Akcija Zdruzhenska on 28th September 2016 in Skopje organized regional conference “Promoting Gender Equality Values: Civil Society for Social Change” where 58 women activists from Macedonia and Kosovo, representatives of key international actors, local and national institutions discussed the potentials of gender equality policies to produce change, and identifying possible strategies to be implemented by the civil society having into consideration policy priorities, resources, participation and advocacy opportunities.
The first session “Gender Equality Policy Effectiveness – Where do we Stand?” was focused on civil society perspectives of the potentials of the current policies in achieving changes in regards to women’s empowerment, access to power, resources and services, and public discourse (norms and values). Key contextual challenges and possible transformative strategies to be implemented by the civil society were also addressed.
The second session “Commitments to Gender Equality – Local, National and Regional Perspective” was focused on the latest policy developments and commitments of the key international policy actors in support of gender equality on national and regional level. Representatives from UN WOMEN, EU Delegation in Skopje, NALAS and Resident Twinning Advisor from the EU Twinning Project “Support to the Implementation of Gender Equality” provided information on their future policy priorities, resources and strategic opportunities for civil society advocacy and cooperation.
The last session “Local Women’s Voices” provided space among local organizations from Macedonia and Kosovo to discuss and explore the common priority issues, outreach strategies and cooperation opportunities, based on their experiences and involvement during the project implementation including cross border cooperation.
The conference resulted with future directions for action in promoting gender equality as a value not as a bureaucratic obligation, also were identified concrete solutions for positioning of the civil sector focused on women’s right bearing in mind the key challenges that are facing and considering the wider political, economic and social context.
The regional conference was organized within the project “Equality and Gender Mainstreaming Across Borders”, supported by the EU in the framework of the IPA instrument for cross – border cooperation between Macedonia and Kosovo, implemented by Akcija Zdruzhenska Skopje and Kosovar Gender Studies Center Prishtina, in partnership with Community Development Institute Tetovo and the Centre for Counseling and Support for women Dora-Dores Prizren.