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In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In doing so, UN Member States took an historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women. The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system, which focused exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment:
- Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW)
- International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW)
- Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI)
- United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
UN Women is the women's organization at the United Nations, dedicated to advancing women’s rights and achieving gender equality. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies that foster women's empowerment. UN Women works on the premise that it is the fundamental right of every woman to live a life free from discrimination and violence, and that gender equality is essential to achieving development and to building just societies.
UN Women focuses its activities on one overarching goal: to support the implementation at the national level of existing international commitments to advance gender equality. In support of this goal, UN Women works in the following thematic areas:
- Enhancing women’s economic security and rights,
- Ending violence against women,
- Reducing the prevalence of HIV and AIDS among women and girls, and
- Advancing gender justice in democratic governance in stable and fragile states.
UN Women renewed its presence in Georgia in June 2008, becoming an active member of the UN Country Team. The UN Women office in Georgia, in collaboration with other UN agencies, currently supports the government and civil society partners in realizing their commitments under CEDAW and the Beijing Platform for Action to enhance gender equality and strengthen women’s empowerment. UN Women chairs the UN Gender Theme Group to strengthen coordinated action in the UN system towards greater equality and enhancement of women’s empowerment.
· Partners with Advisory Council on Gender Equality Issues at the Speaker of the Parliament and other state and non-state partners on the elaboration and implementation of Gender Equality Law and subsequent policies (such as Gender Equality National Action Plan);
· Partners with the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees to build the capacity of the ministry in order to protect the rights of Internally Displaced and conflict affected women especially regarding their housing rights in the process of privatization of collective living centers
· Works towards strengthening of gender capacities of the Public Defender’s Office and National Statistics Agency;
· Supports GE Advocates to continuously monitor and document gender equality and human rights concerns of different groups of excluded women;
· Together with civil society and UN partners supports media campaigns, including movie screenings, creative street actions, performances, and publications on women and gender equality issues, publication of oral histories of IDP and other conflict affected women, etc.;
UN Women projects in Georgia
“SHiEld - Enhancing Prevention and Response to Domestic Violence in Georgia”The Project speaks directly to the women’s rights and gender equality commitments undertaken by Georgia on international as well as national levels, such as the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA), the Law of Georgia on the Elimination of Domestic Violence, Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence and their Assistance (2006), etc. SHiEld started in February 2010 and is funded with generous support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). With particular focus on Internally Displaced and conflict affected women, the project aims to address the lack of existence of respective services for victims/survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence during conflict, such as shelters, hotlines, legal aid as well as increase the capacities and skills of professionals involved in the domestic violence referral mechanism.
In partnership with government and civil society stakeholders, this project works:
· at the level of policy and decision-making - to review domestic violence related policies and recommend amendments as needed, adjust policies, and support informed dialogue between policy and decision-makers, the legislature and women’s rights and gender equality advocates as well as grassroots women’s groups;
· at the level of institutions (service providers) - to enhance the capacity of government for DV prevention and response and thus enable national partners to strengthen the implementation of the Law of Georgia on the Elimination of Domestic Violence, Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence and Their Assistance;
· at grassroots level, with civil society and communities to strengthen their awareness and capacities as both rights-holders and duty-bearers on the issue of domestic and other forms of violence against women.
Project partners include the Interagency Coordination Council on the Measures to Eliminate Domestic Violence, the State Fund for Protection and Assistance of Victims of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence, staff of the shelters and hotline for the victims of domestic violence, patrol and district police, Public Defender’s Office and non-governmental organizations focusing on domestic violence prevention and response work such as Anti-Violence Network of Georgia, Women’s Advice Center “Sakhli” and “Amagdari”.
“Women for Equality, Peace and Development in Georgia” (WEPD)
UN Women together with its partner organizations Taso Foundation and Women’s Information Center has been implementing the three-year project “Women for Equality, Peace and Development in Georgia” (WEPD) with the support of the Royal Government of Norway since December 2009. The Project aims to support the efforts and strengthen the capacities of internally displaced and conflict-affected women’s groups, other partners from civil society and government to advance gender equality and women’s human rights in Georgia.
The WEPD Project works on three interdependent and mutually reinforcing levels:
at national policy level, to ensure that strategies, policies, plans and budgets are in line with CEDAW and SCR 1325 and 1820 principles;
· at the level of national institutions, towards strengthening capacity to deliver better information and services to IDPs and conflict-affected women, and
at the grassroots level, by supporting IDPs and conflict affected women’s groups and communities to organize and participate actively and effectively in influencing policies and decisions that affect their lives
Within the project, in the capital Tbilisi and other four administrative centres of Georgia: Rustavi, Gori, Kutaisi and Zugdidi in close collaboration with the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees (MIDPOTAR) of Georgia, Legal Clinics were set up to provide internally displaced and conflict-affected women and their family members, with free of charge legal aid, and follow up legal actions (including court representation when necessary).
The project puts strong emphasis on the community mobilization in all five target regions. Taso Foundation is supporting IDP and conflict-affected women to organize and form self-help groups, building their capacities through training, empowering them to voice violations of women’s human rights and have increased information and understanding of their human rights. The project will encourage cooperation between communities and local governments to engage in joint government-community initiatives, addressing practical gender and human rights needs as defined by the communities themselves.
On the policy-level work special emphasis is put on preparation and advocating for the adoption of the National Action Plan on Women, peace and Security (UN SCR 1325, etc.); reviewing the national policies and legislation on IDPs from a gender perspective and especially vis-à-vis the CEDAW and UN SC resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888 & 1889 and elaborating the recommendations to be presented to the Government of Georgia for consideration. To further strengthen IDPs and conflict-affected women’s conflict resolution and confidence building skills and opportunities, the project supportspeople-to-people diplomacy initiatives between Georgian, Abkhaz and Ossetian women across the ceasefire lines.
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UN Women’s major past achievements in Georgia
Rapid Needs Assessment of Internally Displaced Women As A Result of August 2008 Events in Georgia: In partnership with local research organization Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) UN Women carried out large scale representative Rapid Needs Assessment of Internally Displaced Women with an aim of obtaining an accurate understanding of the needs of internally displaced persons. The Assessment proved instrumental for planning of better targeted assistance capable of producing equal outcomes for women, girls, boys, and men by state and non-state partners.
Regional Project Women for Conflict Prevention and Peace-Building in the Southern Caucasus
(2001-2006): The Project worked intensively on mobilizing women’s organizations in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia around peace-building and conflict resolution issues, facilitating the creation of “women for peace” networks in each country, and laying the groundwork for people-to-people diplomacy between those most affected by the conflicts.
Elaboration of Gender Equality Strategy of Georgia: In cooperation with UNCT partners and GE Advocates, UN Women supported Government of Georgia to elaborate the State Concept on Gender Equality, adopted by the Parliament in July 2006. The Concept is a political statement of will that recognizes the principles of gender equality in all spheres of public and social life and provides for the relevant measures for prevention and elimination of all forms of discrimination on the ground of sex. The 2007-2009 Plan of Action for Implementation of Gender Equality Policy in Georgia (NAP) was adopted by the Government in fall 2007, envisaging gradual implementation of the State Concept on Gender Equality.
The Assessment of women’s de facto and de jure rights, Reality – Women’s Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities in Georgia, has been carried out by women’s non-governmental organizations and independent experts with the support of UN Women in 2006. The Assessment determined the compliance of Georgia’s national legislation with international human rights instruments, with particular focus on the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Recommendations elaborated by the Assessment team provide tangible roadmap towards achievement of substantive gender equality through mobilization of greater political will and incorporation of gender equality principles in Georgia’s policy and law-making processes. UNIFEM plans to carry out number of follow up assessments of the position and conditions of different groups of women through 2008-2011.
Say No - UNiTE to End Violence against Women
Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women is a global call for action, launched in November 2009 for ending violence against women and girls. It is presented by UNIFEM as a contribution to advance the objectives of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women. UN Women's Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman is the Spokesperson of the Say NO Campaign.
Say NO - UNiTE to End Violence against Women is an expanding global coalition of individuals, organizations, governments and the private sector to realize a vision that is ambitious, but must never be impossible – a future that is free from violence against women and girls.
According to the worldwide data one in every three women experiences physical violence and abuse, in this regard UN Women has speeded efforts within in UN System to end violence against women, a core part of our mandate to advance women’s human rights. According to the latest research and data of UNFPA every eleventh woman in Georgia has suffered physical violence at least once in her lifetime from a husband or a partner. Therefore, through the joint efforts of the Government of Georgia, UN agencies, donors and women’s NGOs, the Say No-UNiTE campaign is gaining momentum in Georgia too as the number of supporters is growing every day.
For more information please visit: www.saynotoviolence.org/about-say-no ; www.unifem.org/campaigns/sayno/
Visit of Ms. Ines Alberdi, UNIFEM Executive Director – www.unifem.org/news_events/story_detail.php
Digest of one Window Shop Principle meetings
Women Connecting for Peace – the Blog on UN SCR 1325 “Women, Peace and Security” is created by the Internally displaced and conflict-affected women where displaced women from Shida Qartli and Samegrelo regions and Gali breakaway territory of Abkhazia are trying to promote peace and women’s participation in peace building processes http://unscr1325georgia.wordpress.com
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