Press Release: UN Women launches a new initiative to promote gender-responsive policies and budgets in the Republic of North Macedonia

UN Women, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency – Sida, organized an event to launch the UN Women project “Promoting Gender-Responsive Policies and Budgets: Towards Transparent, Inclusive and Accountable Governance in the Republic of North Macedonia” on 29 March 2019 in Skopje.

Date: Wednesday, April 3, 2019

 

Mila Carovska, the Minister of Labour and Social Policy opens the event. Photo: UN Women/Mirjana Nedeva
Mila Carovska, the Minister of Labour and Social Policy opening the event. Photo: UN Women/Mirjana Nedeva

(Skopje, 29 March) – Around 100 participants, including high-level government representatives, representatives from central and local self-government units, civil society organizations, academia and gender experts, gathered to discuss and highlight gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) as a tool to close gender gaps, end gender inequalities and ensure that institutions respond to the needs of the most vulnerable. The event provided a platform to present the results achieved so far in GRB and agree on future steps.

The aim of the event was to share successful results of gender-responsive policies and budgeting initiatives in the Republic of North Macedonia and elaborate on innovative approaches and activities foreseen in the new project.

Mila Carovska, the Minister of Labour and Social Policy. Photo: UN Women/Mirjana Nedeva
Mila Carovska, the Minister of Labour and Social Policy. Photo: UN Women/Mirjana Nedeva

Mila Carovska, the Minister of Labour and Social Policy opened the event, stating, ‘’Gender-responsive budgets are key for enabling equal opportunities for women and men. The only way to show that our commitment for achieving gender equality is true, and not a declarative one, is to make budgets gender responsible.’’ Minister Carovska added, ‘’UN Women project to promote gender-responsive policies and budgets is very important for all of us, for empowering women and for building an equal society in which finances are distributed in a more equitable way.’’

Jovana Trenchevska, the State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, said, ‘‘With the support of UN Women, we will jointly work on developing comprehensive analysis of the Law on Equal Opportunities of Women and Men in order to identify the necessary amendments that would strengthen the efficiency of the gender equality mechanisms and align the new Law with international standards.’’

The Minister for Local Self Government, Suhejl Fazliu, noted that the Ministry is fully supporting the the implementation of gender-responsive budgeting at the local level. “With transparent, inclusive and responsible municipal governance, the local authorities should provide an environment for greater inclusion of the citizens and representation of women in the decision-making processes. We will support them in that line,’’ said Minister Fazliu. He also noted that ‘’gender responsive budgeting is an important segment in the process of democratization of the society, which will be strengthened with greater inclusion of women in politics and society.”

"Gender inequality represents a big barrier towards sustainable development and economic growth. This is why gender equality is a global priority for Switzerland and why we are committed to equitable governance, to equal rights and conditions for women and men, boys and girls,’’ said Н.Е. Sybille Suter, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Republic of North Macedonia.

From left to right: Jovana Trenchevska State Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ms. Alia El-Yassir, Regional Director Europe & Central Asia Regional Office, UN Women, Н.Е. Mr. Mats Staffansson, Ambassador, Embassy of Sweden, Mr. Suhejl Fazliu, Minister, Ministry of Local Self Government, Н.Е. Ms. Sybille Suter, Ambassador, Embassy of Switzerland, Ermira Lubani, Regional Project Manager, UN Women

From left to right: Jovana Trenchevska State Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ms. Alia El-Yassir, Regional Director Europe & Central Asia Regional Office, UN Women, Н.Е. Mr. Mats Staffansson, Ambassador, Embassy of Sweden, Mr. Suhejl Fazliu, Minister, Ministry of Local Self Government, Н.Е. Ms. Sybille Suter, Ambassador, Embassy of Switzerland, Ermira Lubani, Regional Project Manager, UN Women. Photo: UN Women/Mirjana Nedeva

‘’The work towards gender equality in Sweden never stops and have only gained more power throughout the years. Our main principle is to use gender mainstreaming – that is to incorporate the gender equality perspective in all policy areas, at all levels and at all stages,” said Н.Е. Mats Staffansson, Ambassador of Sweden to the Republic of North Macedonia, sharing Sweden’s experience of gender equality as a cornerstone of society.

"Quality care services must be affordable and investments must be made by the government and other partners to enable women to participate in economic activities,” said Alia El-Yassir, UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. She also noted, "UN Women implements the principle of leaving no one behind. When creating policies, we need to ask ourselves who is left behind and why. This is where gender-responsive budgeting can be applied."

"Why do we need gender-responsive budgeting? As a country aspiring towards EU integration, and in the context of the Agenda for Sustainable Development, we have obligations to implement the international standards in line with CEDAW, Beijing Declaration and the Platform of Action and the Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, the project directly supports the country to fulfill national commitments in line with laws and policies on gender equality,'' said Ivona Paunovic Bishevac, UN Women Project Officer.

Ermira Lubani, UN Women Regional Technical Advisor concluded the event and said, ‘’The Agenda for Sustainable Development requires countries to achieve gender equality. By using GRB, countries can close financing gaps on gender equality and ensure that national policies are always linked with the budgets.’’

“Promoting Gender-Responsive Policies and Budgets: Towards Transparent, Inclusive and Accountable Governance in the Republic of North Macedonia” (2018 – 2022) will support the advancement of implementation of national and international commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment in line with national Sustainable Development Goals priority targets and the EU accession process. The project is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency – Sida.