Equinet Governance Structure
Equinet is the European Network of Equality Bodies, which are public institutions fighting discrimination at the national level. Through Equinet, members are able to share their expertise at the European level. The Network ensures that information and knowledge flows as efficiently as possible between members in order to learn from the successes achieved and the challenges raised during the implementation of their mandate at national level.
As a membership Network and as established in the Equinet statutes, decisions pertaining to the existence, evolution and strategic directions of the Network may only be taken by members.
Each year the General Assembly of members meets at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in order to discuss and take decisions on important issues such as the Strategic Plan for the Network (multi-annual orientation), the annual Work Plan, the financial statements and activity reports, adhesion of new members and so forth.
In order to assist with the objectives of the Network, the general management of the activities has been delegated to two structures:
Executive BoardThe Executive Board: composed of (maximum) 9 senior level representatives of Equinet members elected by the General Assembly of members for a two year-long mandate, the Board is responsible for safeguarding and promoting the interests of the Network and all its members as well as supervising the implementation of the agreed Strategic Plan and Work Plans. They can act as representatives for the whole Network in European and international fora and they report each year to the General Assembly of members at the AGM.
Equinet SecretariatThe Equinet Secretariat: composed of experts in different fields (non-discrimination law, equality, gender, EU policy, communication, administration…), the Secretariat is in charge of the daily management and implementation of the duties and activities planned for delivery in any given year (as detailed in the annual work plans). The Secretariat acts under the supervision of the Executive Board and formally reports on the advancement of the implementation of Work Plans at regular Board meetings. As recognized experts in their respective fields, Secretariat staff are often requested to share their knowledge with external actors. In doing so, they contribute to the unique relevance of the experience of national equality bodies.
How Equinet works
The creation of Equinet as a formal Network stemmed from the necessity to professionalise the exchange of expertise and know-how between equality bodies and to facilitate the representation, promotion and protection of members’ interests at the European level.
One main objective of the Network is to collect information and create new knowledge on equality and non-discrimination that first and foremost can help members further improve their practice at national level. This knowledge comes from the members themselves and the experience of implementing their mandate at national level. Other sources of knowledge are civil society actors, academia and other institutions at national or European levels.
Expert GroupsThey have been established in order for experts from equality bodies to meet on a regular basis and discuss issues pertaining to their mandate at national levels. This is where the most up-to-date knowledge is collected, where gaps and needs for further work are identified and peer to peer exchange and support happens.
The work that members deliver in the different Working Groups allows for the production of outputs (reports, publications, declarations, toolkits…) where the latest findings are detailed and addressed to relevant stakeholders who may benefit from this updated knowledge. Stakeholders include equality bodies themselves, as well as other actors such as civil society organisations or European and national institutions. The Equinet Secretariat and the Working Group Moderator (each group is assigned one moderator elected from the participants) manage the organization of the Working Groups and ensure that the planned outputs are delivered and disseminated efficiently.
Events organized by the Equinet Secretariat are another arena where knowledge creation and dissemination takes place. Expertise is shared through different meeting formats (seminars, training events, conferences, roundtables…). Most events that are organised by the Equinet Secretariat are directed towards Equinet members (generally with inputs from other sources) but some are open to external stakeholders (conferences).
Through relevant events, Working Group activities and efficient communication channels organised with the Equinet Secretariat as a central point, Equinet ensures that knowledge and information flows as freely as possible within the Network and towards outside actors when appropriate; that membership needs are identified and addressed as quickly as possible; and that a meaningful contribution of equality bodies towards positive change for equality and non-discrimination in Europe can be obtained.