On 9 and 10 November 2015, Tbilisi will host the International High-Level Conference: Achieving Gender Equality - Challenges and Opportunities in the European Neighbourhood Policy Region.
The Conference is organised by the Georgian Foreign Ministry in partnership with the UN and the European Union.
Around 250 representatives of the ENP countries will be invited to participate in the High-Level Conference along with representatives of EU institutions and EU Member States. Activists and scholars from governmental and non-governmental organisations and academia along with representatives of UN entities, OSCE and the Council of Europe and NATO will be also invited to attend.
On 10 November, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission Federica Mogherini and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (RBEC) Cihan Sultanoğlu will open the High-Level Conference. Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili will hold an official reception for participants of the Conference.
The Conference will focus on three major themes: women's political and economic empowerment; enhancement of women’s role in peace and security efforts; ending violence against women and girls. The aim of the Conference is to set a precedent for conducting a regular dialogue on advancement of women’s rights and gender equality and for sharing experience in this regard.
Participants of the Conference will adopt Tbilisi Declaration. The document aims at reinforcing commitments undertaken both locally and internationally towards promoting gender equality and women’s rights.
Keynote speakers during the Conference will include: Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia Marina Kaljurand, Minister of Justice of Georgia Thea Tsulukiani, Minister of Defence of Georgia Tinatin Khidasheli, United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences Dubravka Šimonovic, NATO Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security Marriët Schuurman, First Vice-Presidentof the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic Jaroslava Jermanová, Senator of the Parliament of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria Hafida Benchehida, Secretary General of the National Commission for Women of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Salma Nims, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Nataliia Galibarenko, Public Defender of Georgia Ucha Nanuashvili, others.
The Georgian Government has taken a series of important steps towards ensuring gender equality and women’s rights in the past few years. In 2014 Georgia signed the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence; In 2014, Georgia signed the Association Agreement with the European Union, one of the paragraphs of which calls on Georgia to enhance women’s rights and their role in decision making; in March 2015, the President and the Speaker of the Parliament openly declared their support for the introduction of mandatory political quotas to increase women’s participation in politics; 2015 was declared as the Year of Women by the President of Georgia.