Ajara and Samegrelo are one of the first regions of Georgia to introduce the principles of gender equality to the municipal practices.
Representatives of all 10 municipalities of Samegrelo region gathered in Batumi on March 31 to discuss gender equality at the local level with representatives of self-governments of Batumi and Tbilisi and Supreme Council of Ajara Autonomous Republic.
The conference was organized by the Women’s Information Centre (WIC) with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Government of Sweden under the UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality.
Giorgi Ermakov, Mayor of Batumi, Elene Rusetskaia, WIC Director, and Maka Meshveliani, UNDP Project Manager, addressed the participants with opening remarks.
“Decisions taken at the level of local governance have the most direct effect on everyday lives of citizens. It is encouraging to see that self-governments in Georgia work together to respond to the needs of people and ensure the achievement of gender equality for all,” Maka Meshveliani said.
Tbilisi and Batumi lead the list of Georgian cities that have successfully introduced specific organizational and financial mechanisms, such as establishment of gender equality councils, to strengthen gender-sensitive policies in self-governance.
These practices and solutions were shared during the conference with the municipalities of Samegrelo which are currently planning to adopt gender-sensitive policies. Topics of discussion included institutional mechanisms for achieving gender equality as well as new obligations faced by local governments under the amended Gender Equality Law.
“Boosting gender policy at the level of local self-governments is as important as pursuing changes within legislative and executive branches. Self-governments should do their best to process the amendments to the Law on Gender Equality. Efficient fulfilment of these regulations by the municipalities will have positive and direct effect on women and men, girls and boys,” said Elene Rusetskaia, director of the Women’s Information Center.
The conference brought together representatives of Batumi City Hall, Sakrebulo and Gamgeoba, Tbilisi Municipality, Supreme Council of Adjara Autonomous Republic and local non-governmental organizations.