Press Release: UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér reiterates commitment to advancing gender equality and long-term cooperation during first official visit to Albania and Georgia
[Originally published by UN Women Georgia]
Tbilisi – On the first day of her visit, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Åsa Regnér, joined by UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Alia El-Yassir, met with the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, Shalva Papuashvili, and the Chairperson of the Gender Equality Council of the Parliament, Nino Tsilosani. The parties reaffirmed existing and future areas of cooperation. Mr. Papuashvili discussed the steps taken by Georgia in the direction of gender equality and underlined the importance of the Gender Equality Concept that will be adopted in the near future, as well as the introduction of gender quotas and a gender impact assessment tool in the Parliament. Ms. Regnér expressed readiness to further support Georgia, noting that the country already has experience and concrete examples that are important also for the global discussions.
The visit continued with a meeting of UN Women representatives with the President of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili. The purpose of the meeting was to support UN Women in implementing the policies on the gender equality and women’s empowerment principles and to highlight the President’s contribution in this regard. “I met with Åsa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women—the representative of an organization that works on gender-based violence issues around the world,” the Georgian president said on her official Twitter page after the meeting. “What we need is a new approach on domestic violence, a new strategy that will eliminate femicide once and for all.”
During the visit, Ms. Regnér and Ms. El-Yassir, together with the local leadership of UN Women, also met with the Head of the Administration of the Government of Georgia, Revaz Javelidze. The meeting was also attended by Niko Tatulashvili, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Georgia on Human Rights and Head of the Inter-Agency Commission on Gender Equality, Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, and Maka Peradze, Head of the Human Rights Secretariat.
The parties discussed the areas of cooperation between UN Women and the Government of Georgia and the importance of supporting ongoing projects. Talks focused on such issues as the integration of a gender perspective into the good governance reform process, the sustainable and effective functioning of the national institutional mechanisms for women’s empowerment and gender equality, and the process of developing the National Strategy for the Protection of Human Rights. The representatives of the Government of Georgia underlined the important role of UN Women in the process of developing the National Action Plan for the Implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, as well as the National Action Plan on Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and Measures to be Implemented for the Protection of Victims (Survivors).
After concluding her first official visit to Georgia on 25 May 2022, Ms. Regnér continued to Albania to make her first official visit to the country.
Tirana – The Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Åsa Regnér, visited Albania to meet with high level government representatives, civil society organizations and international partners. Her visit focused on Albania’s progress towards achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment and the promotion of gender equality as a key factor in advancing EU integration. This is the first high level visit by a UN Women Representative in the country.
During her meeting with the Prime Minister, Edi Rama, Ms. Regnér praised Albania’s significant achievements in the area of gender equality, including with regards to leadership and political participation, while noting remaining challenges to accelerate and sustain progress, including with regards women’s safety and security, as well as their economic empowerment, especially in rural areas.
“UN Women remains available to support the Government to address these challenges and deliver on its national and international commitments on gender equality”, UN Women Deputy Executive Director highlighted.
Prime Minister Edi Rama noted: “Our Government is determined that the achievements and gains on women empowerment and gender equality In the country become sustainable and an integral part of our daily lives.”
During the meeting with the Minister of Health and Social Protection, Ogerta Manastirliu, the discussion centered on the implementation of Albania’s new Strategy for Gender Equality 2022-2030 and to ensure adequate investments to achieve gender equality objectives.
Among other high-level talks, Ms. Regner met with the Minister of Finance and Economy, Delina Ibrahimaj, whom she congratulated for the significant progress made in the area of gender-responsive budgeting (GRB). Albania is among the few (19%) countries globally to have a functioning tracking system to monitor allocations and expenditures in support of women empowerment, thanks to support by UN Women Albania. The country has managed to increase investments for the advancement of gender equality over the years.
Ms. Regnér’s also met with Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ermonela Felaj, to discuss the role of Parliament in supporting the implementation gender equality commitments, and offered support in continuing to align the Albanian legal framework to international human rights standards.
During her high-level meetings, UN Women Deputy Director also urged government officials to develop a second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security which will further support women’s full participation in key sectors, while strengthening prevention of and responses to gender-based violence.
UN Women Deputy Director had the opportunity to meet with several civil society organizations, recognizing their valuable contribution in continuing to protect and promote Albanian women’s rights.
During her two-day visit, Ms. Regner met also with the Ambassador of Sweden to Albania, Elsa Håstad and the Head of Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Petra Burcher. She thanked Sweden for being a strong partner and supporter to UN Women and its work in Albania and to fully deliver on the 2030 Development Agenda.
The European Union Delegation was another stop of the visit of UN Women Deputy Director. Ms Regner thanked the Head of Development Cooperation, Hubert Perr for the continuous financial support and strategic partnership to promote women’s rights and gender equality in Albania.
Ms. Regner also visited a re-integration center for women survivors of violence by Different and Equal organization. UN Women is supporting them to provide long-term re-integration services to survivors, with the financial contribution of the European Union and the Government of Sweden.
During her second day Ms. Regner traveled to Kamza to visit UN Women’s activities implemented with the contribution of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The project promotes the economic empowerment of women affected by the 2019 earthquake. She met with women entrepreneurs who are being supported to grow their businesses.
"The support from UN Women came right after the pandemic and the earthquake where we experienced great financial loss. But the training opened up our minds for new ideas and products and the possibility to expand our business and employ other women too”, said Miliha Zyberaj, that has been making traditional embroidery work for many years and now owns a small business.
“I was honored to meet strong and passionate Albanian women who are determined to make their dreams come true”, Ms. Regner said during her visit to UN Women’s supported businesses and women-led initiatives in Kamza.
She also met with women who are cultivating medicinal and aromatic plants and have been assisted by the same UN Women programme, through the SDG Acceleration Fund.
Ms. Regner has served as the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women for Policy, Programme, Civil Society and Intergovernmental Support since 2018.
The official visit of Ms. Regnér to Albania was concluded on 27 May 2022.