International IDEA is hosting the 6th High Level Meeting of the Inter-Regional Dialogue on Democracy (IRDD), to discuss the theme of Gender Equality and Political Empowerment of Women. This year the High Level Meeting will take place on 8 November 2016, at the Headquarters of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France.
The IRDD is a unique platform designed to bring together the main regional organizations to address issues related to democracy and good governance. The 6th High Level Meeting is the gathering of the heads and senior officials of the 8 regional organizations that are part of the platform, including the African Union (AU,) Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN,) the Council of Europe (CoE,) the European Union (EU,) the League of Arab States (LAS,) the Organization of American States (OAS,) the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC,) and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF.) The United Nations will also be represented in the meeting, as well as the Community of Democracies (CoD,) which is joining the platform for the first time.
Among the confirmed high Level participants at the 6th High Level Meeting of the IRDD are the Secretary-General of International IDEA, Yves Leterme; the Secretary-General of the CoE, Thorbjørn Jagland; the Secretary General of the CoD, Maria Leissner; the Assistant Secretary-General of the OAS, Nestor Mendez; the Deputy Secretary-General of PIF, Andie Fong Toy; and, the Director-General of the United Nations’ Office in Geneva, Michael Moller.
The High Level Meeting of the IRDD is composed by two meetings, one focused on the more operational aspects of the platform, and the High Level Meeting itself, which focuses on the decision-making and substantial discussion on the topic ad hand. Additionally, International IDEA, together with the Council of Europe, is organizing a Policy Roundtable open to the public on the topic “Regional Outlook on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” and it is part of official programme of the World Forum for Democracy.
This meeting comes at a relevant moment, as International and regional organizations are among the leading proponents of processes and institutions that promote and can contribute to the achievement of gender equality and the political empowerment of women, in response to the mandates given by their Member States, and in the continuous support to their Members.
While their mandates vary, they have all established legal frameworks and specific mechanisms to strengthen gender equality and women’s political empowerment in their regions. All regional organizations have a dedicated body, in the form of a committee, commission or directorate that is responsible for mainstreaming and spearheading efforts on gender equality and women’s political empowerment.
The efforts made in the framework of the IRDD and the results of the High Level Meeting will also contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Goals 5, 10, 11 and 16, based on the renewed role that this agenda has given to the regional organizations, and the substantive support that is expected in support of their Member States to achieve these goals.
International IDEA, through the IRDD, holds the only platform that allow the regions to come together and identify synergies and potential channels of cooperation. We recognize that the connection among regional organizations is relevant as many of the issues surrounding the theme of gender equality and political empowerment of women go beyond national borders. Strengthening such interconnectivity will create key platforms for exchange, share knowledge and contribute to the better understanding of root factors that influence progress and regress of Women Political Participation.
It is the purpose of the High Level Meeting to focus on an alternative policy agenda to address the root causes of inequality, including looking at the intersectionality of multiple inequalities and processes of discrimination. In addition, it will be an opportunity to reflect on how the core instruments from the regional organizations, including conventions, resolutions, legal instruments and programmatic agendas can move beyond the identification of the causes and impediments towards the achievement of gender equality, into the design and systematic implementation of gender responsive measures/mechanisms to guarantee equality and prevent gender based discrimination.
Please find below the official documents of the High Level Meeting and the Policy Roundtable: