UNSCR 1325 changed the way the international community thinks about peace and security. It is as simple as that. And it has already changed Albania quite obviously. When I came back to Albania after six years, one of the first things that stroke me was seeing all the female police officers, which were not visible here when I left in 2010. Certainly, there might have been some, but not as visible and as prominent as today. And that is because women are finally recognized as agents of peace. The OSCE has shown throughout the years its commitment to women in security. Women’s inclusion is essential for the sustainability of efforts to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts.
This year our chairman is encouraging the participation of women in major attempts to negotiate peaceful settlements like the Geneva International Discussions, the Minsk process, and the Transdniestrien Settlement process. The reason for that, as it is recognized, is that peace processes can only be successful long-term the voices of women, their perspectives and needs are taken into account. In addition, our Chairman in Office has planned for 2017 a series of activities on the role of media in implementing UNSCR 1325, with the goal of fostering in the OSCE area gender-sensitive reporting on conflicts.
Despite of the changing reality in Albania, Albania is unfortunately the only country in the region that does not have a National Action Plan on UN SCR 1325. Strengthening women’s leadership roles requires genuine commitment. National governments must commit resources to the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda. Albania has made substantial progress, however, having an Action Plan on UNSCR1325 offers the state and also the civil society an opportunity to frame and reflect on what they have achieved over the past years in further empowering women. For instance, the new strategy on Countering Gender Based Violence, the Law on Domestic Violence, the increase of women representatives in the government, parliament and local government, , the appointment of a General in the Albanian Armed forces are all solid indicators of the commitment of this direction.
Albania needs an Action Plan tailored to its political context built on lessons learned by other neighbouring countries that do have this document. We urge strongly the state institutions to co-ordinate and institutionalize these efforts.
The OSCE Presence in Albania, with the support of our headquarters in Vienna, is fully committed to support with expertise the technical development of this document. We will also make an effort to increase capacities through training of actors from state institutions and civil society on the drafting of a National Action Plan.
Our Presence has over the past many years strongly supported gender diversity and equality in Albania. In the security sector, we assisted already in 2009 the recruitment campaign for women, when gender quotas were first introduced. We supported the police by providing the staff members with a better understanding of diversity and tools for ensuring gender mainstreaming. And we have run numerous Counter Domestic Violence Campaigns in Tirana, Korça, Elbasan, and Gjirokastra.
An action plan on Resolution 1325 is not the only one of our main recommendations in the field of women empowerment. Elections 2017 are approaching and there is one last point I would like to mention: despite the positive trend in previous years, in Albania there are still not enough women in parties’ lists – although from the legal point of view this requires very small changes to the electoral code, political will is still necessary for this to happen. We would like to see more women representatives, which brought already let’s call it fresh wind, fresh air into many municipalities; we would like to see more engagement in including women, more efforts in every sense even if it is not yet in the electoral code.
The list of actions to be undertaken is considerable. But investing in diversity and equality will be more than repaid in terms of increasing trust and confidence and introducing change. You have our essential support in every endeavour you will undertake. The OSCE is keen to work with Albanian actors in this important process for the benefit of all Albanian people.