The General Assembly of Equinet Members met in Brussels on 29-30 September for the 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM), bringing together heads and senior management representatives from Equinet member equality bodies.
The AGM saw the unanimous ratification of a new membership application from Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Workplan for 2017. A particular focus was given to the development of standards for equality bodies, as well as the use of EEA and Norway grants by equality bodies.
EEA and Norway Grants
The AGM was preceded by a meeting which aimed to inform members of the priorities in the field of equality and human rights of the upcoming financing period of the EEA and Norway Grants, coordinate members’ priorities for capacity building and explore possibilities for regional cooperation.
This was also the main theme of the networking reception that was held in Norway House on the evening of 29 September. Both Ingrid Schulerud, Deputy Head of the Mission of Norway to the EU and Evelyn Collins, Equinet Chair, welcomed Equinet members and European stakeholders to the receptions. Concrete examples of equality bodies using the EEA and Norway Grants were given on behalf of the Norwegian Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud (by Anne Gaspard, Equinet Executive Director) and the Portuguese Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (by Eduardo Duarte, Vice President of CIG).
Equinet would like to thank their hosts at the Mission of Norway to the EU for their warm welcome!
Launch of the European Directory of Equality Bodies
The European Directory of Equality Bodies is a new database which brings together up-to-date profiles of our member equality bodies with comparable search options on their mandates, functions and accountability.
The European Directory of Equality Bodies aims to:
- Showcase the work of our members
- Gather comparable, up-to-date information on equality bodies across Europe
- Facilitate interest and research in the work and set-up of equality bodies
Engagement with key European stakeholders
We were privileged to welcome external experts and representatives from EU Institutions and key stakeholders to share their input on important developments in the field of equality at a European level and engage with equality bodies on these key priorities.
During the open session that took place on 29 September on ‘Strengthening equality bodies within the institutional architecture‘, our panel members were:
- Michael O’Flaherty, Director, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
- Ulrike Lunacek, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Greens/EFA, Austria
- Lora Vidović, Chair of ENNHRI (European Network of Human Rights Institutions) and Ombudswoman, Croatia
- Stefano Valenti, External Relations Officer, ECRI (European Commission against Racism and Intolerance), Council of Europe
During the closed panel session on 30 September the ‘EU equality agenda: developments and ways forward‘, our speakers were:
- Tiina Astola, Director General, DG Justice & Consumers, European Commission
- Tena Šimonović Einwalter, Deputy Ombudswoman, Office of the Ombudswoman in Croatia and moderator of the Equinet Working Group on Policy Formation
- Raquel Cortes Herrera, Deputy Head of Unit, Disability & Inclusion, DG Employment, European Commission, Brussels
- Antonella Gatt, Employment and Social Policy Attaché, Permanent Representation of Malta to the EU
Equinet’s General Assembly meets once a year to vote on important decisions for the network. Additionally, members are also informed about important developments within the network.
This year, members were informed about the work that Equinet had carried out over the past year, particularly on standards for equality bodies. They were given the opportunity to discuss amongst each other how to apply standards & engage with them at national & EU level.
Petr Polak (member of Equinet’s Executive Board and Head of Equal Treatment Division of the Czech Public Defender of Rights) gave a presentation on Standards for Equality Bodies. Read the Workin Paper on Developing Standards for Equality Bodies.
Evelyn Collins (Chair of Equinet’s Executive Board and Chief Executive of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland) and Patrick Charlier (Equinet Treasurer and Co-Director of Unia, Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities in Belgium) presented the work and finances of 2016, as well as the suggested 2017 Work Plan.
General Assembly Vote
The following items were submitted to the vote of the General Assembly and they all were unanimously adopted by represented Equinet Members:
Equinet Membership Applications
- Equinet Work Plan 2017
- Equinet Accounts 2015
- Minutes of the Equinet AGM 2015
- Revised Equinet Board elections procedure
The agenda of the AGM can be found below:
|Equinet Annual General Meeting – Brussels, 29-30 September 2016|