Dear Minister Manastirliu,
Distinguished Representatives of Government, Agencies, Civil Society, and Development Partners,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank Mario Mariani from the EU Delegation for helping to improve the gender balance in the audience. And I agree that the gender balance in the audience is better, but it could improve even more next time. It would also be nice to see better gender balance among the cameramen at the next event.
Thank you for the invitation to speak at the launch of the first Gender Equality Index (GEI) Report for Albania. I am very happy and proud that the World Bank and other development partners were able to support the Government of Albania to ensure that this report could be completed over the course of 2019 and be launched today.
The Gender Equality Index is one component of a larger government program to increase gender equality in access to economic opportunities in Albania, which the World Bank and the French Development Agency are supporting. As you know, the Minister of Finance and Economy recently signed in Vienna a loan agreement with the World Bank for a budget support operation focused on gender. This is the first such operation of its kind by the World Bank!
In fact, the GEI will help the Government of Albania, the citizens of Albania and its civil society organizations, to identify where the country is progressing, or where is lagging in different dimensions of gender equality and to monitor progress in closing gender gaps. It will also be helpful to monitor progress against our neighbors.
The ability to better monitor outcomes increases the level of accountability of the GoA vis-à-vis the policies that are being implemented. You should also use it to monitor programs supported by the World Bank and other development partners.
We need to use and pay attention to such an index, and such data as we do on report you know quite well that the Bank produces yearly, the Doing Business report. We are all quite concerned about the performance of business and the economy and the financial sector. However, without paying attention to gender issues we will not make as much progress as we should.
I am sure you will hear more from the presentations today how Albania scores in Gender Equality Index and that’s why I want to highlight the important fact how the GEI contributes to the multisector dialogue that is necessary to achieve real progress in gender equality, as only coordinated multisectoral efforts are likely to deliver significant, and sustainable results.
The index should be used as you develop your programs, and will be important for us at the World Bank, as we work together with government to develop our new Country Partnership Framework.
I urge all of you to look into the report in detail and use it to inform your own dialogue and policy design.
Let us look to progress next year when the Minister launches the second report!
Thank you, and I look forward to the discussion.