Since several years, SALAR and SKL International manage a project in co-operation with the Serbian local government association; Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM). The main purpose of the project is to support SCTM and Serbian local governments to prepare for a future EU-membership, e.g. by providing direct support to selected municipalities for improved service delivery in; environment, emergency prevention, human rights and gender equality.
The establishment of the Gender Champion Network (GCN) is a way to broaden the competence and strengthen SCTM’s political representation to defend the principles of equal rights and opportunities. The core group of the GCN consists of political representatives also carrying the role of Chairpersons for different SCTM Committees, which provides them with a strategic platform for a broad outreach. The members include the current Chairperson of SCTM, Mrs Dušanka Golubović.
The official launch of the GCN took place in Stockholm during 22-24 of October 2019 . SALAR welcomed the group through Jelena Drenjanin, Municipality Commissioner of Huddinge Municipality and Chair of SALAR’s EU Committee. The launch included theoretical and practical capacity building of the GCN-members in the field of gender mainstreaming including insights as to how Swedish municipalities address gender mainstreaming both politically and practically. Much appreciated presentations were made by SALAR gender expert Magnus Jacobson and former Municipality Commissioner of Umeå, Tamara Spiric. The network members also got the opportunity to watch physical environments around the Stockholm region that have been designed from a gender sensitive perspective to provide inspiration for continued gender equality advocacy in the Serbian local environment.
Srđjan Vasiljević, Municipality of Raska and Chair of Committee on education, culture, sport and youth made the following remark at the launch in Stockholm: ”The strongest impression from the visit is that gender equality is not only political speeches but something that is actually implemented in practice. It is clear that here, people work with gender mainstreaming proactively instead of trying to adjust things that have gone wrong. This is a valuable experience to bring to our local environment in Serbia”.
During the coming year the GCN will be continuously capacitated and coached to become a strong and sustainable voice in Serbia in the field of gender equality.
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