Elected officials, public servants and civil society representatives from all over Georgia gathered at the annual Political Forum on Gender Equality inaugurated by President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili.
Focusing on the political empowerment of women and youth, and greater cooperation between legislative and executive bodies, local self-governments and civil society, the event brought together over 350 participants.
The Forum was co-organized by the Parliament of Georgia and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), with Denmark and Sweden’s support, and co-hosted by MP Nino Tsilosani, Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Council for Gender Equality, and Nick Beresford, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia.
Deputy Chairperson of the Parliament Archil Talakvadze addressed the participants with welcome remarks.
Keynote speeches were delivered by H.E. Ulrik Tideström, Ambassador of Sweden to Georgia, and H.E. Sabine Machel, UN Resident Coordinator to Georgia.
MP Khatia Tsilosani (political party “Georgian Dream”); MP Ana Natsvlishvili (political party “Lelo”); MP Khatia Dekanoidze (political party “United National Movement”); Niko Tatulashvili, Human Rights Advisor to the Prime Minister of Georgia; and Mzia Giorgobiani, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, facilitated panel discussions on economic, social and political issues associated with gender-sensitive politics and on key aspects of successful cooperation between the executive and legislative branches of power at the national and local levels.
The Forum concluded with local youth groups discussing ways to achieve greater equality in governance and presenting their vision of future Georgian politics.
“Continued progress towards gender equality is essential for Georgia’s democracy, development and EU integration,” Ambassador Tideström noted. “The annual forum provides a platform for politicians, officials and civil society to connect, share ideas and work together to build an equal and inclusive political process – this is even more important in times of political polarization when gender equality risks being de-prioritized. Sweden will continue our persistent support for gender equality in Georgia, where cooperation between all political actors and the full and free involvement of civil society remains crucial.”
“Bringing equality to politics benefits the entire society, helps protect human rights and creates a shared prosperity for all,” said Nick Beresford. “UNDP works with Sweden, Denmark and the Parliament of Georgia to build a consensus on gender equality across political parties and all levels of governance.”
UNDP’s support for the annual Political Forum on Gender Equality draws on its two ongoing initiatives – the Swedish-funded UN Joint Program for Gender Equality and the Danish-funded program for Decentralization and Good Governance in Georgia.