Equinet in 2019
2019 is a milestone year for Equinet as our European Network of Equality Bodies embarks on the first year of its new Strategic Plan for the period 2019 - 2022. Building upon our achievements and learnings from previous years, we start with renewed motivation and energy to work towards the realisation of the objectives under the new Strategic Plan, to advance and achieve substantive equality for all in Europe.
In past years, Equinet’s focused work towards promoting standards for equality bodies materialised in two important documents at European level. In 2018, the European Commission adopted a Recommendation on standards for equality bodies in order to ensure the independence and effectiveness of national equality bodies. The Recommendation, a legal act of the Commission, sets minimum standards concerning the mandate of equality bodies; their independence; their effectiveness, including sufficient resources and appropriate powers; and the national institutional architecture for equality. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) of the Council of Europe also published its revised General Policy Recommendation No 2, providing standards to member states for the mandate, institutional infrastructure, effectiveness, independence and accessibility of equality bodies in order to realise their full potential and better protect people facing discrimination. In 2019, Equinet and national equality bodies must now take on the challenge to promote and support the monitoring and implementation of the European Commission’s Recommendation and the ECRI General Policy Recommendation at national level across Europe.
2019 will also be a year of important milestones for equality in Europe. In May 2019, Europe will elect a new Parliament to serve the Union for the next five years, and a new European Commission will be appointed. Equinet and equality bodies will closely follow the developments leading to the formation of the European Union’s key institutions. We will take on the challenge to pursue work on their values-based messaging to promote the appreciation of equality and diversity as core values in Europe, to ensure a strong equality agenda for the years to come at European level. This political commitment must be supported by strong financial mechanisms. Equinet will support the EU institutions in their work towards the adoption of the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework Post-2020 with a strong equality focus.
We look forward to an important year of work, addressing challenges and exploring opportunities on topics including sexual harassment, promoting equality for older persons, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), artificial intelligence and digitalisation, positive narratives, among other important priorities. In this context, in 2019 we will continue to work with our member national equality bodies across Europe, as well as the range of our partners and stakeholders at European level to effectively tackle discrimination and achieve substantive equality for everyone in Europe.
Strategic Plan 2019-2022
Equinet, as a strong, engaged and innovative network, will continue to strengthen and support equality bodies and act as their expert voice to advance equality and non-discrimination in Europe. Our goal is to enable national equality bodies to fulfil their full potential to support people experiencing discrimination and to achieve substantive equality for all. Considering the increasingly challenging political, demographic and digital environment across Europe, enhancing the role of equality bodies as key champions for equality and safeguards for non-discrimination is more crucial than ever.
This Strategic Plan gives practical expression to our hopes and ambitions for the next four years. It should position Equinet to assist equality bodies to respond to the changing societal, political and policy landscape in relation to the equality and equal treatment sector in Europe. Over the 2019 – 2022 period, we look to build upon our past successes and learnings to guide our future work in a way that is coherent and progressive. Our network will seek to extend its reach within equality bodies to engage with the future generations of leaders within our members. We will also strategically broaden our institutional relations with a wider range of stakeholders at European and international level, and maximise the potential in new developments in a challenging context for equality. By the end of 2022, we will have enhanced the strategic and operational capacity of equality bodies, strengthened the knowledge and expertise of equality body staff, as well as the operational and institutional capacity of the Equinet Secretariat. We aim to see an increasing influence of the learning from the work of equality bodies on policy, programmes and practice for a more equal Europe. We will consolidate a sustainable and resilient network of strong equality bodies at the cutting edge of work on equality issues and aim for a wider recognition of Equinet and equality bodies’ vital role as catalysts towards full equality for all in Europe.