UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis Statement on International Women’s Day

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis paid tribute today to the efforts, sacrifices and achievements made by women in different fields in Lebanon and encouraged more inclusion of women in decision-making positions. Noting this year’s international theme: Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change, the Special Coordinator said, “Women are already making commendable contributions in different fields in Lebanon whether as political leaders, journalists, lawyers, judges, engineers, pilots, bankers, teachers, academics, military servicewomen and in many other professions,” the Special Coordinator said. “But,” he added, “more needs to be done to ensure women reach leadership positions and are included in decision-making roles.”  


Mr. Kubis met this morning with Minister of Interior Raya El-Hassan and congratulated her on her appointment as the first woman Minister of Interior in Lebanon and the Arab world. “This shows that barriers can be broken ultimately for the benefit of Lebanon and its people,” Mr. Kubis said. The Special Coordinator welcomed the increased representation of women in the new Cabinet and hoped this will pave the way for increased female participation in Lebanon’s political sphere. There are currently four women out of 30 Cabinet ministers and only five women are serving in Lebanon’s Parliament of currently 127 members.


“At the United Nations, Secretary-General António Guterres has set gender parity as one of his priorities and this has already been achieved in the Organization’s senior management team,” the Special Coordinator added. The objective is to now achieve gender parity throughout UN ranks. Similarly, Lebanon and other countries are encouraged to take pro-active measures to involve more women in leadership positions and across the board.


Women’s empowerment and gender equality have been recognized as essential for achieving long-term peace, security and development as highlighted by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals that was adopted by all UN member States in 2015 as well as by a series of UN conventions and resolutions.


Despite that, many legal, cultural and social barriers continue to restrict women’s potential and rights. The Special Coordinator hoped that in addition to the adoption of necessary laws and their implementation, efforts are exerted in all sectors in Lebanon to ensure inclusion and participation of women and that their rights are upheld.


Special Coordinator Kubis said the United Nations, through its different agencies, funds and programmes stands ready to support Lebanon in achieving the objective of gender equality and women empowerment in line with the broader efforts to promote Lebanon’s sustainable development, stability and security. 


The United Nations has observed International Women’s Day on 8 March since 1975.