ESCWA in partnership with IWSAW, ABAAD, and UN Women hosted a panel discussion entitled “Estimating the Cost of Violence against Women (VAW) in the Arab Region”, to promote awareness against gender-based violence (GBV), in the event of the 16 Days of Activism. The discussion hosted key speakers and experts on GBV, and was moderated by Lina Abirefeh, Director of IWSAW.
The first speaker Blerta Alika, UN-Women Arab States Office, presented data on the multiple types of GBV in the Arab region, and offered solutions to address this extreme violation of Human Rights.
Ghida Anani, Director and Founder of Abaad, presented a short video showing ‘Abaad Dar Program', which illustrates a service to curb GBV in Lebanon and support survivors.
Finally, Mehrinaz El Awady, Director of ESCWA Center for Women, introduced the on-going study on ‘Estimating the Cost of violence Against Women in the Arab Region', which aims to analyze the status of Arab Women, in order to identify the need for capacity building and to develop an economic model suited for the region.
Ms. El Awady stated that rather than spending money on vast social services and programs dedicated to survivors of violence, capital can be directed to other development projects. She added that the monetary cost of VAW in Canada is estimated at $106 million CAD, Australian government at $400 million per year, and in Egypt, the only Arab country that calculated the cost of VAW, spends 217 billion Egyptian pound.
In conclusion, the International and Regional experts on GBV, presented a set of recommendations which included:
(1) The need for inclusive policies, women's right to protection, (2) Bottom up approach (raising awareness on the ground), (3) Tools to measure the economic cost of VAW and to inform policy makers on the cost of violence, in order to address this violation of Human Rights.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.