Main pageNewsTranscript of the International Discussion Club "Eurasian Union of Women Regional Leaders"

Transcript of the International Discussion Club "Eurasian Union of Women Regional Leaders"

Natalia Komarova:

I open a meeting of our club at the appointed time. We have already taken a little of time fr om our work, but I am confident that we will meet the regulations. Welcoming you, I would like to note that 200 participants fr om 30 countries, 28 regions of the Russian Federation, we have joined together in order to solve the most important issues of the "women's" agenda as efficiently as possible, with benefit for everyone, including overcoming a wide range of negative consequences fr om the pandemic.

Currently, I will definitely pay attention to this, our portal contains information about 200 projects, successful practices that could be useful in other regions and countries, and which are ready for replication. Perhaps some of them are subjects for joint implementation.

Dialogue is the basis of our soft "female" power. In our country there is a joke: "God forbid to get into these kind hugs." I was joking.

Helping to make the world a better place, responding to challenges, our practices should include new directions, and it is very important that they contain ready-made tools in order to implement them. During the meeting of our Association, on the threshold of the Forum, online and offline discussions during the year, we have prepared an action plan for development of our Association and proposals for the final resolution of the Eurasian Women's Forum. I will name some of them. During our discussion, I ask you to comment on the proposals that have already been included in the draft resolution, and, perhaps, additional ones will arise.

So, first: the projects of the participants of the Association in the form of ready-to-replicate solutions will be included in the Russian bank of Best Practices - Smartec of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives. We have agreed with ASI on such an opportunity, and it seems to me that the more sites where our projects will be placed, the more chances there are for their promotion.

In this regard, I think it would be right if you, dear colleagues, members of our club, promote our projects using resources of development institutions in your countries.

Second: according to many members of the Association, there was a need for legal registration of its activities. It is proposed to establish a Public diplomacy Foundation "Eurasian Association of Women Regional Leaders" with subsequent obtaining consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council. I am already negotiating with those of us who have diplomatic experience. Veronika Peshkova is glad. She, in fact, pulled this idea to the public level. That's why we have an ambassador, a very powerful one. Not only Veronica, but also other women ambassadors, those who participate in people's diplomacy, are ready, agreeing with the usefulness of such an approach, to promote it on the UN platform.

Third: 2022-2032 has been declared by the UN as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages. Representatives of indigenous peoples, members of our association are taking the initiative to establish an international award for preservation of indigenous languages.

Fourth: target of many of our participants' practices are teenagers and young people. The draft resolution contains an initiative to open a youth platform of our Junior EWF association. The abbreviation, in my opinion, is attractive, and I am confident that we will bring children with us and teach them kind and beautiful things.

Dear participants of the discussion club, the resolution contains the proposals I have mentioned and other initiatives, I ask you to express opinions on the draft of this document during the discussion.

In conclusion, I will once again use the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin. I think this is important for us, at least there was a single positive mood in the audience when he said it, so he noticed the following: he stressed that the personal example of women leaders who enjoy deserved recognition in their fields of activity inspires millions of people around the world, our energy, activities, projects are a key factor in transforming the lives of people around the world.

We agree to speak for up to five minutes, I have met the deadline and I give the floor to Her Excellency Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Nicaragua Alba Azucena Torres Mejia.


Alba Azucena Torres Mejia:

Hello, I am very glad to be here, I see beautiful beautiful women's faces of, as Valentina Matvienko says, friends.

Distinguished Madam Governor Natalia Vladimirovna, dear colleagues, participants of the meeting of the international women's discussion club Eurasian Association of Women Regional Leaders, honored guests and guests of the Forum. Please accept cordial greetings with a peaceful, friendly, Christian and solidarity message fr om our Comandante President Daniel Ortega Saavedra and fr om Vice President Comrade Rosario Murillo Zambrana, fr om all Nicaraguans.

It is an honor for me to be a participant of the Third Eurasian Women's Forum, and I am happy to make a report here on the experience of my country, important achievements and rights that Nicaraguan women were able to regain thanks to the policy pursued by the Government of reconciliation and national unity.

In 2010, a significant element of the national legislative framework was formed in Nicaragua, the Law on Equal Rights and Opportunities, which regulates the issue of gender equality when participating in elections for public office, ensuring that 50% will be held by men, and 50% of seats will be reserved for women. At the moment, 47% of mayors in local self-government bodies, 51% of deputy mayors, 49% of council members are women.

Nicaragua ranks first in the world in terms of the number of women holding ministerial positions. It is women who head 58.82% of ministries, occupy key positions in the fields of healthcare, education, defense, labor, environmental protection and natural resources, tourism, family economy, forestry, the Ministry of Family and Women's Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It is also women who hold the positions of Vice-President of the Republic, Chairperson of the Supreme Court, Vice-President of the electoral authority, Prosecutor General of the country, Ombudsman for Human Rights.

Active participation of women in the activities of public authorities has contributed to the effective implementation of the objectives of our National Gender Policy, National Human Development Program and National Plan to Combat Poverty to Ensure Sustainable Development for the period 2021-2026.

As for economic empowerment, the Government, realizing that women play the "first role" in the family economy, restored their right to have priority access to a number of programs, including micro-loans, which allow women to receive funding to start or support their entrepreneurial activities, provide them with the opportunity to work, prosper, increase their incomes as potential new participants in the economy of our country.

The Ministry of Family Collective Economy and Cooperative Social Economy through special programs supported one million six hundred thousand women, the micro-loan program "Usura cero" with a zero interest rate made it possible to issue one million two hundred fifty three thousand sixty loans to three hundred ninety six thousand three hundred ninety four women. For this year, 56 million US dollars were allocated to support entrepreneurship for 160 thousand women.

Our model of healthcare, institution of family and social life, promoted through the project "My hospital in my community", allows us to provide a full range of health services in the most remote places of our country, taking care of people's lives.

During 14 years, we, the Sandinistas, have built 128 new maternity hospitals, which has led to a decrease in maternal mortality. Nicaragua was awarded the American Prize for reducing maternal mortality by 69%. In 2006, there were 115 deaths per 100,000 births, and by 2020 this number had dropped to 36 cases.

In these difficult times of the pandemic, our Government recently announced that 233,473 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be provided to pregnant women and children over the age of 12 who have been diagnosed with life-threatening diseases in order to preserve their life and health.

Our Government actively encourages measures aimed at reducing and preventing domestic and gender-based violence, including the methodology (at the stage of early education) of teaching the subject "Rights and dignity of women" in order to teach peaceful values fr om a young age. The practice of providing comprehensive assistance in police departments for women's affairs is also encouraged. There is a free hotline to help women in a difficult situation, institutes for the promotion of family values and family counseling centers are actively functioning. Comprehensive strategy reduces the number of crimes against women by 8%.

Nicaragua has managed to reduce the gender gap by 80.9%, and, according to the forecasts of the World Economic Forum, if the work continues at the same pace, by 2034 the existing gender gap in Nicaragua will be completely eliminated.

We continue to protect the process of women's life, giving them new spaces and opportunities, especially now when we are facing new challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to advocate for changes in cultural codes so that women have the right to vote, can respect themselves, and also that, finally, manifestations of violence against women in various forms are eradicated.

I will conclude my speech with a quote from the Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario: "By devoting your efforts to your dreams, you will be able to light the flame of your life."

I would like to wish the hosts of this Forum, the women of Eurasia and all women from other regions to have the opportunity to make their dreams come true, making this world more harmonious, joyful and promising.

Thank you very much, I love you all very much.

Natalia Komarova:

Thank you very much, dear Madam Ambassador, for the greetings from Nicaragua, for the experience you shared in the development of civil relations, state administration and, very valuable, support for business structures headed by women and business projects implemented by women. I am sure that participants of the meeting are interested in what you said, and if there is an opportunity, we are ready to position projects of your fellow citizens on our platform so that it will be patrimony of the whole world.

I give the floor to Mrs. Anand Purnima, President of the BRICS International Forum, India.

Don't worry, everything is fine, we passed without meeting, but I knew I would meet you. I have conveyed your assessment of our joint work to the residents of Ugra, and we, in turn, support your project "Global Green Mission" and wish you success. I ask everyone to pay attention to this project of Mrs. Anand, please.

Purnima Anand:

Thank you, dear Natalia Komarova, Governor of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug - Ugra.

Dear colleagues, I wish you all a pleasant morning in St. Petersburg, I am happy to be here with you and present the subject with which everyone agrees. We all know that the UN has declared 2021 the Year of Peace and Trust. Of course, it united people from different regions. When I visited Khanty-Mansiysk and other regions, I realized that the local population and local languages need to be preserved, and we are always thinking about how to work together with Ugra and other regions, because in India we also have a local population that still does not have necessary development. And just during the pandemic, we had time to sit down and think, and we thought about the "green" mission, because during the pandemic, everyone received medical support, but in India the population is very numerous both in villages and in remote regions. People survive on their own with the help of local medicine, wh ere the level is lower compared to large cities. We inspected the regions, because I have a connection with ten thousand women who live in remote regions, in the Himalayan zone. When I contacted them, I found that they were treated with herbs, some local drugs, that is, the impact of the virus was not so strong. If there is a flu epidemic, they use local herbs and local medicines. I felt that during the pandemic, young people realized that they could not stay at home all the time, and we decided that we needed to send young people to the regions, to villages, so that they could learn how people manage their own resources. Of course, there is soil, water, animals and local food, so if we combine all this together and add modern education, of course, we will get everything in the village, directly in the village. During the pandemic, what did we get in the "smart" cities? We were all locked up in apartments, we were thinking about how to go buy medicine, vegetables, if a person had a fever or something else, and when a person went to the hospital, of course, there were no guarantees that this person would survive. In such circumstances, by the way, I discussed this issue with experts, with doctors who adhere to a holistic approach, they noted that this experiment is very good and we have combined agricultural, rural India, added human resources from universities and also the UN sustainable development program, which is actively adhered to in our country. We sent university graduates to rural India, they conducted their research projects, got very interesting results on how we can develop a "smart" village instead of "smart" cities.

So we were able to reverse this process. People can live in the countryside and at the same time be in touch with global development programs. We go from local to global and vice versa. We are promoting this synergy with the help of the "green" mission. I am very grateful that Ms. Komarova and her team understand our mission and support it.

We also participated in the regional development program before the start of the global conference, the Eurasian Women's Forum. I think we can have a number of important experiments within the framework of this project. We can involve not only Indian youth, we can involve other youth so that they come, for example, to villages. Our Himalayan villages are very beautiful, there are amazing resources.

If the international community sends young students, young people, interns to our villages, they will see that all the resources are there, on the ground, and it is possible to implement a lot of projects from rural India. Also, the local population lives in their own way, they have their own way of life, so please support our project "Global Green Mission". The Regional Women's Club also conducts its own number of research projects dedicated to the UN Sustainable Development Program. We need support and joint efforts to expand this project. I hope we will have a great result. Your support is always with me, with our organization, in the BRICS Brazil, China are developing their own vaccine, Russia has developed a vaccine, India has also developed a vaccine, and these countries have coped well with the pandemic situation, so we have good opportunities in the BRICS countries: our doctors, our volunteers and volunteer organizations, wh ere women are also very active. Thank you very much.

Natalia Komarova:

It is very important, maybe someone has accumulated experience in overcoming the psychological issue that now accompanies residents of all regions of the world regarding perception of the usefulness of the vaccine and use of other medicines. It seems to me that projects in this area will be in great demand now, when people are already very tired of the pandemic. Thank you.

I give the floor to the Regional Director of the UN Women program for Europe and Central Asia, Ms. Alia El-Yasir. Please.


Thank you, Ms. Komarova, first of all, for the invitation.

Dear delegates, dear leaders, dear participants, I am honored to have this opportunity to be here and take part in the discussion club. We are meeting at a time when we are facing a pandemic, when the waves of a pandemic take place around the world. Given this, we all risk retreating and losing the progress we have made in terms of equality. The pandemic has exposed existing crises. I would like to tell you about three important points that require our collective attention. First of all, jobs. Globally, women lost 54 million jobs in 2019-2020, and by the end of this year, while men's positions will recover, women's positions will not recover, and we will also have 13 million fewer employed women than before the pandemic.

The second issue is the medical crisis that has left millions of children and dependent adults without the support they need. This requires making difficult choices, and of course, this has greatly affected women and girls. Even before the crisis, women and girls around the world took on three times more unpaid work than men, and this burden directly affects their ability to have paid employment. Affordable childhood education and guardianship are important factors that determine that women with children work in paid jobs.

The third point that requires our attention (this, by the way, is important to note from the previous speaker) is growing environmental crisis. It has a great impact on vulnerable women and girls, who, by the way, have added the least to strengthen the problem. Women's dependence on unequal access to natural resources means that they are affected by environmental destruction and climate change. Vulnerable rural areas in Eurasia, poor countries face food insecurity, and all kinds of poverty, including lack of electricity, are faced by women. These issues are now being raised at the international level, at the highest level. When we discuss sustainability issues, women play an important role in intergovernmental forums that allow us to have a dialogue and address these issues, focusing on empowering women, which is our goal and opportunity to achieve sustainable development, the rest of the Sustainable Development Goals. We want everyone sitting in this room to be involved in the discussion on resolving these issues.

In the first quarter of next year there will be a meeting of the commission on the status of women, which will take place in New York, the main topic of discussion will be the intersection between gender and environmental issues. We will discuss how we will guarantee a better future for everyone. There will also be another subject: position of women in the world of employment. Our region, our countries represented here, have a lot of topics for this discussion. We can share good practices and offer solutions to these global problems. At the same time, a regional sustainable development forum will be held in Geneva, wh ere two important goals will be discussed. First of all, the fifth goal on gender equality, and the goal on partnership, goal number seventeen. We need you because a sustainable and fair economy requires changes in what we do and how we do it.

The report of the UN Secretary General calls for the promotion of a new social contract between the government, civil society, people and business. And this means that we need to integrate employment, sustainable development and also social protection on the basis of equal rights and opportunities for all.

With women's leadership, such as we see here, the world has the best chance to fight against unequal opportunities. Together we can offer solutions and guarantee an inclusive and equal world.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to address you today. I will be happy to hear your comments.

Natalia Komarova:

Thank you very much. It seems to me that your proposal to concentrate a large block of issues into three global areas is very important. And you have provided quite succinct information on how to structure work. Thank you very much, we will be preparing to participate, including in the events you have just mentioned. It seems to me that these are the platforms wh ere women, associations of women are very important, so they were represented and could express their opinions. Thank you.

I give the floor to Veronika Peshkova, Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. That is, we are staying at the UN site, please.

Veronika Peshkova:

Good afternoon, dear Natalia, Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honor for me to address you today, and I would like to confirm that the agenda for the development of women's rights and opportunities is relevant today. A large number of agencies within the structure of the United Nations are developing on the platform of the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, BRICS and many other international organizations and associations. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is actively developing an agenda for development of women's economic empowerment, entrepreneurship and leadership within the framework of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations for the period up to 2030. And I would like to note that the resolution adopted at the end of the XVIII General Conference of UNIDO was the first UN document that officially designated the role of the Eurasian Women's Forum as a global platform for supporting women.

For many years, Russia has consistently supported UNIDO projects aimed at developing women's economic initiatives, collecting and replicating best practices. Within the framework of the UNIDO project, in partnership with the Council of the Eurasian Women's Forum, a global network of contacts has been created representing experts and practitioners from all over the world in the field of women's entrepreneurship, creative industries, women's leadership in the public sector, companies and corporations.

The pandemic has affected women's businesses and jobs around the world, and at the same time the process of digitalization has accelerated in all sectors of the world economy, which on the one hand has provided opportunities for a large number of women to get new impulses to develop their business or modify their career. However, we must understand that this entails a very high risk of a gap between those who adapt to the new digital reality and those who will be deprived of such an opportunity. It is extremely important to develop cooperation between government institutions, private sector, academia and international organizations. Our international discussion club "Eurasian Association of Women Regional Leaders" can become one of the flagships of such interaction. As Natalia Komarova voiced in her welcoming speech, I propose to give our cooperation an institutional character so that we have the opportunity to institutionally realize the prospects of interaction with international organizations, associations, companies, corporations, and the academic community. To implement those project ideas and areas that are born on our platform.  

In addition, based on the best practices gathered during the implementation of the UNIDO project together with the Council of the Eurasian Women's Forum, we came to the conclusion about the importance of educational projects in support of women, especially in the field of digital skills. I am glad to announce that on the threshold of our forum, on October 11, we launched the educational program "Development of digital skills for women in business". This program is presented online in Russian and English on the UNIDO educational platform, available for women for free.

Dear friends, dear women leaders, I ask you to convey this information to women from your regions so that they have the opportunity to take advantage of this program, to advance in modern digital reality.

Each new meeting gives us a new impulse, gives us inspiration, gives us new opportunities. Today it is important to develop women's cooperation in the field of creative industries, which are growing much faster than the global economy on average. This sector opens up new opportunities for women, because it is there that jobs will be multiplied, automated during the digitalization of standard industries.

I want to thank Natalia Komarova for starting our cooperation in the field of creative industries with the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug - Ugra, and I hope that this will serve to ensure that many women have the opportunity to adapt their creative projects to modern international value chains. I wish our association further success and believe that we will not only come up with a large number of initiatives, but also implement them. Thank you.

Natalia Komarova:

Thank you very much, Veronica. I give the floor to Ms. Draginja Vlk, deputy of the Belgrade City Parliament, member of the national delegation of the Republic of Serbia to the Congress of Local European Authorities of the Council of Europe. The subject is concerning the role of creative industries as growth points of regional economies and sources of employment. Experience of the city of Belgrade and other regions of Serbia. Please.

Draginja Vlk:

Thank you very much, dear Ms. Komarova, dear ladies. I am very glad that there are so many women from all over the world around me today, and many thanks to the Governor, Ms. Komarova, for organizing. Many thanks for the opportunity for Serbia to become a part of the Discussion Club. Our Governor Komarova is one of Serbia's best friends and a woman with whom we have big plans for cooperation in all areas, not just women's issues. So, I am very grateful that we have you.

As I said at the Forum on the first day, Serbia today and 20 years ago are two different states. Just as it is impossible to compare Serbia today and 10 years ago.

You know, as a woman who wanted to be involved in politics from an early age, who as a child preferred to watch the parliament session instead of cartoons, I have to say that I am very proud of what Serbia has done over the past 10 years in the field of empowerment, how it is developing rapidly.

It is very important for us to gather in such numbers and have a lively discussion, face-to-face discussion, because this is an opportunity to exchange experiences and ideas that can be very useful for all our countries. I can say that when I saw how many women were interested in watching this session, I thought that we needed to take the plenary hall, so next time we need to hold it in the plenary hall.

There are many areas that Serbia can be proud of and develop. I think creative industry is an area wh ere a lot of progress has been made over the past 10 years. Serbia has become the first country in the Western Balkan region to be a leader in creative industries. Over the past few years, four innovation centers have been built, in which tens of millions of euros have been invested, and it is planned to open three more centers in various other regions. One of the Government's priorities is to expand opportunities, especially for young people. The number of people who work in the field of creative industries has reached 130,000, and more than half of them are young people aged between 20-45 years, 45% of them are women. The effects of the pandemic have slowed down this sector in Serbia a bit, but not significantly. According to the reports of the Belgrade Faculty of Economics, 14 films were shot in 2019 and, if we add to this series, 4-5 foreign projects that appear annually, this number is approaching 40. Among them are the achievements of Hollywood stars. In Serbia, we have managed to create an attractive destination for foreign films, and we are working on the infrastructure in terms of the capacity of the studios, equipment, quality of the equipment that we have. It is also a financial incentive that the state has been providing since 2016. This means that every project that is financed by investments from abroad or private investments from Serbia is entitled to a 25% refund. This model exists in almost 100 different countries, the initiator of this model was President Alexander Vucic, and it had a fantastic result.

Also, I cannot but say that in the last nine years more than 400 factories have opened in Serbia and more than 150,000 people have found jobs. This does not apply to the creative industries, but it does apply to the program with a return, and there are more investments than before. Of course, there are also problems that people working in the creative industries complain about. These are laws that may not have an adequate definition. Because of professions that are not spelled out in the Code, or other legal problems, but I am sure that by 2025, as our Prime Minister said, we will try to make that these laws adequate.

In the last 3 years alone, very important investments have been made in this sector of Serbia, more than 400 million euros have come out of Serbia as a creative industry, as well as investments from research and development of education, creation of new values and intellectual property. Analytics also shows that a large number of companies have been created in the field of computer programming, video game development industry and production of audiovisual content.

And of course, I will not take up too much time and sincerely hope that in the field of creative industries, as in other areas, we will cooperate in the future, and we will all work together to develop in different areas.

Once again I would like to thank the organizers and Ms. Matvienko for such a good organization of the Third Eurasian Women's Forum. You know, there's one thing I don't understand: why is it called the Eurasian Women's Forum? I think this is a global women's forum, because I see that there are practically women from different continents, from all countries. So, we need to think that the next time, maybe, we will call it "Eurasian plus the rest of the world". Thanks again to everyone. I will show one small video, which was prepared for me, for this site, by my two friends, because I also work in the creative industries of Serbia. This is a small video, it will take one minute. We are looking forward to see you in Serbia.

Natalia Komarova:

Now we will show your video, dear Draginja. Regarding your question, I don't quite understand and I want to note that this is a woman's logic - the Eurasian Forum.


Natalia Komarova:

Thank you for such a greeting, such an invitation. Once again, with regard to "I don't understand", a little self-irony, we have the right to do this, this is a woman's logic.

Let's continue, now we have an online speech by the mayor of the district of Nurlan (Norway), Mrs. Kari Anne Andreassen. Is there such a possibility? There is.

Welcome, please.

Kari Anne Andreassen:

Thank you very much, first of all, let me start with the following words. I would really like to be with you personally, but, unfortunately, I do not have such an opportunity. I would also like to express my gratitude to all the organizers of this Forum for a wonderful event.  I really appreciate your contribution, we are glad to see that the number of participants is only increasing and the quality of participants is unsurpassed. Dear members of the club, dear organizers, dear listeners, my name is Kari Anne Andreassen.

I was elected mayor of the Nurlan District of Northern Norway in October 2019. This is the first time I take part in this Forum, despite the fact that I am doing it online, I am very glad and proud that I have the opportunity to participate in the work of the Eurasian Association of Women Regional Leaders.

Norway is considered the second country in terms of gender equality, an international forum, but these are words, in fact it turns into opportunities for men and women. By the way, COVID-19 has exposed several gender patterns, the labor market in Norway is still gender-segregated, and we find a serious difference at the level of CEOs and at management levels. 40% of representatives of municipal councils are women, but 14% of all CEOs of the largest companies in Norway are our friends - women. And our salaries are only 89% of the salaries of men. Unfortunately, we see that the pandemic has only widened the gender gap, and this makes women much more vulnerable. We also see an increase in domestic violence, a high degree of women unemployment. The fact that more women than men are on the front line, working in the field of healthcare, education, cannot but frighten us. Fortunately, the UN Sustainable Development Goals provide us with the necessary tools to create a better environment, a better economy, and a better society. Without a doubt, equality between the sexes and genders is a necessary factor for success in all three areas, for creating a more prosperous future for all of us.

Sustainable Development Goal number five creates the necessary "road map" for the formation of representation of women, young girls, protection of their rights and the fight against discrimination and violence against women and girls. In the global world, we depend on each other. We still have to solve a number of gender issues. Even in countries like Norway, we have an obligation to share best practices. Global issues know no boundaries, and we need a coherent approach through collaboration, networking and support for each other. We must also stand up for equal opportunities. Such forums, like this one, create the necessary foundation for achieving our goals. I look forward to the opportunity to continue the work of the Association, I really want to get to know this strong group of women who are members of this Forum, but, above all, I hope that we will use our influence to give equal rights and opportunities to all girls and women. I wish you every success in all countries, achieving all the tasks that you set for yourself, and solving all the problems. Thank you so much.

Natalia Komarova:

Thank you very much, dear Ms. Andreassen. We are looking forward to see you in
St. Petersburg, in other regions of the Russian Federation and the regions represented by the members of our club.

We are returning to St. Petersburg, and I give the floor to the Mayor of Djibouti, Mrs. Fatouma Awaleh Osman.

Fatouma Awaleh Osman

My name is Fatouma Awaleh Osman, I am the mayor of Djibouti – it is the capital of a country that is located in Africa, and I have been the mayor since March 2017. I am also the President of the National Association of Local Authorities of Djibouti, and this is an association that includes all the authorities of our country. I am also the President of the Women's Network of our country, I am also a member of the executive bureau of women mayors who have been elected mayors in Africa. Now let me tell you a little bit about women in the Republic of Djibouti.

With the coming to power of the President of the Republic in 1999, women began to occupy an important place on the political agenda: these are women in parliament, these are women in the upper echelon of power, they occupy a very important place in enterprises.

Currently, women make up 27% of the Parliament of Djibouti, they hold important positions in the Government, in 26 ministries – women head 6 key ministries.

If we can talk about decentralization, now it is a new process in Djibouti, it has been going on since 2006, when the first regional elections were held. The first regional elections were held in 2006, I was elected in 2017 during the third mandate, that is, I became the first woman elected mayor.

Elections are held every five years, and women represent approximately 33% of the municipality, i.e. there are local women deputies elected at the local level, representing municipalities - cities of Djibouti. There are women vice-presidents of regions, I became, fortunately, the first woman to hold the post of mayor.

I would also like to say that women play a very important role in our country, they occupy an important place because they contribute to the growth of our economy. A lot of women are engaged in business, and at the time of my stay in St. Petersburg, the Women's Entrepreneurial Association just did a great job in their country, so I want to express my satisfaction and when I return to my country, I will sign a memorandum between the Djibouti Women Entrepreneurs Association and a similar association in St. Petersburg.

It was a brief introduction about the role of women in our country, if I may say so. Women make 80% of all business and are the backbone of our economy. I also want to share with you my experience – how we fought, not even fought, but how we manage to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

We know that 2020 was a difficult year in all countries, all over the world, and in the Republic of Djibouti, and especially in our city, of which I am the mayor. We had to take a lot of different measures. As for the coronavirus, as you know, this pandemic has affected the whole country, and all countries, and all territories, and all movements of people and goods – all this has had a huge impact.

Since women play a very important role in the economy, we are faced with complete restrictive measures: a complete lockdown. The Government of Djibouti has drawn up an aid plan that allowed women to receive assistance directly.

At our level of the municipality of Djibouti, which I represent, we started distributing masks, then we tried to lim it mortality, for this we did a lot of informational work: we wrote on posters about what measures needed to be taken, about how to cope in general, and then we trained women who sew, explained to them how to sew masks, i.e. we conducted such courses, we worked with women's networks and explained to them, carried out explanatory work, this work was also carried out on television, but also directly by apartment - there were special women who visited houses.

I also want to tell you: since I became the head of the city, I have established a district committee – this is a collective of people who represent the entire district of the city, i.e. we cannot talk to everyone, it is necessary that there be a committee, it consists of 15 members - these are the leaders who are represented in this committee, they played a very important role during the pandemic. As part of the information propaganda campaign, we have also involved these committees.

As for the sanitary and hygienic plan, the Republic of Djibouti complies with WHO standards, and vaccination is mandatory, especially for travelers, if I wanted to get on my plane, I had to show my vaccination certificate, moreover, vaccination is generally mandatory, and now a very wide vaccination campaign is being carried out in all territories of our country. There are vaccines, we have Sputniks, Sinovak, Johnson and Johnson, so every person, every citizen can even choose a vaccine, but vaccination is mandatory.

I also want to tell you, if you will allow me, but it seems to me that we don't have much time at all, I want to share with you that there are many different proposals. If I may, I would like to suggest that women participate in a specialized working group on coronavirus, and in decision-making processes, and legislative, political, budgetary, we should also be allowed to participate in research, including those related to the healthcare sector, in order to reduce mortality, including women and children. If you will also allow me, I propose to support preschool children, as well as their parents who are engaged in home work and at the same time take care of children, since the coronavirus has placed a disproportionate burden on the shoulders of women. As for jobs and education, it is absolutely necessary to allow women to be influencesr in these areas, and not only in a family.

The government should ensure that girls, just like boys, have equal access to education, including vocational education. It is necessary to ensure equal access to information, knowledge and technology for boys and girls, including digital rights must be respected, policies promoting gender equality are needed, it is necessary to strengthen integration of gender balance, public policy in this area and, if I could, I also want to make one last proposal - this is a gradual transition to a generation wh ere gender balance will be respected and this will become the new norm. I want to conclude my short speech and say that the devastating impact of the coronavirus on society is immeasurable, structural inequality between men and women in all areas has been revealed, because the pandemic has really jeopardized the work, especially of those employees who are employed in the health sector, and has greatly affected the particularly poor and families, women and children, and in the post-crisis era, policy should be conducted with an eye to women, because 33% of the country's economy are women, and they make up 35% of GDP. Thank you.

Natalia Komarova

Thank you very much, distinguished Madam Mayor. I listened attentively to you and your proposals on what women should take part in, and I thought that then we need to be as active as possible in the political arena and apply for the positions of mayors, governors, heads of state, then by itself, by status, a woman will take part in making the most important national decisions in the interests of all residents of a state, city, region.

I want to apologize to Mrs. Gasempour.

Excuse me, I'll give the floor to Irina Makieva, she has to take a train.

Irina is a very important speaker, she is the Chief Managing partner for urban development of VEB.RF and general director of the non-profit organization "Fund for the Development of Monotowns". Please, Irina.

Irina Makieva

Thank you very much, Natalia Komarova.

Dear friends!

I would like to continue this topic, which the speakers who are sitting at this table have already started discussing today, I would like to support Purnima Anand, Draginja, when they talked about students, about development of cities, about development of villages, and I would like to share the experience of the VEB. RF with young people who come up with projects that develop cities. I wanted to say that the Higher School of Economics in Moscow makes field expeditions and offers its youth perspective on the development of territories, I think we could use this experience together with you to look at the development of villages with a fresh youth perspective.

Next, I would like to share our successes of women who lead cities, both large and small.

I would like to give some examples,VEB.RF is a state corporation that has been developing cities for many years in monotowns, I have been working on this topic for more than 10 years. If we talk about development of large cities, then VEB has been on this agenda for more than two years. In terms of the number of women, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that in monotowns there are old industrial cities that exist all over the world, 60 heads are women, there are more than 300 such cities in total, and 60 heads are women, it is difficult, it is the hardest work to manage such a city, develop it with a small budget. If we talk about large cities, then there are 8 women heads among the 100 largest cities. I think there is something to strive for, and women are so much stronger now that they are ready to manage large cities and entire regions.

Here are some examples. Elena Avdeeva is at our table, now she is a senator of the Federation Council, and in the recent past she was the mayor of the monotown of Cherepovets, Vologda region, I think that this responsibility for life in the city never lets a woman go, regardless of her position. When Elena was a mayor, I saw how the city was transformed. He had previously been in a so-called difficult, complicated situation, we call it a "red zone", and now, under the leadership of a woman mayor, the city of Cherepovets has left this "red zone" and, it seems to me, it has become quite stable.

I can talk endlessly about women mayors of big and small cities. Natalia, I wanted to respond to what is written in our draft resolution. It seems to me that we could add a paragraph about students who form projects that cause the best emotions in the territories, we are ready to create such a platform, I don't know yet exactly how we will call this platform, but we will give the opportunity to students and all those who want to give their suggestions, which projects need to be implemented in cities, small villages, settlements so that it not only creates jobs, but also causes positive emotions.

Because we are women, we have a special empathy, we know how to smile, we know how to agree with each other, we know how to develop all our proposals, including those mentioned here, so I'm coming out with this proposal and I think Natalia Komarova and colleagues will support me. We can talk endlessly about women, I am sure that there should be more women leaders, but we will support each of you. Thank you very much.

Natalia Komarova

Thank you, Irina. I think that, as always, we didn't have enough time, and therefore let's agree that we will take another 2 weeks and work on our work plan for this inter-forum period and throw our proposals there so that the resolution itself will not be touched if there are no fundamental objections, but we will work on our work plan for the next three years for another 2 weeks. Well, two weeks, although we will make changes as we go. Life is life, who knew that there would be COVID, no one knew.

Long-awaited Ms. Fatemeh Gasempur, you have the floor, Deputy of the Islamic Assembly of the Islamic Republic of Iran, please.

Fatemeh Gasempur:

Good afternoon, dear colleagues, dear ladies, dear leaders.

I hope you are not tired, it was a very, very good session, we have been here in St. Petersburg for 3 days, attending the Eurasian Women's Forum.

My name is Shiva Fatemeh, I am a deputy from Kurdistan province and the first woman deputy from Kurdistan province in the Parliament of Iran.

You know, I heard your concerns about women's entrepreneurship, about the creative industry, about healthcare, about taking care of children, in families and so on, I heard all this.

I would like to note that the concern of the current community about an important and key issue of peace is commendable.

Now, more than two decades after the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, and the recognition of women's leadership in achieving this great goal, more than ever there is a need for additional initiatives and a combination of effective national and international measures, along with dynamic cooperation, to normalize the path to lasting peace.

Lasting peace is peace in a positive sense. Good governance, reduction of corruption, free flow of information, strengthening of human capital and good, effective relations with other countries are the basis of sustainable development and peace. Meanwhile, effective communication and international cooperation, especially economic cooperation, act as a driving force for building mutual trust, and women can play a very important role in expanding this cooperation.

I would like to emphasize that women play a very important role in expanding this cooperation. However, the creative role of women requires that their voices be heard, that their abilities be believed in.

Today, making every effort to strengthen gender justice, the women of my country actively participate in the social, economic and political life of the country.

Today, activities of more than 4,000 women entrepreneurs and the management of 20% of entrepreneurship centers and 20% of knowledge-based companies demonstrate the high value of this human capital. Over the past three years, the Government of the Republic of Iran has launched the "Women of Sanctions" campaign to identify and present about 500 of the most successful, capable and enterprising women, especially in small towns, and has seriously supported, trained and strengthened women's entrepreneurship.

Now I would like to take this opportunity to proudly make an offer to women entrepreneurs of my country, in the context of creating a large space for Eurasian cooperation to achieve peace and progress, to give my women entrepreneurs a platform so that, by participating at the transnational level, exchanging experience, offering products and services, contributing to the development of their business and helping the economic development of their country, to create a strong and effective chain of economic ties between the participating countries. Of course, in the current international situation, when unilateral coercive measures of some countries threaten peace and trust, expansion of such positive cooperation with women entrepreneurs can be a very important step forward.

In the end, I would like to thank you, Natalia Komarova, for moderating, I want to thank all our colleagues present here and I want to apologize for the fact that after the speech we also have to leave the hall, and leave you, and I want to sincerely thank everyone for their attention and for listening to me.

Natalia Komarova

Thank you very much for your presentation, dear Fatemeh, I'm sorry that you had to wait a little. I want to thank all of you on our behalf for the experience that you have just shown us, and how gently, in a partner-like way you have attracted a man to work. Talking to a man: "Is everything okay? - Is everything okay? The man answers."

I give the floor to another friend of mine, Ekaterina Lakhova. Thank you very much, Ekaterina, that you are with us today, a tremendous experience, I will tell you the following, from my feelings, just personal, very briefly: I learned from Ekaterina that we are friends. It was she who introduced the term into circulation between women who are engaged in some important things, here are friends, well, at least for me. Please, Ekaterina.

Ekaterina Lakhova

Natalia, thank you. Indeed, I have known her for 30 years, and she knows me, so there would be a lot of interesting things to say.

Dear friends, today we can talk a lot about problems, we can talk about international documents that we are ratifying and signing, about the Sustainable Development Goals, 17 goals, the 17th goal, the 5th goal, all the goals are interrelated…

The talks that each region has problems, they are generally a little different somewhere, but there are a lot in common, and the problems will never be solved if there is no clear interaction between civil society and the authorities, if the authorities do not solve the problems of poverty. Today, the President of Russia has set a task to reduce poverty by 2 times compared to 2017, and we must mobilize everything: both the executive and legislative authorities, and public organizations themselves, each organization takes on a specific task.

Here I represent a public-state organization, we have about a million members, those who are registered, and those who are not registered, about 20,000 of our women's councils, and consider it a primary link in general, and it would be possible to list the system that has been built, and 80 years this year we turned, after all, we are the legal successors of the anti-fascist committee of Soviet women, we are the legal successors of the committee of Soviet women. Therefore, we have all preserved the best traditions and consistency in our work, but I would like to say that about the replication of the best social practices, who, if not public organizations, could do it, because, firstly, in many ways the work of a public organization and the authorities depends on who heads it, everything depends on the personnel. Isn't that right? Some are in a public organization, if active good organizations work. The same applies to the mayor of a city, the governor. I say: if one cares about people, if one hears them, if one knows them, then the work is going on. Here I will name my friend as an example, for this we need to go and see the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug. Natalia, I can, so I wanted to, excuse me, I wanted to give the work of the Public Chamber as an example, so I realized, Purnima was there, probably saw, she has an office of the Public Chamber. There are public chambers in every region, well, somewhere they work, and somewhere they work in such a way that she gives them tasks, and they bear a certain responsibility. In every department there are public councils, this is the case in all our constituent entities, but public organizations have the right to vote on the boards they hold, and the first ones sometimes try, you know, as the authorities, to push away public organizations that interfere, but here it's the opposite, some kind of problem is revealed, they themselves pose a question to the Governor and say: we go to this or that district. They work all day in the district, they receive citizens, they monitor, and then at the end of the day Natalia Komarova can generally contact them by wire, discuss problems, etc. I just witnessed all this myself, and of course, I always cite her as an example to our governors and say: look at how the Public Chamber works, how much funds are allocated, how much they work on a permanent basis. As for grants, here we have a president for 20 years, civil society has become structured as never before, there has never been such a thing, you know, and now at the expense of the Presidential grants fund, I myself am a member of the coordinating council for the distribution and approval of these grants, so I just see what amounts are allocated from the federal budget. This year, we have additionally opened a second fund to support cultural initiatives, and by the end of the year we will have about 14 billion, next year, I think, this amount will be increased in 12 areas.

The task of the women's organization is to train women in design. Sometimes they get offended, they say: we didn't get it. Badly written, look, study, who has learned, that one receives, and not one, but also the second and third grant.

So, Natalia took federal experience, combined all the funds that the departments allocated separately for grants, one of the first ones made their own fund directly by order, and here I am also distributing, here is the second Natalia Vladimirovna sitting here - this is the head of the regional branch of the Khanty-Mansiysk Okrug.

Natalia Komarova

That's the way we do it.

Ekaterina Lakhova

Yes, I'm asking, I called, I said, I asked, Natalia, I'm begging you very much, I'm going to the forum, I won't be able to pay, help, please. She gave an order, and she doesn't know whether she arrived or not, because she knows that the team works as one, so I love her very much, you could tell how she works from 7 am to 11 pm, you could also tell interesting things, but for this you need to come to Ugra. She is able to listen, to hear, both for work and for people. Thanks for attention.

Natalia Komarova

Thank you very much Ekaterina, thank you.

Ekaterina Lakhova

I'm sorry, I forgot to say: I've known her for 30 years, but she was the mayor of the city then, and then she was a deputy, and now what is it? The third convocation, the third five-year plan has gone, and it's hard, you know, the region is very omplicated, to get from east to west, it takes a day by car, and it's cold, but she's tough, don't you think, she smiles here, and as a leader she's a very tough person.

Natalia Komarova

Our region is warm, because of 1,700 thousand Ugra residents with kind hearts who will melt any misunderstanding, obstacle, and so on. Thank you very much, Ekaterina, for your kind words to my fellow countrymen, come and visit us any time.

Next speaker is Yulia Zubova, general director of the Academy of Urban Technologies "Sreda", and I could close our discussion if no one objects. I note that Svetlana Romanova, who wanted to present, unfortunately, fell ill with COVID. Take care, please. I give the floor to Yulia, please.

Yulia Zubova

Good afternoon, dear colleagues, dear friends, as is now customary here in our club. It is a great honor for me to speak here today, I really want to say that my colleague, who was supposed to speak with me, is now in a hospital in Moscow, but she is watching us online, we are giving her rays of kindness, she is really very ill.

I ask you to turn on 40 seconds video about us. We have specially prepared it for today.

The video. You are giving birth to a new life. You care about people and the world around you. You are constantly developing and are not afraid of the new. You are leaders in your territories. You are the soft female power that is able to solve global problems. You are ready to work selflessly for the benefit of society. You know what sustainable development means. You are guided by these principles. You are already doing great things. Don't stop, go ahead, take new heights. Today you are the leaders of the sustainable development of the planet.

Yulia Zubova

Thank you very much. Please demonstrate a presentation. I will be very brief considering the time.

You know, in preparation for the discussion club meeting, we did a research, we studied how women managers perceive and implement the Sustainable Development Goals, and I want to say that today this is one of the main urgent tasks that managers face. In fact, gender equality in our country is becoming more and more obvious today, 45% of women hold leadership positions, but when we started studying, this is a general statistic, it is in the whole country, I'm talking about Russia now.

But when we began to look at the ratio of men and women in the government, in the Federation Council and in large cities, that's exactly what Irina Makieva was talking about, the difference is very visible.

As you can see on the slide, the percentage there is colossal, and the lower, well, you can't say that - lower, well, the smaller the municipality, the smaller the budget and the bigger are problems, there are women in leadership positions. 83% of women today are leaders in municipalities, these are settlements, small towns with a population of up to 100,000 people, even up to 30,000. We interviewed these women, and you know, when I conducted interviews, for example, with Zukhra Gordienko of the Kiginsky district of the Republic of Bashkiria, I even cried. It was 14 or 15 interviews, and I cried, because every female head of the municipality takes care of her city, her settlement, as her own family and her home.

They spoke so heartily and important things when I can't pass by, because if I clean the house after myself, I won't go shod in the apartment in which I washed the floors, and I feel the same way when I walk through my settlement. It was impossible to explain, because a lot was said about empathy today, in addition to empathy, we are still very emotional and we are so emotionally attached to what we are doing, and this is very important for us.

We asked these women what the Sustainable Development Goals mean for them, whether you are implementing them today. What we saw: first, we wanted to consider how women leaders of Russian municipalities are aware and ready to participate in promoting the sustainable development agenda, whether they use the principles of sustainable development in their personal life and professional activities, what goals are important to them and what projects are being implemented right now, and what needs to be done to ensure that the conceived initiatives are implemented at the most effective level.

We got a fairly wide geography in the study, managers of different levels were involved, and what we saw: most of the women leaders of municipalities today know about the concept of sustainable development and share its principles, are ready to use them in their professional activities.

However, it should be noted that the understanding of sustainable development remains largely at the conceptual level. There is a lack of knowledge of mechanisms and tools for their implementation in municipal policy. Also, in some cases, sustainable development is perceived very narrowly, either as only an environmental agenda, or economic growth, financial stability.

But those women who generally understand the concept of sustainable development, recognize the importance of these principles, talk about their implementation in their lives and professional activities. The overwhelming majority of women heads of municipalities, who are leaders today, implement and plan to implement projects in the field of sustainable development, but these projects are also mainly focused on separate garbage collectio

Loading comments...

Event photo


Other news

Sign up for the newsletter