Equinet in 2023
In 2023, Equinet will have a very strong focus on advocating for standards for Equality Bodies and furnishing evidence to EU legislators of the need for strong standards and ways to monitor compliance with them will be a horizontal priority for Equinet. Once adopted, this newly proposed legislation will also have a larger-than-life symbolic value, strengthening the whole equality infrastructure in the EU.
We will continue to build the capacity and expertise of our members, to contribute to the equality agenda in Europe, and to maintain our position as a Research and Knowledge hub on equality issues. Building on our track record of innovation, bringing new equality issues and solutions to the forefront, in 2023 we will continue our focus on the equality implications of Artificial Intelligence, present fresh research on both sanctions and remedies in discrimination cases, as well as exploring the role and potential of Equality Bodies in responding to the equality implications of climate change.
As in previous years, our Work Plan has a largely horizontal approach, all the while contributing to grounds-based policy and legislative priorities, particularly at EU level. This is intentional, mirroring the horizontal, multi-ground mandate of many Equality Bodies and the intersectional approach that this enables. This is a key asset of Equality Bodies and also helps us to move beyond a ‘siloed’ approach, tackling discrimination grounds separately, not acknowledging the multiple identities that each and every individual holds. Our ultimate aim remains helping Equality Bodies promote equality more effectively, prevent and combat discrimination and provide quick and effective access to justice to those who experience discrimination.
We live in times when society and politics are bitterly divided between pro-equality forces and those who, often in the name of tradition, reject even the idea and concept – something that seems to be at odds with our values and constitutional traditions. While this fight can, at times, be disheartening, Equality Bodies are at the forefront of it and Equinet, as their Network, is there to support them, together with many allies in institutions and civil society.
Strategic Plan 2023-2026
During the coming strategic period, Equinet will do that by focusing on the following on areas of change and long-term objectives:
A. Strengthen and support Equality Bodies to achieve equality for all
1. Strengthen Equality Bodies as the cornerstones of national and equality infrastructures
2. Support Equality Bodies through knowledge, capacity-building and skills sharing for the enforcement of their mandate
B. Act as an expert voice of Equality Bodies in Europe on equality and non-discrimination
3. Advance the equality agenda in Europe through strategic engagement and communication
4. Maintain Equinet’s position as a research and knowledge hub drawing on Equality Bodies’ experience of equality and non-discrimination
C. Maintain and improve Equinet’s capacity as a strong, resilient, and innovative Network
5. Ensure an enriching membership experience in Equinet, by tailoring activities and engaging all members
6. Develop and sustain Equinet’s resources and accountability to better respond to members’ needs
Equinet in 20222022 offers the unique opportunity to strengthen the protection of equality across Europe through possible new EU-level legislation to strengthen the role and independence of equality bodies. Equinet’s Project on Standards for Equality Bodies will continue to feed into this process, by providing a platform for peer exchange and for contributing to the development of effective legislation on standards which reflects our members’ needs. Equality bodies have also seen an expansion in their responsibilities on a wide range of areas, including on gender equality. Equinet will hold a flagship conference showcasing the evolution and benefits of gender-based responsibilities being allocated to equality bodies, while discussing how to ensure this growing role can be carried out effectively.
2022 will also see the continuation of Equinet’s work on equality mainstreaming, focusing on the role of equality bodies in supporting equality planning by public authorities and private sector actors to inform and generate discussions with and action by policymakers at EU and Member State level. Our Rebuilding a fairer Europe after COVID-19 event will build on Equinet research into the need and usefulness of expanding the list of protected grounds in anti-discrimination law in the EU and at national level, such as through the inclusion of ‘socio-economic status’ and ‘health status’. We will hold a roundtable highlighting the role of equality bodies in implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan.
In 2022, Equinet has planned an ambitious programme of capacity building activities to support equality body staff and help our members to be champions for equality in their countries. This includes:
As a research and knowledge hub for the work and contribution of equality bodies, and equality and non-discrimination more generally, Equinet will produce a number of important publications, notably with externally commissioned research on Redress in discrimination cases: sanctions and remedies and Responses to climate change in Europe: exploring the role and potential of equality bodies.
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.