This conference, which took place on 4 May in Brussels, set out to share the experiences of implementing equality duties, as well as good practice examples and discuss possibilities and challenges in introducing such duties in other jurisdictions.
In 2016, Equinet commissioned research assessing the prevalence and state of play of equality duties in Europe. The study Making Europe More Equal: A Legal Duty? concludes that there are mainly three categories of statutory duties in place in Europe today; preventive, institutional and mainstreaming duties.
The Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe has suggested that statutory equality duties form part of “a new generation of [equality] legislation […] beginning to emerge in response to limitations experienced in the implementation of current and previous provisions.” Each of the statutory duties identified in the study has its own design and significant achievements in progressing both institutional and societal change.
Nevertheless, the study highlights that “[t]here is an uneven spread and development of these statutory duties. Their geographical spread is significant but not comprehensive. Their ambition differs in different jurisdictions. A broad diversity of approaches in devising and implementing statutory duties is evident.”
Equinet is therefore committed to exploring the potential and current context for such duties, and is therefore is organizing a conference to discuss the contribution of statutory equality duties to advancing equality, looking at what is in place across Europe and how the learning from this can be used to contribute to institutional and societal change.
The conference aimed to:
Chair: Evelyn Collins, Chair of Equinet, Chief Executive of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
Chair: Catherine Naughton, European Disability Forum
The potential of equality duties, 4 May 2017, Brussels
Photos by Thierry Maroit