Regional Programme in the Western Balkans and Turkey

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The Issue

Decades of advocacy efforts led by the women’s movement and grass-roots organizations across the Western Balkans and Turkey have led to a recognition that violence against women and girls is a manifestation of systematic gender discrimination and inequality, a violation of human rights, and a detriment to development. The adoption of the 2011 Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women (also known as the Istanbul Convention) and the agreed conclusions of the fifty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women in 2013, have increased attention given to violence against women in international and regional agendas, and built the momentum for investing in additional efforts to achieve gender equality.

The regional Beijing +20 review for Turkey and the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo[1], the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia) highlighted areas that require concerted attention: the pervasiveness of multidimensional discrimination, the re-emergence of strong patriarchal structures and unequal power relations between women and men, and the rising prevalence of different forms of violence against women and girls.

UN Women’s preliminary assessment of gender equality and women's empowerment in Turkey and the Western Balkans, conducted at the end of 2014, revealed that – despite the adoption of legislation to advance gender equality in all these countries – strong patriarchal structures, unequal power relations between women and men, and the lack of political will of governments remain major obstacles to the full implementation of legislation. While Turkey and the Western Balkan countries are at different stages of accession into the European Union, there is an opportunity and a necessity to advance the implementation of norms and standards outlined in European Union laws and policies – also known as the ‘acquis communautaire’. 


Our solutions

The three-year programme, ‘Implementing Norms, Changing Minds’, aims at ending gender-based discrimination and violence against women in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia) and Turkey, with a particular focus on the most disadvantaged groups of women.

The adoption and full implementation of frameworks aligned with international normative standards – including those standards outlined in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Istanbul Convention and the European Union acquis communautaire – are essential for addressing gender-based discrimination and violence against women. The programme will strengthen women’s organizations capacity to hold governments to account, advocate for effective implementation, and monitor prevention of and response to violence against women. Beyond the full implementation of legislative frameworks, the programme also addresses structural causes of gender inequality – and one of its most pervasive expressions, violence against women – through a transformation of gender discriminatory stereotypes, perceptions and beliefs. Lastly, protection, prevention and response to violence against women is closely interlinked with the availability of and access to comprehensive, multi-sectoral services for survivors of violence.

Acknowledging the structural inequalities that lie at the intersection of gender and factors such as age, disability, ethnicity and nationality, the programme will place a strong emphasis on tackling multiple discriminations where gender aspects are involved.

The primary method of implementation is through partnerships with women’s organizations. The programme will build on UN Women’s and the European Union’s links with civil society organizations in the region to assist women in their drive to ensure their rights as citizens. 


Geographical Coverage

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey

Executing Agency

UN Women (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey) in partnership with UNDP (Montenegro)

Collaborating Agencies:

 

Women’s organizations

Development partners: European Commission HQ and European Union delegations in implementing countries

Total Programme Cost:

€5,681,220.39

 

News

Press Release: UN Women and the European Union launch a new initiative to focus on ending violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey
The three-year programme will aim to step up efforts to end violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey.
Date: 10 July 2017
Press Release: UN Women and the European Union launch initiative to focus on ending violence against women in Serbia
The initiative aims to strengthen women and girl survivors of violence and to achieve full implementation of legislation.
Date: 29 May 2017
Press Release: European Union and UN Women launch new initiative to focus on ending violence against women and girls in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Half of all women have been subjected to some form of violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This issue is seen as socially acceptable behavior justified by traditional patriarchal concepts.
Date: 29 May 2017


New regional initiative to end gender discrimination and violence kicks off in Albania
The project will work to reform policies and legislation in line with international standards.
Date: 24 May 2017
Press Release: UN Women and the European Union launch new initiative to focus on ending violence against women and girls in Kosovo
Civil society organizations together with UN Women Kosovo put a spotlight on the issue of domestic violence.
Date: 19 May 2017
UN Women and the European Union launch new initiative to focus on ending violence against women and girls in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
UN Women presented the the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia component of the programme, its objectives, expected results and planned actions.
Date: 25 April 2017

 

Events

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Brussels, 10 July 2017
On Monday, 10 July, UN Women and the European Union will launch a new three-year regional initiative that aims to combat discrimination and violence against women in Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia) and Turkey. Read more
 

Digital library

Implementing Norms, Changing Minds
This short brief aims to provide an overview about the programme by highlighting its main objectives and roadmap for making a difference in the Western Balkans and Turkey.
Infographics - Gaps in Response to Violence Against Women and Girls
The infographics included in this package aim to present information drawn from a UN Women – Council of Europe conducted study about the gaps in support services for survivors of violence in the Western Balkans and Turkey.
Ending violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey
This video explains the new regional initiative in the Western Balkans and Turkey developed with innovative approaches to address harmful gender stereotypes and combat violence against women and girls.


Featured stories

Breaking the cycle of human trafficking in Albania
To support women and girl survivors of trafficking, UN Women in Albania has been supporting efforts to boost national capacities to adequately address their needs and reintegrate them into society. Read more
Coordinated response gives Kosovo domestic violence survivors hope
UN Women works with the police, the judiciary, NGOs, social welfare and Safe House shelters and other institutions to provide domestic violence survivors better coordinated and more effective services. Read more

Fathers in Turkey foster violence-free families and gender equality
Creating a positive future begins in early childhood and fathers have a crucial role. to play. In Turkey, a father support programme aims to prevent domestic violence against women and girls by engaging men to encourage positive behaviour. Read more
Women power goes green in Serbia
Women survivors of domestic violence might be breathing new life into their organic garden but the green goods empower back. Read more
Bosnian conflict-related sexual violence survivors learn business skills
A UN Women initiative provides survivors with psycho-social support and helps them develop the tools and skills necessary to secure their financial stability. Read more


 

About the EU

 

The European Union is made up of 28 Member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms.

The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders.

 
 

Join the conversation

  • Hashtags: #changingmindstoEVAW, #SayNoStopVAW

[1] All references to Kosovo on this website shall be understood to be in full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).

Featured publication

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Programme Brief
This short brief aims to provide an overview about the programme by highlighting its main objectives and roadmap for making a difference in the Western Balkans and Turkey. More

See related publications here.
Video
Featured video
Ending Violence against Women in the Western Balkans and Turkey: Implementing Norms, Changing Minds

The European Union (EU) and UN Women launched a three-year regional initiative to end discrimination and violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey. UN Women and the EU will aim to reform policies in line with international standards, transform discriminatory social norms and empower women and girls subjected to violence.

Planet 50–50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality