Ukraine has gained official status as a member of the Biarritz Partnership, an international initiative for equal rights and opportunities for all. The accession of our country to an important project in the context of equality of all citizens was initiated by the First Lady in December last year.
In May, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine voted in support of the country's accession to the Biarritz Partnership. Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba sent a corresponding letter from the government to the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic with a statement on Ukraine's participation in the project on a permanent basis.
The official response letter of Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic Jean-Yves Le Drian was presented by Ambassador of France to Ukraine Étienne de Poncins at a solemn meeting on the occasion of Ukraine's official accession to the Biarritz Partnership attended by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna, Ambassadors of the G7 and Sweden, as well as representatives of international organizations.
"I am pleased that our countries will join efforts for equality between women and men, finding in this issue, which is one of the key priorities in France's international activities, another opportunity to develop cooperation. New commitments made by the Ukrainian government at the legislative and regulatory levels under the Biarritz Partnership, in particular those relating to the granting of parental leave to both mother and father or the implementation of legislation to combat violence of domestic, sexist or sexual nature, are powerful steps that bring concrete change,” the letter by Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic Jean-Yves Le Drian reads.
During the ceremony, the First Lady emphasized: “This is an important step for Ukraine towards equality in the broadest sense - regardless of gender, age, cultural, physical or mental differences. The experience and support of the participating countries and the expertise gathered within the Biarritz Partnership will certainly be of great help in working to create equal opportunities for all Ukrainians".
Olena Zelenska expressed personal gratitude to all those involved in the landmark event, including the ambassadors and representatives of international organizations present at the event, for their support of Ukraine in developing the necessary algorithms and active participation in their implementation.
In his congratulatory speech, Ambassador of the French Republic Étienne de Poncins stressed: “France is pleased to find a new partner in Ukraine and together promote the rights of women and girls, and we hope that this cooperation will be long and fruitful. We also invite Ukraine to participate in the Generation Equality Forum organized by UN Women, Mexico and France in order to mobilize all those who work to establish equality between women and men and undertake ambitious commitments in this sphere".
In the framework of the Partnership, Ukraine, as a full participant, undertakes commitments in five areas. This is the development of a barrier-free public space friendly to families with children and low-mobility groups; teaching children the principles of equality between women and men; prevention of violence; reducing the pay gap between women and men; creating greater opportunities for men to care for children.