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Equinet growing in number and ambition after the 2012 AGM

December 7th 2012

Equinet celebrated its 5th anniversary at the Annual General Meeting that took place on 5th December in Brussels. As a result of the meeting, Equinet gained its 38th member - Commission for the Protection against Discrimination of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and voted in favour of the incorporation of the former gender equality bodies’ network.

The Equinet Annual General Meeting on 5th November in Brussels gathered representatives of equality bodies from across Europe to reflect on Equinet’s work over the past year and to discuss and make decisions on future challenges. It was also the occasion to celebrate Equinet’s 5th anniversary and mark the exciting developments and achievements in the work of the network over this time.

Equinet is happy to welcome the 38th member of the network. The AGM unanimously accepted the membership application presented by the Commission for the Protection against Discrimination of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Another important step at the AGM was the unanimous adoption of the Equinet Work Plan 2013. This involves a landmark development with the incorporation of the work of the former gender equality bodies’ network into Equinet. This new development will reinforce and enhance the current networking of gender equality bodies as well as further expanding the gender focus in Equinet’s work. Due to the increased workload and responsibility that the incorporation of the work of the former gender equality bodies’ network entails, the Secretariat will expand with one new Policy Officer. More information on the vacancy can be found here (deadline 7 January 2013).

Members had the opportunity to debate and develop the thinking on a number of strategic issues facing equality bodies. These included the need for standards to protect and enhance the potential of equality bodies, the roles to be played by equality bodies under the UN Convention on the Rights of all People with Disabilities, the challenges in merging equality and human rights mandates and how to make best use of EU funding sources.

One session welcomed Lina Papamicholopoulou, head of the Unit for Non-Discrimination Policies and Roma Coordination in DG Justice. The AGM welcomed her presentation on the current and planned work of the Unit and in particular her strong support for the work of equality bodies and her understanding of the current difficulties faced by equality bodies.

Members had the opportunity to discuss developing Equinet priorities in the field of gender equality, in relation to work with duty bearers, in building the positive profile of equality bodies, in contributing to the review of the EU equal treatment Directives and in developing a perspective on the work of equality bodies on the issues of LGBT people during dedicated workshop sessions.

Equinet is pleased with the recognition from the Commission of the work that equality bodies have carried out yet is also aware of the various challenges that the equality bodies face in the time of economic crisis. Equinet Chair Jozef De Witte stressed in his concluding remarks that difficult times only reinforce the need for networking and support between equality bodies.