BRUSSELS, Belgium – On 13-15 November UNRCCA and the office of the European Union Special Representative for Central Asia (EUSR CA) jointly organized the visit of members of the Central Asian Women Leaders’ Caucus (CAWLC) and civil society representatives from Central Asia to the Institutions of European Union in Brussels.
The visit was organized within the framework of the Central Asia Women Leaders’ Caucus (CAWLC) launched in 2020 with the support of UNRCCA and UNDP, to boost political, economic and social participation of women in Central Asia.
Headed by a Deputy Chairperson of the Kazakh Majilis and a Chair of the CAWLC in 2023 Ms. Daniya Espayeva the high-level delegation included prominent members of the Caucus and civil society activists from all five Central Asian States.
With the focus on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, women in innovation and activities to fight gender-based violence, the visit aimed to facilitate exchange of expertise on policy-making and implementation, to foster partnerships between CAWLC and similar networks and civil society organizations in European Union and to promote CAWLC’s international exposure and outreach.
Within the framework of the visit the CAWLC delegation held mutually enriching and inspiring meetings with senior officials and experts from the European External Action Service, European Commission, European Parliament and representatives from the office of the President of the European Council. CAWLC delegation also met with EU Ambassadors of Political and Security Committee, had a brief exchange with the Commissioner for Energy Ms Kadri Simson, met with representatives of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office and European Women’s Lobby. The discussions covered a wide spectrum of issues related to implementation of gender equality policies in Central Asia and European Union and explored avenues for the enhanced intra-regional cooperation on these issues. High-level EU officials marked the role of the Caucus in advancing gender equality in Central Asia, strengthening the regional cooperation and also underlined its potential leverage to improve the situation of women and girls rights in neighboring Afghanistan.
The visit included the roundtable on EU-Central Asian cooperation in promoting women empowerment hosted by the Parliamentary Committee on Co-operation with the Countries of Central Asia. The roundtable, featuring presentations by the CAWLC delegation and Members of European Parliament, offered profound analysis and recommendations on policies promoting women’s meaningful political participation, leadership and economic empowerment, as well as co-operation between women parliamentarians from Central Asia and EU on implementation of the Global Women, Peace and Security agenda, as well as advocacy actions on the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan, in particular.
Overall, the visit of the CAWLC members to the EU institutions serves as another example of the platform’s growing prominence and its potential to play a key role in advancing cooperation on gender equality issues both within the region of Central Asia and between Central Asia and other regions and multilateral regional organizations.
A delegation from Turkmenistan, led by J. Ovekova, a member of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, participated in the EU-Central Asia Forum on Women’s Rights and Participation in Ensuring Peace and Security. The delegation shared Turkmenistan’s successes in reforms and strengthening women’s rights, emphasizing the country’s commitment to gender equality and its active participation in UN conventions on women’s rights.
Ovekova stated, “We are proud of our achievements and active participation in UN conventions on women’s rights. Our national programs are focused on empowering women in all spheres of life.”
The delegation also presented Turkmenistan’s constitutional and legislative framework guaranteeing gender equality, demonstrating the country’s legal commitment to ensuring equal rights and opportunities for women.
Ch. Rejepova, another member of the delegation and deputy of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, highlighted the importance of women’s participation in education, innovation, and youth policy. She emphasized, “Turkmenistan actively encourages women’s participation in these key areas, striving for equality and sustainable development.”
Sh. Setdarova from the Union of Women of Turkmenistan spoke about the organization’s functions and its contribution to the promotion of women’s interests. She noted, “Our work affects the status of women in society, recognizing their integral role in the development of our nation.”
Within the framework of the forum, the delegations toured the Europa Building, the symbol of the European Union, where they met with Simon Mordue, adviser to the President of the European Council Charles Michel.
The delegation of Turkmenistan also visited the museum – House of European History.
This international conference served as a valuable platform for sharing experiences and strengthening international cooperation in the field of women’s rights and their participation in ensuring peace and security. The participation of the Turkmen delegation highlighted the importance and success of Turkmenistan in the field of gender equality, demonstrating its active role in the international arena.
///nCa, 17 November 2023 (based on the press releases issued by UNRCCA and the Embassy of Turkmenistan to Belgium)