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Regionalkonferenz in Serbien: Gleichstellung, Road Maps und Europäische Integration

Ein Ergebnis aus dem von mir im November gemeinsam mit meinem Kollegen Christian Raschke geleiteten Workshop GenderDiversity in Europe ist der Ausbau gleichstellungspolitischer Netzwerke zwischen staatlichen und zivilgesellschaftlichen ExpertInnen im Bereich Training und Qualifizierung.

Bei der vom Ministerium für Arbeit und Sozialpolitik in Belgrad vom 12-13 Dezember im „Palace of Serbia“ ausgerichteten Tagung ging u.a. um die Frage, wie institutioneller Kompetenzaufbau im Bereich Gender&Diversity gestaltet werden kann.

Schlussfolgerungen der aus der Konferenz von den Veranstalterinnen formuliert finden Sie hier: ReferentInnen aus der Europäischen Kommission, aus Nachbarländern u.a.aus Ungarn, Bulgarien und Albanien diskutierten über regionale und politische Herausforderungen bei der Umsetzung von Gender Mainstreaming.

Kontakt: Vesna Jaric,

The Republic of Serbia
Gender Equality Directorate
Date: 12 January 2009

Gender Equality Directorate of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the first executive institutional mechanism for gender equality in the Republic of Serbia, organized an international

Regional conference: Gender equality and EU accession

held on 12-13 December 2008 in the Palace of Serbia, Belgrade, under the auspice of the President of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Boris Tadic.

The conference was organized at the highest-level attracting over 300 participants, including:
Representatives of institutional mechanisms of the countries that have successfully completed the accession process and have become EU member states (Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania)
Representatives of the countries in the region, still in the process of EU accession (Serbia, former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina),
Gender equality experts from Spain and Germany,
Ministers and representatives from the Ministries of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, members of the Gender Equality Council of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, representatives from the Provincial and local gender equality bodies,
Representatives from the local self-governments,
Eminent person in public life, representatives from Non-governmental organizations and distinguished guests Representatives of donor community

The conference was opened by the Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Dr Rasim Ljajic, who together with Ms Rini Reza, acting Resident representative of UNDP, officially signed $3 million project “Combating sexual and gender-based violence”. The project will be implemented over the next three years, and was made possible with the financial help from the Royal Norwegian Government and expert/technical/international standards harmonization help from UNDP.

Regional conference was organized with the goal of attaining concrete suggestions and recommendations from the aspect of gender equality, ensuring full comprehension of international and EU standards in the domain of gender equality, exchange of regional experiences when it comes to issues of legislation, defining the action policies, sharing expert knowledge and skills in mainstreaming gender equality in governmental strategies/programs and its implementation.


During the two-day regional conference, a series of conclusions and recommendations was formulated based on the presentations made by the guests and through active discussions. For greater clarity, we have broken it down into sections.

General conclusions and recommendations

1. Improving the position of women in society and the implementation of gender equality principles in all the spheres of public and private life poses a developmental question, and reflects a degree of integration of civilizational inheritance and European values in the democratic society.

2. Gender equality is in the best interest of all women, men, and society as a whole. Work on closing the gap in the resource availability, access to decision-making positions, as well as establishing gender balance in the spheres of public and private life requires effort by all key stakeholders in the society, starting with the local community, civil society organizations, political parties, social partners through to state institutional system. Therefore, gender equality is a transverse questions and requires diverse alliances and coalitions, both within the country (cooperation of state institutions with the civil society through mechanisms for gender equality at all levels, transverse party coalition for gender equality etc), and across the border (regional and international cooperation).

Promoting regional cooperation

Taking into consideration the fact that the countries in the Region, participants at the Conference, share similar historical experiences, and aspirations, in the sense that:
They have all evolved through Socialistic/Communistic development,
All of them are in some form of transition process from communist/socialist state system to democratic state system,
All had, or still have the goal of joining EU.
Given that the position of women in these societies (there are exceptions) share similar characteristics due to socio-historical circumstances and economical development during Socialistic / Communistic era, women at that time formally shared equality with men, but in reality they were unable to fully utilize the gender equality principle.
The process of integration and EU accession assumes ongoing process of change broken down into various stages, one of which is transposition of EU primary and secondary legislation into the national legislation (acquis communautaire).
Conference participants were of an opinion that it is of utmost importance to establish continuous and coordinated information exchange between the countries in the region, about the progress, achievements and greatest challenges in the domain of gender equality in reference to the EU ascension.

3. With the goal of defining the framework of regional cooperation, the attendees agreed with the suggestion to formulate the “Declaration of dedication to cooperation in the area of gender equality” (hereinreffered to as: the Declaration). The Declaration will be drafted by the Gender Equality Directorate of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of the Republic of Serbia, after which it will be disseminated to all interested parties, via formal communication paths, seeking feedback. Following the consultations the Declaration will be signed in Belgrade at the next regional conference.

4. Conference participants agreed that there is a need to have periodic regional conferences with a goal of:
Experience exchange, best practises,
Defining joint strategies and action policies in the domain of gender equality at the regional level,
Informing on the progress of gender mainstreaming in the institutions and political systems at the national, local and provincial level,

5. In May 2008, the Regional Council for Cooperation was established, as a substitute for the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. Participants at the conference recommended strengthening the component of gender equality in the work of the Regional Council for Cooperation, through recognition of the efforts (periodic reporting by the Regional Council for Cooperation), introducing the component related to the progess attained in the area of gender equality as well as defining an Annual Operating Plan at the regional level. There is also a need for advocating for the establishment of the regional strategic framework for the introduction of gender equality policy and encouraging public debate on the theme.

6. The importance of broadening the cooperation with the old and the new EU member states in the area of gender equality.

7. Strengthening cooperation for coordinated lobbying and joint application for the access to EU funds (e.g. IPA)


I The European Union ascension

8 Consensus around the significance of introducing gender component into all spheres and governmental policies (gender mainstreaming), and de facto gender equality

9. Identification of gender equality issue by the high level of national government (at least the ministerial one), as a developmental, essential and engaging step in the process of EU ascension Understanding gender equality as an international obligation and an important aspect of the development.:
– at the level of harmonization of national legislature with binding directives in the gender equality area
– at the level of adoption of the set of anti-discriminatory laws, among others Gender Equality Law, Anti-discrimination Law.
– at the level of defining and urgently adopting the National strategies and Action plans for the improvement of the position of women and promotion of gender equality.

10. Consensus around the usefullness of utilizing Impact Assessment analysis tools for the establishment of the gender balance.

11. Consensus around the necessity of introduction of gender-sensitive collection of data as a basis for formulating information-based policies

12. Consensus around the necessity of the recognition and allocation of funds at the level of the Budget for the activities related to gender equality, as well as gender-sensitive budget analysis and introduction of gender-responsive budgeting into practical development of the Budget for the state institutions at all levels (local, provincial, central/national).

13. Consensus around the need to strengthen the capacities and the mandate, as well as allocating resources forthe gender equality insitutional mechanisms at the national, provincial/entity and local level.

14. Consensus around the importance of clear definition of gender indicators in specific projects/strategies/action plans and similar, in all domains.


15. Gender equality institutional mechanisms at the local self-government level represent important stakeholders for the improvement of the position of women through targeted activities and strategies while recognising the specific needs of the local community. Also, such mechanisms have particular significance in networking with other local stakeholders in this field, e.g., civil society organizations, and forming favourable conditions for synergic acting of the institutions and civil society organizations in the domain of gender equality. Institutional mechanisms at the local level play an important role in implementing strategies and policies defined at the central, national level, making sure that in the process of implementation of such policies, the context and specificity of the local community is taken into account. Therefore the recommendation is to encourage establishment and strengthening of the gender equality institutional mechanisms at the local level with a goal of valorizing the capacities and resources (local self-government, civil soiety organizations), promotion of the synergic activities in the field of gender equality and implementation of priorities set in the National strategy/action policy through a variety of local community needs.

16. Consensus around the importance of the implementation of the European Charter on Gender Equality at the local level, as an instrument for lobbying and advocating for the systemic establishment of gender equality institutional mechanisms at the local level


17. Civil society organizations represent one of the pillars of the democratic society. In the area of gender equality, women’s feministic movement contributed significantly to the improvement of the position of women, combating women’s human rights, and contributing to visibility of women’s resources and capacities and their contribution through history. In the Balkans, the movement had a great role in maintaining the connection and good cross-border relations during the 90s and by doing so it represented an important factor in peace and stability and post-conflict rebuilding.
Experience and the role of women’s movement needs to be maintаined, valorized, and found an adequate cooperation modalities with the already established institutional mechnisms for gender equality within the state administration, creating favourable grounds for mutual recognition of the intervention domain, exchange of visions with the objectives and priorities, and defining the areas for cooperation and synergic activity with the overall goal of improving the position of women and the promotion of gender equality.

18. Considering that the women’s non-governmental organizations are mainly active within the local community, and being knowledgable about the territory and grassroot level, recommendation is for the local gender equality mechanisms to establish and promote opportunities for the consultations with such organizations.

19. European Women’s Lobby (EWL) represents an efficient example of the power of voice of the women’s movement in Europe, and the involvement of the national representatives in the work of the same is of key strategic importance with the goal of monitoring the participation in the EU activities.


20. Active regional cooperation opens up an opportunity for mutual lobbying for clearly defining the involvement of gender equality as one of the priorities for IPA funds, as well as for other EU funds. There should be on the level of recommendations for the use of structural funds willingness in EC for prioritizing gender equality and setting aside some funds for gender equality projects per se, rather than seeing GE as just a cross-cutting issue.

21. Active regional cooperation will produce joint project proposals in the domain of gender equality and the improvement of the position of women, that would further strengthen the cooperation of these countries, through the development of concrete developmental activites.