Regional Team Leader on Inclusive Growth at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Istanbul Regional Hub
Friends of Europe’s Balkan Journey seeks to circumvent stagnant debates on enlargement in order to focus on moving the region forward in practical terms through political imagination and forward-looking solutions. Reframing the narrative to focus on people-centred priorities rather than political objectives can bring a fresh policy perspective to overwrought discussions on how to strengthen and develop the Balkan region and close the gap to the EU.
The prospect of EU accession often frames the Balkans’ narrative. Democratic and economic growth are intertwined with the enlargement protocol, tying the Balkan region’s advancement to its EU aspirations. But as the process drags on, frustration grows and steps forward falter – perhaps the time has come for both sides to revitalise this approach.
Development prospects need to go beyond the end goal of EU membership. The benefits of a robust democracy, stable economy and social evolution should be goals in themselves, forging a foundation for a thriving region with its roots in durable peace, reconciliation and resilience.
The goals for a resilient region and EU accession are the same. But it is time to recalibrate the talking points. A greater focus on inclusion and amplifying the voices of women and youth is one clear path forward. Other priorities include digital transition, green transformation, increased regional cooperation and the strengthening of democracy and rule of law. Our journey will engage with these overlapping and interlinking themes, promote new and progressive voices, and foster pathways to regional cooperation, resilience and inclusion.
Through an article series, conversations with key stakeholders, and a novel working group on women’s economic empowerment, in addition to our flagship annual summit, this Balkan Journey will compile ideas, concerns and suggestions from across all sectors of society, the EU and international organisations, informing debate and concrete policy recommendations for a region with infinite untapped potential.
Creating new opportunities for women in the regional labour market is crucial for sustainable economic development in the Western Balkans. This is more important than ever given the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the long road ahead to social and economic recovery.
As part of its Balkan Journey, Friends of Europe’s new Working Group on women’s economic empowerment aims to explore the economic opportunities for women in the Western Balkans and identify the challenges to fostering women’s development in all aspects of economic life, as well as recommendations for overcoming them. The Working Group is carried out in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Made up of a set of four intimate debate rounds, this Working Group is debating key questions such as:
- How does women’s economic empowerment link with development?
- What are the best avenues, tools and mechanisms to bring this link forward?
- How can we ensure that women are seen as protagonists of their own empowerment?
- How do we strengthen women to have the resources to be economically successful?
- Do we need to rethink the current model of economic empowerment?
The four debate rounds involve around 30-40 experts, including national and local government representatives from the Western Balkans, European and international institutions, civil society, and the private sector. The issues at stake are discussed through interactive, moderated discussions, with an emphasis on identifying recommendations and ways forward.
|Meeting 1 – Outcomes||Meeting 2 – Outcomes|
- Women’s economic empowerment – a pathway for the Western Balkans’ future success?
- Unlock women’s potential in STEM and unleash the economies of the Balkans
- Shifting the narrative – a revitalised approach to the Western Balkans
* For the United Nations Development Programme, references to Kosovo in this document accordingly shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999). For the European Union, this designation used is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UN Security Council resolution 1244/99 and the International Court of Justice Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
MyGuideNetwork Strategic Alliances Manager in Europe
Gender Programme Manager at the at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Office in Montenegro
Policy Officer at the European Commission Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)
Secretary of the Coordination Board for Women Entrepreneurship at the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro
CEO of Learnio
Programme Coordinator of the Genesis Project
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative for Montenegro
State Counselor for Equal Opportunities at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of North Macedonia
Lecturer in Social Statistics at the University of Manchester and founder of Sister Analyst
Expert on Competitiveness at the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC)
Director of Legal and External Affairs at Vodafone Albania
President of the Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society (BFPE)
Gender focal person for Albania at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Head of Office Western Balkans at the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation
Women’s economic empowerment in the Western Balkans - Meeting 3
Next event Prishtina, Kosovo*
- Area of Expertise
- Peace, Security & Defence
Sorry, no videos to display.