By Sara Rajabova
Baku is hosting the fifth Ministerial Conference on the Role of Women in the Development of the OIC Member States.
The conference kicked off on October 21 with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran. It is attended by more than 220 delegates from nearly 60 countries, AzerTag news agency reported.
Head of the Humanitarian Policy Department at the Azerbaijani President`s Administration Fatma Abdullazade read out President Ilham Aliyev`s message to the participants of the conference.
Chair of the fourth conference, Indonesian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Raden Prayono Atiyanto hailed the organization of the conference.
Underlining the importance of developing women`s role in the society, Prayono Atiyanto said the previous conference was held in Jakarta and very important decisions were adopted. He expressed confidence that the Baku conference would contribute to the protection of women`s rights and expansion of their role in society.
Prayono Atiyanto expressed regret over the existence of different obstacles to strengthening women`s role in society, especially increasing their activities in political field.
"A lot of works must be done to remove the obstacles. Women`s economic freedom and gender issue are still a main problem in some countries. The aim of the conference is to combine our efforts to resolve the problems facing women, and we believe that we can accomplish the mission," he said.
Hijran Huseynova, Chairperson of State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs highlighted the agenda of the conference, noting that the conference is aimed at reviewing the progress made in promoting the status of women and strengthening their role in the OIC Member States.
Huseynova further said the gender problem could be settled only by well-educated and experienced women. She provided an insight into the Azerbaijani government`s policy towards strengthening a family institute, protecting the rights of women and children, and ensuring gender equality.
Touching upon Armenia`s military aggression against Azerbaijan, the Committee chair noted that more than a million of Azerbaijanis, including 400,000 women and 300,000 children are living as refugees and IDPs. She also underlined women`s role at parliamentary and municipal levels.
Muhammad Naeem Khan, Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in turn, expressed gratitude to Azerbaijan`s First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva for the organization of the conference.
He said such conferences open up wide opportunities for women in the process of development.
"We have to combine our efforts to eliminate problems that women face," Naeem Khan said.
Heimo Laakkonen, Director of UNFPA`s Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia also hailed Mehriban Aliyeva's efforts for supporting the conference.
Laakkonen stressed that women must play a role in adoption of international norms.
Speaking on the UNFPA-OIC cooperation, Laakkonen said great success has been achieved in reducing the number of maternal deaths during child-bearing, protecting honor and dignity of women and enlightening them.
Later, the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs of Azerbaijan and the Jordanian National Commission for Women signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the sidelines of the conference.
The document was inked by chairperson of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs Huseynova and Secretary General of the Jordanian National Commission for Women Salma Nims.
The MoU will see the two countries develop cooperation and exchange experiences.
The fifth Ministerial Conference on the Role of Women in the Development of the OIC Member States will end on October 21 with the adoption of Baku Declaration.