Gender Equality and Gender-Based Violence Programme
What is this programme about
In recent years Albania has improved the status of women and promoted gender equality. However, the country still faces many challenges in terms of fully displaying and utilising the women’s potential in the labour market and economy, increasing participation in decision-making and eradicating the widespread violence against women, particularly in the family realm. In addition, the country still needs to strengthen its legislative and institutional framework pertaining to gender equality and non-discrimination, improve monitoring and accountability of public offices towards women as well as ensure gender mainstreaming in public policies.
The UNDP Gender Equality Programme supports the implementation of appropriate policies and mechanisms that promote human rights and advance women’s empowerment.
The programme works with a wide array of public authorities, civil society organisations, the media and citizens at large in order to improve national capacities on gender issues as well as to increase public demand for human rights and gender equality.
The Gender Equality Programme assists the Albanian lawmakers to improve their monitoring capacities in the implementation of gender equality and human rights legislation. It provides technical assistance to crucial independent institutions such as the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination and the People’s Advocate to enable them to advocate more efficiently for gender equality and elimination of sexual discrimination.
The Programme works closely with citizens, women groups in particular, and encourages public demand for human rights and gender equality. Awareness raising activities with men and women, youth, marginalized groups and communities at large are expected to increase the interaction between public authorities and Albanian citizens.
Continuous support is being provided to the Albanian Government in terms of gender mainstreaming and legislative changes that will make the country fully compliant with international standards. The Programme provides training for police officers, judges, prosecutors, social service providers, health workers, teachers, psychologists, local and central level civil servants so that the law enforcement agencies improve their understanding and the application of gender equality commitments, ensuring gender mainstreaming in local and central policy making processes and guarantee of women’s rights.
Combating gender-based and domestic violence through the Coordinated Community Response against domestic violence remains a priority. This is a referral mechanism that involves the entire community, from local government units to law enforcement agencies, health care providers, judges and prosecutors.
In September 2015, Albania adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), alongside all other Member States of the United Nations. Going forward, the SDGs present similarly strong entry points, especially for social inclusion (SDG10), gender equality (SDG5), governance and rule of law (SDG 16), employment (SGD 8) and climate change and resilience (SDG13 and 9).
What have we accomplished so far?
The Gender Equality Programme assists vulnerable women with awareness activities about their economic rights and promotes women’s entrepreneurship.
• The staff of the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination and of the People’s Advocate has now stronger skills in addressing discrimination based on sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
• The Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination (CPD) handled 15 complaints in 2011 compared to 172 new cases in 2014, issued 32 decisions plus 12 ex officio cases and filed 18 court cases on discriminatory practices. In 2015, CPD handled 288 cases, out of which 180 complaints submitted by citizens (82 men and 89 women), 3 from citizens groups and 7 by NGOs and issued 20 ex-officio cases.
• The number of women in Parliament grew from 16.4% in 2009 to 20.7% in 2014; the number of women in municipal councils grew from 12.2% in 2011 to 35% in 2015 Women mayors grew from 4.6% in 2011 to 14,7% in 2015.
• In view of the recent legal electoral advances and following Albania’s administrative-territorial reform, in 2015 the Albanian School of Public Administration with the UNDP support developed one tailored course on strengthened leadership skills and performance in decision-making for councilwomen and women employees in the newly amalgamated municipalities’ administration. Over 20 council women and women in appointed leading positions in municipalities were successfully trained.Civil society organisations have initiated 7 strategic litigation cases and are monitoring court decisions to see how they uphold (or not) women’s human rights.
• New amendments to the Criminal Code better address gender-based violence and bring Albania closer to the CEDAW.
• Over 300 magistrates and other legal professionals have completed gender equality and domestic violence programmes.
• The State Police Academy assessed and upgraded the current training curricula on gender based violence and domestic violence as per the mandates of the state police forces in preventing and eliminating GBV & DV in the country, in view of the latest legal improvements of the domestic related legislation and newly ratified international treaties. 23 trainers from the State Police Academy were trained on acquiring pedagogical skills in their future capacity building work with police staff using this upgraded training curricula and modules.
• Over 520 police officers around the country have increased their professional capacities in the direct applicability of policy and procedures for the treatment of cases of harassment and sexual harassment in State Police and over 120 police officers completed trainings on domestic violence and their role in the Domestic Violence community coordination response team.
• Four municipalities with gender-sensitive local development plans and two more with processes that involve women in public consultations and local decision-making. In view with the new territorial division, 26 amalgamated municipalities developed engendered local operational development plans.
• National Shelter for survivors of domestic violence offers recreational and economic opportunities through rehabilitation and reintegration programs for domestic violence survivors and their children.
• Staff of the shelter and members of the local coordinated community response mechanisms trained on an effective cooperation aiming at prevention and referral of domestic violence cases.
• Drafted standards of hotline services provided to victims of DV.
• Several economic empowerment initiatives in four regions are providing new options for the poorest of women to assist them establish local entrepreneurship aiming at their sustainable economic empowerment and build resilient lives.
• Economic literacy program of women, conducted in 5 regions of the country, Burrel, Saranda, Vlora, Korça and Durres, reached out to local community vulnerable women and relevant state and non-state bodies emphasizing women’s rights, duties and protecting mechanisms in family, marital, work and property relations as well as on the role and responsibilities of local state bodies to the appropriate implementation of these rights and safeguards.
• In four districts, Kavaja, Kruja, Saranda, and Erseka, the community coordinated response mechanisms (CCR) against domestic violence are established. Alongside, in Burrel and Permet the existing CCRs are further consolidated and expanded not only in the center towns but also in the rural settlements. 27 out of 61 municipalities have established coordinated referral mechanisms with the support of UN agencies. Further work is planned to set up new CCRs and strengthen existing ones in all 61 municipalities.
• In 2014 an online system to track multidisciplinary response to domestic violence was installed at both central and local level. The number of reported cases during 2014 - 2015 reached 1212 compared to 400 in 2013.
• Due to an increased level of awareness, victims of domestic violence and their families reported 4000 cases to State Police in 2015 as compared to 204 cases in 2006. This has resulted into an increase of the reported cases to police with 30% in 2015 as compared to 2014.
• Adoption of the National Action Plan on Involvement of Men and Boys as Partners to Women and Girls in Challenging Gender Stereotypes and Combating Gender Based Violence (GBV) and its implementation as part of the Secretary General's UNiTE campaign, is breaking the myth that GBV is a woman’s issue.
• A tradition has been well established to conduct awareness raising activities on gender equality and against domestic violence particularly during the 16 days of activism against violence against women and joined the UN SG’s campaign UNiTe to End Violence against Women. These activities were designed to change popular attitudes towards gender discrimination and domestic violence as well as to inform citizens of their rights pursuant to gender equality and domestic violence legislation. Since 2012 the focus of these campaigns has shifted from “know your rights” activities towards a movement for men and boys involvement in combatting VAW. For 2014, the UNiTe Campaign had a wide impact. While the number of men involved in this movement is rising by the day, campaign pictures and products, referring to UN SG’s initiative to orange the world have received global attention. Over 1000 young boys and girls benefited directly from the campaign and over 400,000 people from the community were reached through social and electronic media.
Who Finances it?
Swedish government has contributed to the UN Coherence Fund to support gender equality development work of this Programme