UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia visits Albania

Date: Wednesday, February 20, 2019

UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Alia El-Yassir (right) and the Minister of Health and Social Protection, Ms. Ogerta Manastirliu. Photo: UN Women Albania
UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Alia El-Yassir (right) and the Minister of Health and Social Protection, Ms. Ogerta Manastirliu. Photo: UN Women Albania

During her first official visit to Albania, which took place from 11 to 13 February, Alia El-Yassir, UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, met with government officials, parliamentarians, partners and donors.

In her meetings, Ms. El-Yassir highlighted the significant progress Albania has achieved regarding women’s participation in politics and gender-responsive budgeting. "Albania has set quite a high benchmark in the region and there is very strong commitment. We should make sure that commitment is translated into action," said Ms. El-Yassir.

Ms. El-Yassir met with Ogerta Manastirliu, the Minister of Health and Social Protection, who noted UN Women’s technical support in drafting and improving gender equality legislation, strategies and mechanisms for gender equality and ending violence against women in the country. “We have to build capacities in order to prevent gender-based violence, at central and local level,” said Ms. Manastirliu.

Minister Manastirliu focused also on gender-responsive budgeting and the need to implement it at the local level. This year, 6.3 per cent of the total state budget is gender-responsive, with line ministries having committed to advance gender equality.

UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Alia El-Yassir (left) and the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy, Mr. Erjon Luçi. Photo: UN Women Albania
UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Alia El-Yassir (left) and the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy, Mr. Erjon Luçi. Photo: UN Women Albania

During his meeting with the Regional Director, Erjon Luçi, the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy, noted that gender-related issues are now becoming prominent within the government. He reassured the strong commitment of the Ministry of Finance and Economy in implementing gender-budgeting across sectors and programmes by encouraging greater involvement of the national gender equality mechanism in this process. 

“Albania is extremely advanced in gender-responsive budgeting and we see it interlinked with women’s political participation. The moment is now to keep the representation of women in politics high,” said Alia El-Yassir in her meeting with Mr. Luçi.

The same message was underlined during the meeting with Eglantina Gjermeni, Chair of the Parliamentary sub-committee on Gender Equality and Ending Violence Against Women. Ms. Gjermeni pointed out the need to maintain women’s high level of representation in politics and decision-making to ensure gender-sensitive policy making in Albania. She stressed the importance of women’s economic empowerment as a priority issue noting the gap for women in rural areas.

Ms. El-Yassir and Delina Ibrahimaj, the Director of the Institute of Statistics (INSTAT), reaffirmed their mutual commitment to support Albania further in progressing with the availability and use of gender statistics and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals, as part of the UN Women Flagship Programme “Making Every Woman and Girl Count”. Ms. El-Yassir encouraged Albania to lead initiatives for showcasing its progress in gender statistics in global and regional inter-governmental meetings.

UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Alia El-Yassir and the Head of the Swedish Development Cooperation in Albania, Ms. Petra Burcher. UN Women Albania
UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Alia El-Yassir and the Head of the Swedish Development Cooperation in Albania, Ms. Petra Burcher. UN Women Albania

Alia El-Yassir concluded her visit with a meeting with Petra Burcher, the head of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) in Albania. The Swedish Government is supporting UN Women in Albania with a new UN joint programme on ending violence against women, which will be implemented in partnership with UNDP and UNFPA. Ms. El-Yassir and Ms. Burcher discussed possible collaboration areas to advance gender equality in Albania and use innovation as a tool for success.