gender EqualityENSURING INCLUSIVITY AND EQUALITY: Making international commitments a reality on the groundProgrammeVENUE : PALAIS DES CONGRÈS

08:00 - 08:45

Registration of participants

9:00 - 11:00

Plenary Opening Session

  • Master of ceremonies – Ahlem Nasraoui
  • Opening – cultural performance French/Tunisian
  • Welcome by H.E. Neziha Labidi, Minister of Women, Family, Childhood and Elders, Tunisia
  • Keynote inspirational speech by Dhaffer El Abbedine, Gender Equality Champion
  • Intervention by H.E. Margot Wallström, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sweden
  • Intervention by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director UN Women
  • Intervention by Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP
  • Keynote address – Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, African Union Goodwill Ambassador to End Child Marriage
  • Address by H.E. Youssef Chahed, Prime Minister of Tunisia
11:00 - 11:30

Coffee Break

11:30 - 13:00

ROUND A : 3 parallel sessions

A1 – (Beijing +25) – The transformative demands of Beijing – how they changed the way the world looked, how they were envisaged, how they were constructed

A dialogue between those who were in Beijing and those who will be at Beijing +25. This session will be an opportunity to explore issues to be included in Beijing + 25 to galvanise implementation and accountability.

Moderator – Lina Abu Habib, Women’s Learning Partnership, Lebanon

  • Vivek Rai, Deputy, Civil Society Division UN Women
  • Leila Hussaini, Global fund for women
  • Deema Kaedbey, The Knowledge Workshop (Lebanon)
  • Sofía Barahona Mena (Chile)
  • Violet Shivutse, Huariou Commission, Kenya

A2 – (Local Governance) What is a gender-responsive city? – Intersections between the Beijing Platform for Action and the New Urban Agenda

This session will encourage discussions on new pathways to foster gender-responsive strategies to the challenges of sustainable urbanization and to contribute significantly to the effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. The panelists will discuss how to better integrate gender equality perspectives into environmentally friendly urban planning to help create public spaces for women that empower them to live fulfilling and wholesome lives, and identify promising models of gender-responsive local governance and finance that can inform the development of the new urban agenda.

Moderator: Soon-Young Yoon, Chair of the Board, Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), Women Mayors’ Network (WoM=N)

  • Sri Husnaini Sofjan, Senior Policy Advisor & Strategist, Huairou Commission, Malaysia
  • Souad Abderrahim, Mayor of Tunis, Tunisia
  • Alma Bonilla, Secretaria-General de ANDRYSAS (Asociacion Nacional de Regidoras Sindicas y Alcaldesas Salvadorenas) El Salvador
  • Esther Sackie, Activist, Liberia
  • Manju Dhimal, Secretary, National Indigenous Women’s Federation, Nepal
  • Isabelle Miron, Councilor at the City of Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

A3 – (Women, Peace and Security) – What is a feminist Peace?

This session will explore gendered experiences of peace and security and will explore the theory and practice behind feminist peacebuilding, covering in particular the challenges, opportunities, successes and failures in implementing WPS from a feminist perspective across contexts. What do we mean by feminist peacebuilding? What does it look like on the ground? How does it intersect with youth, indigenous and religious peacebuilding approaches and actors? The event will unpack what a feminist peace means for different individuals across contexts at the local, regional and international level, and begin to shape a strategy for the way forward by defining priorities and gaps towards 2020, and to contribute to a better understanding of the challenges and opportunity for the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

Moderator: Vanessa Farr, WILPF

  • Margot Wallström, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sweden
  • Begona Lasagabaster, Representative, UN Women, Tunisia and Libya
  • Samira Ibrahim, Neem Foundation, Nigeria
  • Mary Constantino Bii Bakuyo, YWCA, South Sudan
  • Maysoun Qawasmi Miftah, Palestine
  • Khedija Arfaoui, feminist researcher, Tunisia
  • Amal Kabashi, Iraqi Al-Amal Association, Iraq
13:00 - 14:15


14:15 - 15:30

ROUND B : 3 parallel sessions

B1 – (Innovation and Technology) Doing Business Differently: Empowering Women through Inclusive Business

This panel will explore with private sector champions of inclusive business and women producers how companies benefit from and the obstacles they face in engaging women in their operations as employees, suppliers or customers. It will highlight stories from women suppliers on how being part of a company’s value chain has impacted their lives. It will also look at how information technology and digital applications, especially through women-led startups, are helping women to access social services to which they are entitled.

Moderator: Sahba Sobhani, Acting Head, Business Call to Action, UNDP Istanbul, Turkey

  • Gamze Cizreli, Founder, Big Chefs, Turkey
  • Aslı Aksoy, Asparagus producer and founder, Elibelinde Tarim, Turkey
  • Nida Shehzad, Digital Innovation Lead and member of the founding team, Sehat Kahani, Pakistan
  • Sara Zia, Sehat Kahani partner, Pakistan
  • Meher Khlifi, Founder, Ahmini,Tunisia

B2 – Better Gender Data for Better Decisions

This session will aim to share experiences and review lessons learned on improving data and evidence for gender equality, in the context of Beijing +25 and the SDGs. What roles can civil society organizations and other key stakeholders play in promoting better use of gender data to inform advocacy and evidence-based policies to accelerate progress for women and girls? This session will draw on the experiences of UN Women’s Making Every Women and Girl Count programme.

Opening remarks: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director UN Women (tbc)

  • Eva Johansson, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA),Sweden
  • Fridah Githuku, Executive Director, GROOTS Kenya
  • Sandra Schilen, Executive Director, Huairou Commission
  • Soon-Young Yoon, Chair of the Board, Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)
  • Bassima Hakkaoui, Minister of Women, Morocco

B3 – (Women, Peace and Security) – Why Gender Equality is essential to sustain peace

In this session, participants will share experiences of how women’s organisations contribute to post-peace agreement peacebuilding and security governance. The session will also look at the obstacles to and need for protection of women’s rights and independent women-led civil society organisations throughout all phases of conflict and peace: from war and peace negotiations to post-conflict reconstruction and political transition. What does peace and security look like for women? What conditions needs to be in place for civil society to contribute to sustainable peace? Examples and experiences, both positive and negative, will be shared from different contexts, creating a dialogue between women peacebuilders on what works, lessons learned, and action needed.

Moderator: Petra Tötterman Andorff, Secretary General Kvinna till Kvinna

  • Sylvie Ndongmo, WILPF, Cameroon
  • Juliana Suescún Gomez, Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica (CIASE), Colombia
  • Buthainah Mahmoud, Hawa Organisation for Relief and Development, Iraq
  • Maya al-Rahabi, Musawa – Women’s Studies Centre, Syria
  • Amani Arouri, WCLAC, Palestine
  • Amina Rasul, President of Philippines Centre for Islam and Democracy (PCID), Philippines
15:30 – 16:00

Coffee Break

16:00 – 17:15

ROUND C : 3 parallel sessions

C1 – (Beijing +25) Advancing Reproductive rights as human rights, ensuring legal frameworks, listening to the needs of young people

This panel will bring together experts from civil society, the legal system, governmental representatives and UN-agencies, to showcase best practices on how to ensure reproductive rights for women and girls, through the power of law, capacity building and service provision. The focus will be on positive changes and successful initiatives and how to learn from them. This session aims to generate a dialogue and provide concrete, key recommendations for the advancement of gender equality and reproductive rights for all women and girls, within the context of Human Rights mechanisms, Beijing, ICPD and the 2030 Agenda.

Moderator: Karin Nilsson, Senior Manager Government Partnerships, Centre for Reproductive Rights, Sweden

  • Prabina Bajracharya, Center for Reproductive Rights, Nepal
  • Rafla Dellagi, President Director General of the National Family and Population Board, Tunisia
  • Catherine Nyambura, ATHENA Initiative, Kenya
  • Zane Dangor, Special Advisor to Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa
  • Rym Fayala, Assistant representative UNFPA Tunisia

C2 – (Local Governance) Women breaking into politics (1) Empowering candidates for local government, what works?

Organisations and institutions have offered capacity building, mentoring, networking and other types of support to help even the playing field for women political candidates and elected politicians aiming to break the gender barriers in politics. Which types of support have the greatest impact on women’s success in political life and how do women politicians access and benefit from them? The session will engage a dialogue between NGOs who offer training, mentoring and networking to women politicians and both young and experienced women politicians for an exchange on what types of empowerment approaches have the highest impact on women’s political careers at different stages.

Moderator: Sascha Gabizon, Executive Director, Women in Europe for a Common Future

  • Sara ben Said – Aswat Nissa, Tunisia
  • Nada Ibraheem al-Joubouri – Iraqi Organization for Women and Future, Iraq
  • Marija Blagojevic – Women’s Political Network, Montenegro
  • Sushila Mishra Bhatta, Deputy Mayor, Dhangadi Sub-Metropolitan City, Nepal
  • Karin Strandås, State Secretary for Gender Equality, Sweden
  • Isabelle Miron, Councillor at the City of Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

C3 – (Innovation and Technology) From online violence to safe spaces

Women globally walk and use public transport much more than men, but levels of harassment and violence in public spaces and in public transport remain very high. Some men and women are reacting to this and using new technology through apps and on-line reporting processes and other techniques to make a difference. But at the same time online space is in itself a place of increasing harassment. What can be done to prevent women being exposed to more abuse on new technology? This panel will explore some of those ideas that are working on the ground in India and in East Africa, using technology to create safe spaces for survivors and will look at examples preventing online harassment and violence.

Moderator: Salma Belhassine, Youth Leadership Programme, Tunisia

  • Sonali Vyas, SafetiPIn, India
  • Njeri Mathenge, Flone initiative, Kenya
  • Katarina Björkgren, Senior Advisor on Violence against Women at the Swedish Gender Equality Agency, Sweden

Troupe Nationale Tunisienne des Arts Populaires, Cité de la Culture



Sorry, this entry is only available in French, European Spanish and Arabic.

9:00 - 10:30

Plenary Session – Beijing +25 expectations

An exploration of how to respond to the rights, needs and aspirations of young people: intergenerational dialogue between key policy makers and implementers and young activists.

  • Karin Strandås, State Secretary for Gender Equality, Sweden
  • Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Assistant Secretary General, Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP
  • Bassima Hakkaoui, Minister of Women, Morocco
  • Other government official tbc
  • Patrick Mwesigye, Ugandan Youth Forum, Uganda
  • Moneera Yassein, Inspirational young Sudanese advocate, Sudan
  • Hayfa Sdiri , Founder of Entr@crush, Tunisia
10:30 - 11:00

Coffee Break

11:00- 12:15

ROUND D : 3 parallel sessions

D1 – (Beijing +25) The strategic dialogue on Next Generation Gender Equality

will bring together prominent feminist leaders to discuss current trends pointing to a backlash to gender equality and women’s rights in many parts of the world. The discussion will focus on gaps in law and practice that are eroding women’s rights and identify the essential elements of the next generation of strategies necessary to safeguard women’s hard-won gains and further advance gender equality and women’s rights.

Moderator: Yakin Erturk, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Turkey

  • Sonja Lokar, Executive Director of the Central and Eastern European Network for Gender Issues, Slovenia
  • Fatima Outaleb, Director, Union for Feminist Action, Morocco
  • Lana Luis Finikin, Executive Director, Sistren Theatre Collective and Community Facilitator, Jamaica
  • Passy Mubalama, Founder and Executive Director, AIDPROFEN, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Ruby Kholifah, Country Representative, Asian Muslim Action Network, Indonesia

D2 – (Local Governance) Breaking into politics 2: local communities supporting women candidates; alternative means of support

This session will encourage discussion on the role of local communities and organizations in supporting women candidates; how to establish innovative strategies to reverse the systematic marginalization of women from decision-making and to ensure the strategic representation of different groups of women in all sectors and at all levels and will seek to suggest recommendations to promote the participation of women and women’s organizations in subnational and local planning and decision-making processes. Panelists will share experiences from the ground on how community-based organizations, including political parties, grassroots women, faith-based organization, cooperatives, unions and other local groups can effectively contribute to foster an enabling environment to ensure equal representation of women in decision making.

Moderator: Ani Zonneveld, President and Founder of Muslims for Progressive Values, Malaysia/US

  • Larisa Voloh, Mayor of Palanca and Chairperson, Women Mayors Network of the Congress of Local Authorities, Moldova
  • Janet Ricks, Visionary Young Women in Leadership, Liberia
  • Sabra Bano, Director Gender Concerns International, Head of Gender Election Observation Mission, Netherlands
  • Nadia Rahmani, Rabat, Women’s Organisation of Local Councillors, Morocco

D3 – (Women, Peace and Security) How does Civil society do Women, Peace and Security?

Recognizing the need for practical tools to guide governments and multilateral institutions, and to inform civil society, this interactive session will review what tools and practical guidance exist to guide civil society engagement in the WPS agenda. This session will give attention to existing tools and guidance to ensure gender perspectives in peacebuilding and centring of marginalized perspectives, especially those of women and youth. This includes tools and guidance to address structural factors in order to transform society and foster peace, resilience, equal rights, and pluralism through meaningfully engaging diverse sectors from media and religion to education and economics.

Moderator : Melinda Holmes, International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), International

  • Laila Alodaat, WILPF, International, Syria
  • Hana Faidi, Libyan Women’s Forum, Libya
  • Abir Hajibrahim, Mobaderoon-Active Citizens in Syria, Syria
  • Amal Abdulqader Albok, Oxfam, Yemen
12:15 - 13:30


13:30 - 14:45

ROUND E : 3 parallel sessions

E1 – (Beijing +25) Taking forward gender equality in the Arab states region; what are the points of entry? What are the priorities for action?

On many key global indicators on gender equality countries in the Middle East and North Africa region are amongst the poorest performers globally; women in the region are the least likely in the world to have paid employment; the region has low numbers of elected women representatives at local and national level, and in some countries of the region, women continue to be clearly discriminated against in terms of equal access to rights and justice. This panel of regional activists will seek to identify some immediate priorities for change across the region and share ideas on key legislative and social barriers that might be ripe for reform.

Moderator: Frances Guy – Gender Advisor, Regional Bureau for Arab States, UNDP

  • Bouchra Belhage, Tunisian feminist and MP (head of COLIBE)
  • Asma Khader, Solidarity is Global, Jordan
  • Nehad Maaeteq, Chair, For You Libya
  • Amani Aruri, WCLAC, Palestine
  • Wijdane el Ibrahim, Morocco (tbc)
  • Samar Khaled, AMNA initiative, Sudan

E2 – (Local Governance) Breaking into politics (3) enabling frameworks: quotas, funding, media, party legislation and guidance

Women candidates for elections at both local and national level face institutional and cultural barriers. Quotas can work as an active input to enforce increased levels of participation, but other issues like funding, entry into political parties and access to media are equally important. This panel will look at examples of positive action that have helped women candidates and explore what other action is necessary to make the breakthroughs necessary to have influence.

Moderator: Anapama Ray, The Gender Lab, India

  • Hasna Ben Slimane, spokesperson for ISIE, Tunis
  • Sherif Alaa, IDEA Programme Manager Africa and West Asia, Egypt
  • Vicky-May Hamm, President Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Canada
  • Emad ElSayed Omar, former sub-editor, Reuters
  • Wafa Bani Mustapha, MP, Jordan
E3 – (Beijing +25 ) The session on “Parliamentarians in the lead up to the Beijing + 25”

will encourage discussions between parliamentarians, policy makers and representatives from civil society on the strategies to strengthen women’s representation in decision making and in addressing the diverse needs and demands from women and girls around the world and in ensuring equal rights and empowerment opportunities, and the end of discrimination and violence. The panel of speakers will discuss how to ensure effective parliamentary oversight on government’s gender equality commitments as well as discuss best practices and shortcomings on the capacity of parliaments to scrutinise budgets and policy making from a gender perspective as well as their engagement in national and international reporting processes.

Moderator: Annika Ojala, Green party, Finland

  • Sonja Lokar, Executive Director of the Central and Eastern European Network for Gender Issue, Slovenia
  • Angela Brown Burke, Vice-President of the People’s National Party, Jamaica (tbc)
  • Anna Falk, Swedish Gender Equality Agency, Sweden
  • Nicolette Bryan, Women’s Empowerment for Change, Jamaica
  • Kalthoum Badreddine, MP ,Tunisia
14:45 - 15:15

Coffee Break

15:15 - 16:30

ROUND F : 3 parallel sessions

F1 – (Beijing +25) Challenging traditional masculinities and changing power relations

Gender inequality, conflict and fragility are inextricably linked: unequal gender relations can drive conflict and violence, while women’s active participation in decision-making contributes to peace and resilience. This panel discussion will focus on engaging men and boys and addressing masculinities in a transformative manner to change gendered power dynamics and achieve more equitable gender norms and peaceful outcomes.

Moderator: Eva Johansson, co-chair, GenderNet

  • Rasha Abouelazm, Programme Manager, Regional Office for Arab States, UNWomen
  • Cecilia Khouma, Policy Analyst, Gender Equality Development Cooperation Directorate, OECD
  • Shereen El Feki, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa, Promundo
  • Fidèle Rutayisire, Founder and Executive Director, Rwanda Men’s Resource Center
  • Hadeel Abdo, Programme Coordinator, Men and Women for Gender Equality Programme, Palestine office
  • Imam Elie Bukuru Khalfan, Vice Secretary, Alliance of Inclusive Muslims

F2 – (Beijing +25) Transformative approaches to women’s leadership / for collective feminist leadership

This session will explore the use of transformative approaches and feminist partnerships at local and community level to amplify women and girls’ voices, with a focus on those facing exclusion. Speakers will share theory, experiences, strategies and learnings; from different parts of the world; of collective feminist leadership to facilitate safe and enabling environments for transformative change.

Moderator: Hadeel Qazzaz, Regional Gender Justice Coordinator, Oxfam MENA

  • Soukeina Bouraoui, Centre of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR)
  • Rania Eghnatios and Samah El Hamaoui, RootsLab
  • Katia Uriona Gamarra, Bolivian feminist activist
  • Haneen Zeidan- RWDS, OPT
  • Violet Shivutse ,Huairou Commission

F3 – (Women, Peace and Security) Women’s participation from peace-building to reconstruction to sustainable development

This session will encourage discussions on enhancing women’s participation and decision making in reconstruction, re-building of infrastructure and societies in post-conflict contexts, and preventing conflicts in the longer term. The panelists will discuss how approaches to reconstruction have evolved in recent years, including the issues of equal access to productive and natural resources, ecomonic decision making, strategic and sectoral recovery and reconstruction planning. The discussion of global and regional dynamics will also reflect on the structural barriers to gender-responsive reconstruction and identify existing and potential roles and responsibilities of different actors.


  • Ma. Victoria Cabrera Balleza, CEO Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
  • Ayham Ahsan Al Maleh, Peace building support office, UN Department of Political Affairs
  • Randi Davis, Director, Gender Team, UNDP

Period. End of Sentence. Short film from India (26 minutes) Cité de la Culture

9:00 - 11:30

Plenary session – facilitated discussion on recommendations from parallel sessions on the four main themes: Beijing to Beijing +25; Gender equality for local governance transformation; Women, Peace and Security: Innovation and technology for economic empowerment

  • Facilitators : Lina Abu Habib, Women’s Learning Partnership and a young feminist activis
11:30 - 12:00

Coffee break

12:00 - 13:00

Plenary closing session

  • Representatives of feminist movements, feminist youth movements,
  • Diego Zorilla, Resident Coordinator, UN, Tunis
  • H.E. Neziha Labidi, Minister of Women, Family, Childhood and Elders, Tunisia
  • Government of France(tbc)
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