Leading Libyan women concluded a two-day consultative meeting on the political changes happening now in Libya and the impact on women’s participation in the forthcoming governance system. The meeting, organized last week by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as part of UN efforts to promote the women’s participation in Libya’s political sector, brought together academics, previous government officials, two members from the House of Representatives and the State Council, regional and youth female representatives and women residing outside Libya.
Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UNDP Resident Representative in Libya, Ms. Maria do Valle Ribeiro said in her opening statement, “We need to provide the space for Libyan women to discuss and plan their contribution to the political process, humanitarian and development agendas. We look forward to hearing the resolutions. We are very committed to help some of the resolutions to be realized.”
During the two days, the 28 participants evaluated women’s participation in political life in Libya and discussed the impact of the new and traditional media on women’s participation. They also touched upon experiences from neighboring countries, including Tunisia and Sudan, focusing on increasing women’s participation in the political decision-making process.
On the way forward, the participants concluded that “a constitution, a unified government and representation of women in the Presidential Council are required to be in place before the start of any elections process.” They recommended that the UN need to work for an equitable representation of women in the preparatory committee for the all-inclusive national conference and all its working committees, so that this conference will create a National Charter that will be the first pillar of national reconciliation.
The participants also recommended that the local and international community should work hard toward reconciliation at all level and for this end the United Nations need to help build state institutions to ensure at least 50 per cent representation of women in every political area. They have also recommended that it is necessary to activate the women empowerment unit; to establish youth parliaments and to give wider powers to the municipal councils.