Regional conference Advancing the Gender Equality Agenda in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Nov 29, 2016
Regional conference Advancing the Gender Equality Agenda in the Western Balkans and Turkey

The regional conference on gender equality in Western Balkans and Turkey will be an opportunity to take stock of implementation of gender equality standards including Istanbul Convention and role of national mechanism for gender equality to push this agenda forward. UNDP in collaboration with UN Women and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will bring together key actors in governments, parliaments, civil society and international organizations for a two-day exchange on the successes and challenges in fulfilling pre-accession gender equality standards.

The key objective is the creation of a Western Balkans Regional Gender Equality Platform for the Western Balkans and Turkey. The platform will emphasize that countries aspiring to fulfil the EU gender equality standards must respect equality between women and men, have institutions guaranteeing and protecting women’s rights, and have strong supporting structures for the enforcement of the gender equality acquis and implementation of key legal instruments, in particular the Istanbul Convention, as well as gender equality targets as outlined in the SDGs and the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy.

On the first day, the participants will:

• Examine gender equality issues at national and regional levels, including the capacities of gender equality mechanisms and women in decision-making, to promote and implement gender mainstreaming in policies

• Identify areas for cooperation to enhance regional efforts towards gender equality and women’s empowerment

On the second day, the participants will:

• Discuss the challenges related with the implementation of the Istanbul Convention

• Identify actions for decision-making structures and responsible agencies to strengthen implementation of policies to eliminate violence against women and girls

Expected outputs

1) Common declaration on joint efforts to promote gender equality

• Revitalized cooperation between national stakeholders to deliver more effectively on UN, EU and national gender equality and women’s empowerment obligations;

• Synergies created between national and regional levels to strengthen democratic values, social justice, the rule of law, and the protection of rights of women;

• Strengthened support for gender quality priorities to advance the SDGs

• Identification of possible sources of financing for region-wide initiatives

2) Strengthened political commitment for gender mainstreaming in policies

• Enhanced roles of women in decision-making (parliament, government entities, judiciary)

• Enhanced dialogue between and men and women for gender-sensitive policy making

• Identification of common goals for the Western Balkans and Turkey and joint actions for the promotion of gender equality

3) Better understanding of the current status of victim protection and prevention of domestic violence

• Review of strategic initiatives and implementation mechanisms to achieve Istanbul Convention standards

• Identification of action points to address gaps in service provision and ensure effective regional progress towards achieving the set goals outlined by the Istanbul Convention


• Representatives of gender equality mechanisms from the Western Balkans and Turkey (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey)

• Representatives of relevant institutions mandated for protection and prevention of violence against women (police, social welfare, lawyers, judiciary, health, education)

• Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

• Members of parliaments and assemblies

• Civil society representatives

• Relevant UNDP, UN Women and other UN regional and Country Office representatives

• EU Commission and European Union Directorate representatives from the Western Balkans and Turkey

• Representatives of donor agencies