Heimo Laakkonen - UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia


Gender equality and women’s rights are key to addressing the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and accelerating global development beyond 2015. Gender equality matters in its own right, and as a prerequisite for the health and development of families and societies. The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Framework confronts the discriminatory social norms and practices that underlie gender inequality. Addressing girls’ and women’s rights is not an easy task. The priority is given to a longer and complex framework that addresses the structural causes of gender discrimination and inequality rather than a shorter set of goals. Having a standalone goal on gender equality (SDG5) makes a big difference in mobilizing action and resources. Tackling gender-based violence, unpaid care work, early marriage and harmful practices, among others, are now high on the gender and development agenda.

Addressing discriminatory social norms and institutions has become a new development priority and features strongly across the SDG5 targets. For the first time, girls and their unique needs get the global attention they deserve. Our next challenge after the adoption of the SDGs will be to move towards implementation. The question is how these broad targets and indicators are then adapted to suit the country and regional context. And in this regard we need to have a holistic approach that involves multiple stakeholders and ensure national and regional accountability mechanism. We need to include youth voices, address women and girls’ needs in humanitarian and emergency setting. WE also need to work with men and boys to address the patriarchal system so that there is a clear shift in their attitude towards viewing women and girls as right holders rather than objects of gratification or commodities. Gender inequality is not just a woman’s problem. Gender inequality is a societal and a human rights problem, with a multiplier effect on economies, communities and nations that is truly overwhelming. I strongly believe that the High Level Conference on Achieving Gender Equality, which takes place in Georgia on November 9-10, 2015, will help us to make step forward in our joint efforts to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in ENP Region.

  • 19:00 -
    Welcome Reception hosted by President of Georgia H.E. Giorgi Margvelashvili

    Exhibition “50 Women from Georgia”
  • 09:00 –
  • 010:00 –
    Opening of the Conference
  • 10:30 –

    Exhibition “Women Members of Constituent Assembly 1919-21” presented by Ms. Thea Tsulukiani, Minister of Justice of Georgia
  • 11:00 –
    Thematic Session I – Women's political and economic empowerment cornerstones for the achievement of gender equality
  • 12:30 –
  • Exhibition “Gender Integration in the Georgian Armed Forces” presented by Ms. Tinatin Khidasheli, Minister of Defence of Georgia
  • 13:45 –
    Thematic Session II – Women as agents of positive change in peace and security efforts
  • 15:15 –
    Coffee Break
  • 15:45 –
    Thematic Session III – Joining forces to end violence against women and girls in public and private domains
  • 17:15 –
    Coffee Break
  • 17:30 –
    Adoption of the Tbilisi Declaration and Closing Remarks
  • 20:00 –
    Gala Dinner
Tbilisi Declaration

Draft version

We, the participants of the Conference,

Having gathered at the International High-Level Conference “Achieving Gender Equality – Challenges and opportunities in the European Neighbourhood Policy Region” in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 2015 to renew our strong commitment to gender equality, human rights, the empowerment of women and girls...

Copyright © 2015, Achieving Gender Equality | Tbilisi, Georgia