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Update on the EU Twinning Project

July 11th 2010

Northern Ireland Equality Commission shares its expertise and knowledge with the Israeli Equal Employment Opportunities Commission via a Twinning Project

The Twinning Project

Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (E.E.O.C.) has been set up in January 2008 in Israel. Its main objective is to combat discrimination in the workplace and promote equality on the basis of age, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic origin, reserve duty in the army, gender, parental status.

To strengthen its capacity, the Israel EEOC, with the support of the European Commission launched a bid for a “Twinning Project”. In July 2009, the Northern Ireland Equality Commission (NIEC) in conjunction with Northern Ireland Public Sector Enterprises (NICO) won the bid and officially started to partner up to provide expertise and guidance to the EEOC. NICO brings an extensive experience of administering twinning and similar trans-national projects into the management of the project.
The 18 month Twinning project is key to the development of the EEOC, and comprises four main components:

  • To develop, make and implement action-oriented equality agreements with employers in Israel that have a key role to play in tackling discrimination
  • To draw up and implement an Awareness-Raising and Communications Strategy, including large scale annual conferences on key themes
  • To establish ongoing databases and reports on equalities in Israel and on key legal decisions, as well as models for assessing equalities within individual firms and other organisations
  • To draw up, publish and publicise the EEOC’s strategic workplan for the period from January 2012.

The Project runs for two years from March 2010 and will end with a concluding conference.

Within each project component, there is a strong emphasis on collecting and applying best practice and experience from across the EU. It also involves consultations within Israel with the major stakeholders, workshops, recommendations and action plans to steer implementation, as well as reports on monitoring, evaluation and lessons learned.
People involved

Evelyn Collins , as Chief Executive of the “twinned” NIEC will have overall responsibility for delivery of the Project together with Tziona Koenig-Yair the EEOC National Commissioner and Bob Niven as “Resident Twinning Adviser” in Israel with responsibility for day to day delivery. The Project Assistant, Arwa Rinawi , also plays a key role.

They will be assisted by short term experts from Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the EU, working in Israel for limited periods on major aspects of each component.
Update (July 2010)

The project is well on track and below are some of the highlights of the current activities:

  • successful kick-off Conference on 6th June 2010 with high-level keynote speakers;
  • 4 field visits enabled the project team to gather information on and engage in fruitful exchanges on employer good practice, equalities measurement, awareness-raising strategies, legal database and best use of the EEOC’s legal powers;
  • work plan for the whole Project drawn up and first 6 months detailed schedule agreed;
  • in May 2010 all EEOC staff visited stakeholders and partners in Northern Ireland and Ireland. The key ideas and conclusions of this highly successful visit will be embedded into future work of the EEOC and the Project;
  • Evelyn Collins, the Project Leader and Renee Dempsey, Chief Executive of the Equality Auhtority in Ireland provided some valuable input to the Visit; and
  • extensive good contacts have been made with the European Commission and Equinet.

The coming months will be dedicated to the preparation of action plans and the consolidation of the knowledge and expertise gathered. The project team will also making progress on the first annual awareness-raising conference to be held in early 2011.

For more information about the project and its future plans, please contact