Gender Inequalities and Corruption Focus of High-Level Conference Organised by OSCE Presence in Albania

A high-level conference on raising awareness on gender inequalities and corruption took place on 10 December 2021, in hybrid format in Tirana. Organized by the OSCE Presence in Albania, the event marked the end of Integrity Week in Albania, which raised awareness of the opportunities that gender-specific approaches to fighting corruption offer to boost socio-economic growth, security, and to consolidate democracy.

The event saw the participation and contributions by OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid, Vincenzo Del Monaco, Head of the OSCE Presence in Albania, and Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.

“Corruption has gendered impacts and obstructs women’s economic empowerment. We need more support for gender-sensitive anti-corruption programmes. The OSCE has the mandate and capacity to make a difference. Thank you to the OSCE Presence in Albania for organizing this event”, said Secretary General Schmid at the opening via teleconference.

“The OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security cuts across the three dimensions including the economic and human dimensions, which foster and focus on the meaningful participation and protection of women in the political arena as well as in human rights and freedom from violence. I believe that this comprehensive understanding of security is one of the greatest strengths of the OSCE”, Ambassador Verveer said.

Albania’s Deputy Minister of Justice, Adea Pirdeni, informed participants that the ministry would begin an inclusive process to prepare a new anti-corruption strategy that increases the involvement of women and girls in all dimensions of the fight against corruption. “We were very pleased to receive very recently a study commissioned by the OSCE, which proves the need to dedicate specific attention to a gender-sensitive approach to corruption,” Pirdeni said.

The ambassadors of Sweden and Netherlands to Albania Elsa Håstad and Reinout Vos, Vice President of Luiss University Professor Paola Severino, and Chairwoman of Albania International Chamber of Commerce Bilgen Aldan were also present in the event. The conference’s first panel explored how issues of gender equality impact overarching societal development and framed the importance of inclusion for sustainable development in an international context.

The second panel featured findings from preliminary research conducted in Albania in the field of gender inequalities and corruption, with a particular focus on the fields of healthcare and tertiary education. Ambassador Melanne Verveer and the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Combating Corruption, Professor Anita Ramasastry, chaired the two technical panels. Deputy Head of Presence Clarisse Pasztory moderated the event.

The event took place as part of the annual Integrity Week organized by the International Chamber of Commerce in Albania with the support of the Dutch Embassy and other partners, including the Presence.