The European Union (EU) has made commitments to promote
gender equality and women’s empowerment outside its borders. As stated in the
"2006-2010 Roadmap for Equality Between Women and Men", "Gender equality
is a goal in itself, a human right and contributes to reducing poverty. The EU
is a key player in international development efforts and adheres to
internationally recognised principles such as the Millennium Development
Declaration and the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA). It has reaffirmed gender
equality as one of the five key principles of the development policy in the
European Consensus on development." Although the EU’s different levels of
commitment provide third countries with opportunities to address gender
inequalities on their domestic soil, challenges remain to bring these
commitments into effect.
Civil society organizations point at the gap between policy
and practice: an overview of the European Commission’s annual work, legislative
programmes and policy strategy documents reveals a limited integration of gender
concerns. Furthermore, the participation of civil society organizations (CSOs)
and mainly women’s groups in policy discussion and formulation lacks a clear
mechanism, despite the obligation of EU institutions to support a political
dialogue with them. As an active promoter of gender equality, the International
Gender Policy Network (IGPN) intends to engage in a dialogue with the
Commission’s Delegations in the countries of Eastern Europe, South-eastern
Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia in the matter of the upcoming revision of the
country and regional strategy documents (Country Strategy Papers, Regional
Strategy Papers, Multi-annual Indicative Planning Documents). The IGPN has taken
the opportunity of the midterm-review and the annual review of the
country/regional strategy documents to highlight the weaknesses of development
cooperation and pre-accession assistance in terms of gender concerns, and to
advocate for improvements.
Within the framework of this advocacy activity, the IGPN has
prepared twenty two Advocacy Cards for individual countries linked with IGPN,
and one common Regional Advocacy Card. The aim of this advocacy work is to
remind the European and national representatives of their policy commitments.
The Advocacy Card for EC pre-accession assistance to Macedonia firstly provides
an overview of EU’s commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Secondly, the strategy document for Macedonia is examined in the context of the
EU’s commitments to gender equality. Next, an assessment of
gender issues in EC’s assistance to Macedonia is presented.
Finally, recommendations are proposed to the actors involved in various degrees
in the preparation of the strategy document: the EU officials, national
government and civil society organizations.