DE RUEHRA #0939 3171505
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 131505Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY RIGA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3532
UNCLAS RIGA 000939
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWMN PHUM PREL UNGA LG
SUBJECT: LATVIA AND WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT
REF: STATE 178055
1. PolEconOff met with Agnese Gaile, Head of the Gender Equality
Unit in Latvia's Ministry of Welfare and with Elina Celmina, Deputy
Head, on November 9 to share the fact sheet on the September Women's
Empowerment Working Session per reftel. Embassy has also provided
the fact sheet to three NGOs with interest in the area: Resource
Center Marta, the Coalition for Gender Equality, and Lidere.
2. The Gender Equality Unit serves as the secretariat for Latvia's
Gender Equality Council, chaired by the Minister of Welfare and
including representatives (theoretically, each ministry's state
secretary level) from the Ministries of Finance, Economics, Justice
and Education, as well as NGOS and employer and labor associations.
This Council, they said, meets two or three times a year and talks
about issues, but does not generate much action. The Unit in the
near future will be making proposals for change in the Council.
Gaile undertook to distribute the fact sheet as appropriate around
government agencies. The relevant minister in Latvia is the
Minister of Welfare, Dagnija Stake.
3. Gaile and Celmina were quite interested in the initiative, having
worked successfully, they believe, with the USG on combating human
trafficking in the past. They asked questions about the target for
possible future projects, noting that there was quite a range of
countries on the participation list, and about what more specific
action might be contemplated in relation to the recommendations in
the fact sheet. They also saw a similarity between this set of
recommendations and some conclusions that have been reached by a
Nordic intergovernmental meeting concerned with women's empowerment.
Emboff noted that the Department welcomes feedback on possible
projects, partnerships or activities and suggested contacting the
office indicated on the fact sheet for further information.
4. Celmina hinted that financial support for women's empowerment
programs in Latvia would be welcome, saying that a successful
program would require resources, resources that are not forthcoming
from the Latvian government, and referred again to the success
experienced with the USG on combating human trafficking. She noted
that the USG had provided support for that effort.