Normative and Institutional Frameworks for Gender Equality-critical for EU Integration
Your Excellency Minister Gjosha,
Your Excellency Minister Veliaj,
Your Excellency Ms. Bregu,
Excellency Ambassador Sequi,
Dear Mr. Wilton,
Dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
This event very smartly highlights the link between gender equality and the principles of European integration. Thank you, Mme. Minister for taking this important initiative.
Albania has come a long way with the normative gender equality framework, starting from ratification of major human rights instruments, to developing a Constitution that supports human rights and non-discrimination; all the way to adopting specific legislation guaranteeing gender equality and women’s rights – the Gender Equality Law and the Law on Protection from Discrimination.
I am also proud to note that the United Nations has supported Albania in adopting the equality and discrimination legal package, and in introducing the quota for women’s participation in politics and decision making. We have worked on the social protection legislation and the Criminal Code from the gender perspective, especially with a view to ending the scourge of violence against women. We have cooperated in preparing the important bylaws and secondary legislation for the Domestic Violence Law. This normative framework of equality and non-discrimination brings Albania closer to universal standards and to the European acquis – at least de jure.
There are still some shortcomings in the normative framework that either discriminate against women or affect women disproportionately. UNDP has provided critical analysis and legal review of the gaps and nonconformities of the national legal corpus from the perspective of CEDAW and EU directives. We are confident that you will find the draft amendments developed as part of this package of use, and will rely on them while moving forward for transposition of EU directives into Albanian law and reflection of European Court of Justice case law in legal texts and practice. Thus, the normative package, that is the de jure part of the preparations should soon be complete.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As you well know, however, true equality and discrimination are de facto – that is they are experienced in real lives of men and women. Therefore, implementation of the normative framework is the critical link. The United Nations in Albania has worked with and will continue to work in strengthening law enforcement and justice sector, so that there is more internalization of the rationale of this improved legislation and readiness to implement. Translation of this normative framework into effective policies, plans, programs and budgets is also an area which the UN supports and is prepared to further extend support.
International best practice has shown that cross-cutting issues such as gender equality require advocates within Government, to ensure implementation across sectors, or what is generally referred to as mainstreaming.
The Albanian gender machinery was for the first time mandated through a legislative act, laying the ground for some more stability of its structural entities. Under the new Gender Equality Law, the Council of Ministers, ministers and local government units are vested with particular obligations to guarantee, promote and monitor equality between men and women in this country. The UN has been supporting many of these public offices, such as the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Defense, the Albanian State Police and several municipalities to establish and strengthen their Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities units, with dedicated employees, capable of advocating for the effective mainstreaming of gender concerns in sectorial policies, programs and budgets. You’ll have the chance later on this morning to hear more on the operational work supported by the UN in Albania through my UNWOMEN colleague.
I wish you success in today’s deliberations and conclude that in this path towards gender equality, European integration and implementation of international standards, we will stand by Albania’s side.