LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey

Annual Conference

 

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ERA ANNUAL CONFERENCE 3-6 October 2018, Skopje, Macedonia

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Background 

ERA’s Annual Regional Conference is the biggest LGBTI event organized in the region since 2015. The conference is a lobby, advocacy, capacity building and visibility event which brings together more than 200 participants from across the region, Europe and beyond. LGBTI activists, state officials, donors, researchers, journalists, diplomatic community, representatives of international organizations and members of the local community attend the event.  

Skopje 2018 

The ERA Annual Conference 2018 will be held in Skopje on 3-6 October. The event is being planned and implemented in close partnership with ERA’s member organizations in Macedonia. Engagement and involvement of important state institutions has already been established. The Conference will be held in close cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Inter-Party Working Group of the Macedonian Parliament for LGBTI Rights. 

Through its fundraising efforts ERA has secured financial support for a significant portion of the budget. Current supporters are the European Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany. 

Objectives 

Main objectives of this Annual Conference are to: 

  1. Increase political will and engagement of governments of Macedonia and the region on LGBTI rights; 
  2. Increase dialogue and cooperation between state institutions and other stakeholders of the region with LGBTI organizations and activists; 
  3. Strengthen capacities of LGBTI activists as well as regional dialogue and cooperation of LGBTI organisations; 
  4. Contribute to an increased and improved visibility and position of LGBTI people in Macedonia; 

The General Assembly 

3 October 2018 

The Annual General Assembly, will take place on October 3rd. It is the most important annual event of the association where the most important issues and topics are discussed and decided for. The assembly is a venue of true political and democratic engagement and participation of activists from 9 countries of the region. The assembly is attended also by members of the Advisory Board which is made of more than 15 notable individuals from across the world who provide very valuable inputs and help to the association. A section of the Assembly is also open to friends and supporters of the association who can attend as observers. 

The One-Day Government led Conference 

4 October 2018 

Cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Inter-Party Working Group of the Macedonian Parliament for LGBTI Rights has already been established for the purposes of this conference. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be responsible for inviting and securing participation of all government of the Western Balkan and Turkey region.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs will co-host the opening ceremony of the Conference and will co-host the one-day Government focused regional conference. 

The Inter-Party Group of the Macedonian Parliament for LGBTI Rights will co-host a panel at the conference with the participation of at least one Member of the European Parliament other MP’s from the Western Balkans and Turkey region. 

Several important officials have already confirmed their participation at the Conference such as Mr. Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe of the Federal Republic of Germany and Ms. Tanja Fajon, Member of the European Parliament and current Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI rights. 

In close cooperation with the Organizing Committee of the Conference it has been agreed that main objectives of the one-day Government conference are to: 

  1. Secure and improve engagement of state institutions – both in Macedonia and other countries of the region on:
    1. Education;by increasing engagement of Ministry of Education and Science of Macedonia on the LGBTI topic with regards to equality and safety in the school environment, revision of homophobic and transphobic school books and curricula, addressing violence and bullying etc; 
    2. Legal Gender Recognition, by engaging with and increasing the engagement of the Ministry of Health of Macedonia on the subject and making use of the current international support and practices on the issue;  
    3. Regional cooperationby pushing for an Increased engagement and role of the Republic of Macedonia (cooperation with Regional Intergovernmental Platform, Council of Europe, Membership in the European LGBTI Focal Points Network etc.) which are also optimal platforms for policy reform and government initiatives; 
  2. Improve dialogue and cooperation of state institutions with LGBTI organizations; 
  3. Address issues faced by the LGBTI communities across the region particularly: 
    1. Access to Justice (protection from violence and discrimination) improved legal services; 
    2. Access to crucial services (education, health, economic empowerment);
    3. Improved public perceptions towards LGBTI people; 

Main theme of the conference, agenda, participants etc. will all be developed within the next 3 months. 

Two Days Open Space Technology Regional Conference 

5-6 October 

The 2-day regional conference focuses on strengthening the capacities of LGBTI activists in the Western Balkans and Turkey region as well as on the coordination and dialogue of more than 200 participants from civil society, state authorities, academia, media, diplomatic community, donors and members of the local community.

The format of the conference is Open Space Technology, which was trialled at ERA’s 2017 Annual Conference in Podgorica and was rated with huge success by all the participants. The format allows for each participant to have the opportunity to propose a workshop or session which then participants have to vote for as a preference. At the end, the most preferred workshops and topics make it to the agenda – which is a big number – by allowing people to self-organize and gather on topics they find of relevance and which they can contribute to. In addition, several main panels are held collectively were main issues of the regional movement are brought forward and discussed. This is also a space were special guests join. Story-telling is used during these main panels too which serve to inspire people and orient the smaller discussions taking place during the workshops. 

An opportunity to join the first Skopje Pride 2018 

7 October 2018 

The Conference Organizing Committee and Skopje Pride Organizing Committee have held regular meetings in the last few months. It has been agreed that participants of the conference will be offered the chance by the Pride Committee to extend their stay in the city one more day and join the Pride march. Needless to say this event is of historical importance for Macedonia and the region and we are confident that many participants will stay in full solidarity and support. 

Partners and Supporters:

This conference is being organized in partnership with LGBTI Support Centre, Macedonian Helsinki Committee, Subersive Front, H.E.R.A and Coalition Margins

This conference is financially supported by the European Commission, Federal Foreign Office of Germany and Hirschfeld-Eddy-Foundation. 

GET IN TOUCH

  • Str. Majke Jevrosime 42/31
    Belgrade, Serbia
  • Phone: +381 11 3227480
  • Email: [email protected]

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