19 February 2020 – Balkans Group organised the final conference in the framework of the “Fostering the Women Caucus’ role through regional outreach and establishing their relationship with the media” project funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI). The conference was a conclusion to a number of activities that the Balkans Group organised with women MPs, Municipal Assembly members and the media.
The activities included regional consultations between women MPs and Municipal Assembly members in the seven major districts of Kosovo. In addition, Balkans Group organised a workshop with women MPs, Municipal Assembly members and the media in order to enhance their cooperation in covering women caucuses activities.
The discussions were aimed at bridging the communication gap between women decision-makers at these different levels in order to promote a culture of policy coordination with regard to gender-responsive policy-making.
The final conference brought together women MPs from the Kosovo Assembly, women Municipal Assembly members throughout Kosovo, media representatives and the donor community. The aim of the conference was to present a number of recommendations that the Balkans Group developed from the conclusions drawn out of the project activities. These recommendations require the attention of government institutions, independent agencies, and policy-makers at all levels in order to strengthen the role of women in political decision-making as well as creating a more favorable environment for gender-mainstreaming.
The conference featured keynote speeches from H.E. Mrs. Vjosa Osmani, President of the Assembly of Kosovo, H.E. Mr. Alan Bowman, Ambassador of Canada to Croatia and Kosovo and Mrs. Jenny Stenberg Sørvold, Deputy Head of Mission, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Kosovo. In line with the Balkans Group recommendations. H.E. Mrs. Vjosa Osmani argued that “in addition to the political dimension, public institutions should provide support to women to eliminate all barriers that prevent their professional political engagement”.
H.E. Alan Bowman highlighted Canada’s support to women empowerment through financing interventions such as the Balkans Group’s project. The Ambassador underlined that “state administrations that involve more women tend to behave more professionally”.
Mrs. Jenny Stenberg Sørvold shared Norway’s commitment to gender-equal policy-making domestically and its influence internationally. She argued that “Kosovo needs to follow in Norway’s footsteps in advancing gender-equality”.
The conference concluded with a panel discussion titled “strengthening the role of women in decision-making and policy implementation”. The panel was moderated by renowned journalist Mr. Adriatik Kelmendi and hosted women political representatives such as: Mrs. Fatmire Mulhaxha-Kollçaku from LVV, Mrs. Lirije Kajtazi from LDK, Mrs. Blerta Deliu-Kodra from PDK, Mrs. Teuta Haxhiu from AAK, and Mrs. Mirlinda Sadiku, Municipal Assembly member from Vitia.Mrs. Kollçaku and Mrs. Deliu agreed that the presence of women at different stages has played an important role in the state building of Kosovo. The MPs’ stated that in the recent elections there has been an advantage in giving women higher positions.Ms. Teuta Haxhiu highlighted that “The assembly members are the foundation of dealing with the major issues. The foundation has to be strong for the problems that stem from the local level to reach the central one.”
When asked on the issues from an assembly member’s point of view Mrs. Mirlinda Sadiku, reiterated how important it was for the political “cards” to go away when it comes to this important issue.
Ms. Lirije Kajtazi noted that when considering that women contribute to peace in general it would be better to put the focus in working in various reform, therefore we need to be dedicated in respecting the law in gender equality.
The panel discussion covered a number of the recommendations presented by the Balkans Group. Most importantly, it focused substantially on the Balkans Group’s recommendation on enhancing internal-party democracy through gender quota within political party decision-making structures. All panelists agreed that their political parties could do more in promoting women empowerment within executive decision-making. They stressed that role of women at the national level can be strengthened only once parties make the necessary reforms.
The project “Fostering the Women Caucus’ role through regional outreach and establishing their relationship with the media” is funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI)- an initiative of the Government of Canada.