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Preparing for Evaluation of the Serbian 2016–2018 Gender Equality National Action Plan

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The UN Enti­ty for Gen­der Equal­i­ty and the Empow­er­ment of Women (UN Women) in Ser­bia start­ed the 2016–2018 Gen­der Equal­i­ty Nation­al Action Plan (NAP) eval­u­a­tion process prepa­ra­tion yes­ter­day. The meet­ing at the seat of the Ser­bian UN Coun­try Team in Bel­grade brought togeth­er per­sons act­ing as gen­der equal­i­ty focal point in min­istries and oth­er state insti­tu­tions, as well as oth­er key actors in the process of NAP imple­men­ta­tion, includ­ing civ­il soci­ety orga­ni­za­tions. The rep­re­sen­ta­tive of …IZ KRUGAVOJVODINA at this meet­ing was Anki­ca Dra­gin.

The facil­i­ta­tor of the meet­ing was Isabel Suarez Gar­cia, an eval­u­a­tion spe­cial­ist with the UN Women Region­al Office in Istan­bul, while its par­tic­i­pants were over 20 rep­re­sen­ta­tives of min­istries, inde­pen­dent human rights insti­tu­tions, civ­il soci­ety orga­ni­za­tions deal­ing with women’s rights, as well as the Ser­bian Gov­ern­ment Gen­der Equal­i­ty Coor­di­na­tion Body and Human and Minor­i­ty Rights Office.

The aim of the meet­ing was to dis­cuss key steps of the forth­com­ing NAP eval­u­a­tion, includ­ing iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the most rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion sources, the scope of the entire process, its time­frame, as well as poten­tial chal­lenges dur­ing its imple­men­ta­tion. The par­tic­i­pants gave their feed­back con­cern­ing issues the eval­u­a­tion should address in order for its rec­om­men­da­tions regard­ing draft­ing the fol­low­ing NAP and Gen­der Equal­i­ty Strat­e­gy to be rel­e­vant and fea­si­ble.

The key chal­lenge con­cern­ing data col­lec­tion and their inter­pre­ta­tion in the con­text of rel­e­vance, effec­tive­ness, effi­cien­cy and sus­tain­abil­i­ty of mea­sures stip­u­lat­ed in NAP is a lack of rel­e­vant doc­u­ments, aka insti­tu­tion­al reports result­ing from their fail­ure to rec­og­nize the sig­nif­i­cance of gen­der equal­i­ty. This is why gen­der equal­i­ty prin­ci­ples are being imple­ment­ed selec­tive­ly, spo­rad­i­cal­ly, or are not at all reflect­ed in their work. Accord­ing to the meet­ing par­tic­i­pants, there has been some advance­ment in imple­men­ta­tion of the cur­rent NAP as com­pared to the pre­vi­ous peri­od, the exam­ple there­of being the legal oblig­a­tion of gen­der sen­si­tive bud­get­ing with­in insti­tu­tions at all lev­els that entered into force in 2016.

Anoth­er obser­va­tion was that the lev­el of con­scious­ness of insti­tu­tions about the pos­si­bil­i­ties of advance­ment in the field of gen­der equal­i­ty brought about by eval­u­a­tions such as the forth­com­ing one is on an insuf­fi­cient lev­el. Insti­tu­tion­al expe­ri­ence also indi­cates that some NAP fields have been giv­en more space that oth­ers, while its activ­i­ties are most­ly fund­ed from project funds, aka dona­tions. The par­tic­i­pants also for­mu­lat­ed some addi­tion­al ques­tions the eval­u­a­tion should answer con­cern­ing del­e­ga­tion of insti­tu­tion­al juris­dic­tion over NAP activ­i­ties, as well as their results and effects. Final­ly, they con­clud­ed that the amount of funds in the state bud­get set aside for gen­der equal­i­ty is dis­pro­por­tion­ate not only to the sig­nif­i­cance of this issue in our soci­ety, but also to the atten­tion this issue has – and deserves – with the pub­lic.

Pre­pared by Anki­ca Dra­gin

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