Conference Declaration: We, the women leaders participating in the International Conference on Women’s Leadership for Sustainable Development: Reaffirm the crucial and central role of women in sustainable development and peace; …..

 International Conference on Women's Leadership for Sustainable Development


Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf addresses Women's Leadership Conference in Jerusalem

The President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, UN Deputy Secretary General, Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, and 70 women leaders from 58 countries will participate in the biennial International Women’s Leadership Conference, held by the Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center (MCTC) located in Haifa , a veteran professional extension of MASHAV.

This gathering, the 25th in a series of international conferences held by the MCTC, is being held this year in cooperation with UNESCO and under the auspices of MASHAV – the official body of the State of Israel for international cooperation.

The Conference, to be held on November 18-22, will be attended by government ministers and senior officials, members of parliament, supreme court justices, high-ranking officials from the UN and from many international and regional organizations, and professional women representing civil society and academia.

The Conference will open officially at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem on November 18th, in the presence of the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tzipi Livni.

 International Conference on Women's Leadership for Sustainable Development

Opening ceremony of Women’s Leadership Conference,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem

The theme of the Conference is Women’s Leadership for Sustainable Development. Participants will discuss programs from the gender perspective, and will also visit the Weizmann Institute and Tefen Industrial Park. 

The women leaders will be received by the President of the State of Israel, the Chairman for the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Women, the Chairwoman of the Council of Women’s Organizations, the Mayor of Haifa, and the Mayor of Kiryat Yam.

The objectives of the conference are:

  • to examine and undertake a critical analysis of the role played by women leaders in the process towards  sustainable development
  • to focus on government policies, as well as programs designed by international agencies and NGOs which have an impact on gender parity for socio-economic development
  • to discuss and examine strategies to enhance the participation of women leaders in development policy and the promotion of gender equality.

Conference themes will be presented in plenary sessions with panel presentations, followed by responses from the audience, with simultaneous translation into English, French and Spanish. The participants will work in language groups (workshops) to draw conclusions and propose recommendations. The program will be complemented by visits to places of interest and meetings with public officials.

Plenary sessions will be devoted to natural resources and sustainable development, human resource development, strengthening institutional resources, and developing a global partnership for sustainable development.

The Conference will signal the start of events marking 50 years of international cooperation activities of the Foreign Ministry’s Center for International Cooperation – MASHAV – which was established at the end of 1957, initially as a small unit for international assistance. The visit to Africa that year by Golda Meir, who was then the Foreign Minister of Israel, gave significant impetus to the unit and transformed it into Israel’s international development cooperation program, responsible for designing and implementing training and institutional capacity building programs in a variety of subject matter, in more than 130 countries around the world.

Israel’s Center for International Cooperation, known by its Hebrew acronym MASHAV, was founded in 1958 as part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is responsible for initiating and implementing Israeli’s development cooperation program worldwide. MASHAV aims at transferring the expertise and technologies, which have assisted Israel on its own path to development, to other countries.

Today, Israel cooperates with over 140 countries, providing training in Israel and abroad, operating on-site demonstration projects and building medical infrastructure in partner countries. MASHAV is active in fields ranging from agriculture to medicine and from community development to entrepreneurship.

The Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center (MCTC) was founded in 1961 by MASHAV as the first international training institute to deal with women and development. The Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center devotes its biennial international conferences to topics declared by the United Nations and its specialized agencies as of current international concern. Previous conferences were devoted to The Impact of Women’s Training on Socio-Economic Development (2001), Women’s Voice in Conflict Resolution and Peace-Building (2003), and Migration and Gender Issues within the Millennium Development Goals (2005).

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International Conference
Women’s Leadership for Sustainable Development
18-22 November 2007, Jerusalem and Haifa, Israel


We, the women leaders participating in the International Conference on Women’s Leadership for Sustainable Development:

Reaffirm the crucial and central role of women in sustainable development and peace; and the centrality of peace for sustainable development;

Reaffirm that war is a major cause for environmental destruction and climate change.

Denounce violence and wars and urge countries and nations to make a concerted effort for peaceful conflict resolution.
Demand women’s full and equal participation in peace negotiations and in peace-building processes;

Recall the recognition by the international community of the critical contributions of women to sustainable development in the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development; the Beijing Platform for Action of the 1995 UN Fourth World Conference on Women; the Millennium Declaration and Development Goals (2000); the Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000); the Johannesburg Declaration and Plan of Action of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development; the World Summit Outcome Document (2005) and other key international documents addressing gender equality in the environment and development;

Express our deep appreciation to MASHAV, MCTC and UNESCO on this initiative to amplify women’s voices and women’s action for sustainable development;

Request UNESCO, as the lead agency for the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) and the International Year of the Planet Earth (2008), to actively support women’s increased leadership in the promotion of sustainable development in all its domains and programmes, inter alia in education for sustainable development, global renewable energy education, water resource management (especially fresh water), natural disaster mitigation/management, protection of biodiversity, protection of local and indigenous knowledge systems, man and the biosphere and climate change;

Demand that much more is done to ensure that women’s voices, needs, and contributions are fully and equally heard and acknowledged at all levels and all stages to achieve sustainable development;

Urge governments to uphold human rights and democratic values, including freedom of expression and thought;

Urge that sustainable development policies integrate a gender equality approach in order to eliminate discrimination, violence against women and gender inequalities, and to promote equitable distribution of resources and responsibilities;

Urge the international community – including but not limited – governments at all levels, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations – to:

A. Women and Environment/Sustainable Development:

1. Comply with international commitments and multilateral environmental agreements, particularly in the areas of transfer of technology, capacity building, provision of new and additional financial resources, through efficient and effective mechanisms, and ensure that these benefit women;
2. Ratify the Kyoto Protocol and ensure its full implementation at the national, regional and international levels;
3. Integrate a gender perspective and assure women’s full participation in the ongoing debates on climate change, in particular in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC);

4. Recognize and support the importance of women as watchdogs for environmental protection, and raise public awareness in particular through the media and NGOs, of women’s contribution to and leadership in sustainable development;      

5. Urge countries causing most emissions to take their responsibilities and bear the costs of climate change mitigation and adaptation;

6. Adopt positive incentives that will provide voluntary funding for developing countries that reduces the emissions through diminishing deforestation;

7. Promote the development of new and renewable sources of energy that will diminish the technological gap and reduce poverty of the most vulnerable groups.

8. Ensure support for clean, alternative energy resources and technologies for women, including through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

9. Pool regional resources and competencies, as well as harmonize regional policies in the area of renewable and sustainable energy resources.

10. Adopt, in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity, an international regime on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources and of traditional knowledge; ensuring that this regime benefits women and indigenous communities and guarantees their rights;

11. Promote the sustainable use of natural resources, especially water resources, respecting the rights of women and indigenous communities.

12. Increase investment in programmes and projects to promote protection and sustainable use of natural resources that include a gender perspective and stimulate effective participation of women;

13. Promote creation of national mechanisms for the payment of environmental services that benefit women;

14. Create an enabling environment that acknowledges women’s knowledge and competencies for sustainable development;

15. Recognize that all human beings have the fundamental right to a safe and secure environment, as integrated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity agendas, and therefore it is the responsibility of all countries to protect and preserve that right for the present and future generations;

16. Promote gender sensitive education for sustainable development at all levels, starting at an early age.

B. Human Resource Development

17. Mobilize political will and determination in favour of the increased representation of women in all sectors, in particular in politics and science;

18. Promote targeted policies and affirmative action to guarantee equal representation of women in decision-making at all levels;

19. Promote mentoring of women in public and private institutions to facilitate their career advancement;

20. Empower women to assume public roles by developing and providing them with appropriate tools and skills;

21. Ensure universal formal and non formal quality education for girls and boys with gender-sensitive curricula that promotes women’s leadership in all areas and equal gender relations;

22. Develop education strategies that promote parity and gender equality at all levels of education;

23. Promote women’s full participation in the labour market through relevant education programmes including technical and vocational training;

24. Build women’s leadership in sciences as researchers, innovators and policy makers;

25. Encourage establishment of networks between public and private sectors and civil society in support of gender mainstreaming in policies;

26. Promote the exchange of experiences of transformative leadership, including the development of case studies and good practices among women.

C. Strengthening institutional resources

27. Establish oversight mechanisms to ensure transparent and regular monitoring, reporting and evaluation particularly of budget allocations, by public institutions, parliaments and civil society;

28. Mobilize public and private sector funding in support of women’s empowerment and leadership and gender equality  in sustainable development;

29. Strengthen judicial systems and the capacities of judges in the areas of sustainable development, women’s rights and gender equality;

30. Participate in and support NGOs, women in environment; the Network of Women Ministers of Environment and environmental ministries;

31. Ensure effective implementation of anti-corruption measures at the national, regional and global levels in relation to sustainable development;

32. Ensure enhanced south-south and  north-south-south (trilateral) international cooperation in sustainable development built on mutual accountability and participation of all stakeholders.