The General Assembly of Equinet Members met in Brussels on 11 October for the 2017 Annual General Meeting (AGM). The Equinet AGM saw the election of a new Executive Board, a change in the Equinet Statutes, as well as the adoption of the Workplan for 2018.
The AGM took place in Brussels on Wednesday 11 October 2017, and brought together heads and senior management representatives from all Equinet member national equality bodies.
The AGM was held the day after Equinet 10th Anniversary Conference ‘Together for an Equal Europe‘.
The General Assembly voted on a number of items which were all adopted by represented Equinet Members:
The change in the Equinet Statutes leaves Article 3 as follows:
“Equinet is a network: that is to say a group of organisations which are active in the European Union and the European Free Trade Association Member States, EU candidate and potential candidate countries as well as other European countries that have approximated their legislation to EU equality and anti-discrimination legislation, which have a similar mandate and profile, which share the same interests, which pursue the same objectives on a European level, which benefit from the existing cooperation within the network, but which also make their own contribution.”
The approved amendment of Article 3 (describing the objectives of Equinet) is now in line with Article 5 (describing the members of Equinet), already explicitly allowing Equinet to admit equality bodies from other countries if it is deemed to be in the interest of the network. Any application for Equinet membership has to be reviewed and supported by the Board and subsequently ratified by the General Assembly of members.
During the AGM, elections were held to appoint the new Equinet Executive Board (2017-2019) to steer the strategic leadership of the Network for the coming two years, which is composed of the following members:
Einwalter, Deputy Ombudswoman, Office of the Ombudswoman, Croatia (Chair)
The first meeting of this new board took place immediately after the AGM, when Tena Šimonović Einwalter (Office of the Ombudswoman, Croatia) was unanimously nominated as Equinet Chair of the Executive Board 2017-2019.
As part of the wider debate within the Equinet membership on the need for standards for national equality bodies, Equinet has committed to gradually explore the implications of disparities in the working conditions of national equality bodies and subsequently, the practical consequences for the implementation of equal treatment legislation in Europe.
As part of these efforts, Equinet commissioned the People for Change Foundation to draft a research paper on the evolution of the mandates and resources of equality bodies over the past decade to mark Equinet’s 10th anniversary. The research will aim to elucidate how the mandates and resources of national equality bodies have developed over time, and if there can be found possible correlative relationships between them.
The Equinet Working Paper on Standards for National Equality Bodies (2016) discusses four key indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of equality bodies, namely mandate, powers, independence and resources. The planned research will aim to elucidate the relationship between two of these indicators by investigating how the mandates and resources of national equality bodies have evolved over the past decade, including possible correlative relationships between them.
The researchers are in the process of conducting a literature review, circulating a survey among the Equinet membership, conducting interviews with representatives from the selected case studies as well as key stakeholders, and will then proceed to analyze the quantitative and qualitative data gathered.
The study will be mainly descriptive in nature, distilling any lessons learned from the experiences and developments of the past decade, and concluding with a summary of policy implications for the promotion of equality in Europe.
At the Annual General Meeting, the researchers presented their preliminary findings and invited members to reflect on the results.
|Annual General Meeting, 11 October 2017, Brussels|