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Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence organized the annual meeting of the “Women of the Balkan for the New Politics” Initiative. The meeting was held on September 19, at the Hotel Arka in Skopje. The meeting was attended by 20 women, politicians and representatives of the CSO, from Belgrade, Sarajevo, Pristina, Podgorica, Rijeka, Tirana, Zagreb and Skopje.

The meeting was opened by Ms. Sonja Licht, President of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, HE. Klemens Koja, Head of the OSCE Mission to Skopje and Ms. Jorida Sitai, Political Advisor to the Regional Cooperation Council. They emphasized the importance of the Initiative’s work on women rights in the region, but also in providing new perspectives on development policies.

The first part of the meeting was devoted to summarizing the results of the Initiative’s two years of work. Over the past two years, the Initiative has been extremely active and has organized six different events that brought together members of the Initiative, as well as more than ten events that have taken place in each community, locally. Also, the members of the Initiative took an active part in the panels within Belgrade Security Forum and thus informed the interested parties about the activities of the Initiative. One of the most important results was the mapping of good and innovative employment practices for young women and, accordingly, recommendations for public policies in all six countries.

At the second part of the meeting, it was discussed about the Initiative’s ability as a network to monitor the implementation of the gender equality conventions ratified by the Western Balkan countries and how to use various advocacy tools. Ms. Joanna Maycock, from the European Women’s Lobby, talked about the activities that the Lobby is working on, but also gave an insight on what awaits us after the European Parliament election, as well as with the new European Commission formation, with particular reference to our region.

The last part of the meeting was dedicated to the planning of the future steps and activities of the Initiative. One of the main conclusions of the meeting was that there is a strong need for a permanent platform, like the Initiative is, in which influential women would be able to engage in dialogue and work together to address the problems that women from our region face.
The annual meeting was supported by the OSCE Mission to Serbia.

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