Policy Seminar on Women s Entrepreneurship Development in Central Asia. Note by the Secretariat

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1 INF 3 August 2011 ENGLISH UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR EUROPE UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMEE Policy Seminar on Women s Entrepreneurship Development in Central Asia 19 September 2011, 10:00 18:00 Room XI, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland INFORMATION NOTICE Note by the Secretariat I. BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE 1. The Beijing Platform for Action, adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, highlighted the importance of promoting women s economic rights and independence. It called on governments to ensure equal access to and control over economic resources for women and men and encouraged the provision of business services, training and access to information and communication technologies. The fifteen-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in 2009 highlighted important gender gaps in the economic realm. The Chairperson s Conclusions of the Beijing +15 Regional Review Meeting which took place on 2-3 November 2009 in Geneva therefore called for further efforts to strengthen women s situation and opportunities. 2. In line with these recommendations and the mandate of UNECE to focus on economic aspects of gender equality, activities since Beijing +15 have focused on enhancing women s economic independence, specifically through supporting women s entrepreneurship. With the financial support of the governments of Finland and Sweden, UNECE conducted two national assessments of the Business Environment for Women s Entrepreneurship Development in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan in 2010/2011. These studies serve as a basis for evidence-based recommendations to policy-makers and other stakeholders on the actions needed to facilitate women s entrepreneurship development in Central Asia. 3. The policy seminar on women s entrepreneurship development in Central Asia is organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme s Regional Office for Europe and CIS in Bratislava. It will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the key findings of the research and their policy implications. 4. Entrepreneurship is a key driver of growth and development prospects for all countries in Central Asia. Women play a crucial role in the labour force throughout the region. Women engaged in entrepreneurial activities, both as self-employed and as providers of additional employment opportunities, benefit society as a whole and thus contribute to sustainable development in their countries. The business environment for women entrepreneurs in this

2 region is shaped by the combined effects of economic transition to market-based economies and years of conflict in the recent past. Women entrepreneurs do not yet have a well developed infrastructure of support services at their disposal. They face particular challenges in the access to information, capital, markets and networks. By removing existing barriers to women s entrepreneurship development and providing support where it is needed, we can enable women to fulfil their potential to the benefit of all, through the creation of employment opportunities and wealth through their enterprises. Last but not least, women s economic empowerment is an important step towards the goal of achieving gender equality. It is a driving force for sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. II. OBJECTIVES 5. The key objectives of the seminar are to: 1. Disseminate the main findings of the national assessments of the business environment for women entrepreneurs in Central Asia 2. Take stock of policy initiatives and programmes aimed at promoting women s entrepreneurship in the region 3. Provide a platform for policy-oriented dialogue and exchange of experience between policy makers, business associations, international organisations and other stakeholders in Central Asia to review lessons learnt and to address the key challenges ahead III. THEMATIC FOCUS OF THE SEMINAR 6. Presentations and panel discussions will be organised in four thematic sessions: 1. The business environment for women and men entrepreneurs in Central Asia 2. Key challenges to women entrepreneurs in rural areas 3. Closing the gender gaps in entrepreneurship: support at the country level 4. The way ahead: policy strategies for women s entrepreneurship development 7. The first session on The business environment for women and men entrepreneurs in Central Asia will present the findings of national assessments of the business environment for women s entrepreneurship development in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan). Presentations will point to the key gender gaps in entrepreneurship and highlight the areas in which further support is needed to boost women s entrepreneurship development. 8. The second session on Key challenges to women entrepreneurs in rural areas will give the floor to women s business associations to highlight the challenges for women entrepreneurs, particularly in rural areas, and to discuss how women s business associations can and are addressing these in the region. The session will take the form of an interactive panel discussion. 9. The third session on Closing the gender gaps in entrepreneurship: support at the country level will present successful projects and initiatives to strengthen women s entrepreneurship in rural areas in the region. It will take the form of an interactive panel discussion with business associations, policy makers, international organisations and technical cooperation agencies.

3 10. In the fourth session on The way ahead: policy strategies for women s entrepreneurship development policy makers from the region will present policy measures and strategies to promote women s entrepreneurship in rural areas and discuss the key policy challenges ahead. IV. EXPECTED OUTCOME 11. Policy-oriented recommendations for the facilitation of women s entrepreneurship development in Central Asia will be the outcome of the seminar. V. PARTICIPATION 12. The seminar is open to the public and is expected to attract policy makers and business associations from Central Asia and representatives of organizations working on women s entrepreneurship development and women s economic empowerment in the region. 13. All participants attending the seminar are requested to have a valid passport and, if required, a visa. Applications for visas must be made as soon as possible to the Embassy of Switzerland in the country in which the participant resides. Facilitating letters can be provided by the UNECE Secretariat upon request in advance to the Seminar. VI. OFFICIAL LANGUAGES & DOCUMENTATION 14. The working languages of the seminar will be English and Russian. Simultaneous translation will be provided. 15. Papers and presentations will be made publicly available on the UNECE website after the seminar at: VII. REGISTRATION 16. Participants should complete the registration form which is available for download on the UNECE website (www.unece.org/gender/policyseminar) and return it to the UNECE Secretariat either by or fax no later than 11 September Fax: +41 (0) Telephone inquiries relating to registration: +41 (0) VIII. ACCESS TO THE PALAIS DES NATIONS 17. Before entering the Palais des Nations, participants must collect their security badge from the Security Identification Unit, located at the visitors entrance: Pregny Gate, 14 Avenue de la Paix. It is advisable to arrive here at least 45 minutes before the meeting is due to start in order to allow time to collect your badge and make your way to the meeting room. The Pregny gate is opposite the Red Cross ("CICR") building, approximately 300 metres uphill from the Nations gate, where the flags of UN member countries can be seen. Refer to the map in the Appendix or on Google Maps (http://tinyurl.com/unmapgeneva). A map of the UN premises is available for download at 18. The following documents should be presented to the Security Office:

4 - Original of the registration form - Photo ID (e.g. passport) 19. Kindly note that only participants who previously submitted their registration forms to UNECE will be able to obtain their entry passes. 20. Once you have your entry pass it will be possible to re-enter the Palais des Nations from either the Nations gate, or the Pregny gate. IX. FREE PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN GENEVA 21. Geneva International Airport now offers incoming passengers a free ticket for public transport. These tickets, available from a machine in the baggage collection area, allow you to use any public transport (train, tram, bus, boat) in Geneva and surrounding areas for a period of 80 minutes. Look out for the machine pictured below after collecting your luggage and before walking out through the customs area. 22. When checking in at your hotel you should receive a free Geneva Transport Card, enabling you to use the entire Geneva public transport system free of charge throughout your stay. Getting from the Airport into Geneva 23. The Geneva Airport is approximately four kilometres from the city centre. The train is the most efficient way to get into the city centre. Follow the signs to the airport railway station from the arrivals area. All trains leaving from the airport stop at the central Geneva-Cornavin station. The journey takes six minutes. Instructions for getting to the meeting venue from the city centre are in section X below. 24. In addition to the train, there are buses services from the airport to various parts of Geneva. The bus terminal is located in front of the airport building. 25. Taxis are readily available from the airport. They are metered, so costs will vary, but the journey from the airport into the city centre will usually cost around CHF 30.

5 26. Tourist and public transport information is available at the Unireso information desk in the airport arrival hall after you go through customs. Visit their website for more information on public transports in Geneva X. GETTING TO AND FROM THE PALAIS DES NATIONS 27. Geneva is a small and walkable city. It takes about 25 minutes to walk from the Cornavin train station to the Place des Nations. It will take another 5-10 minutes to walk from the Pregny Gate entrance to the meeting room. 28. Tramways No. 13 and 15 go from the front (lake side) of the central train station (Cornavin) to the Palais des Nations (Nations). 29. Buses 5, 8, 28, F, V, and Z serve the Place des Nations, and stop close to the Nations gate. Buses 8, 28, F, V and Z also stop near the Pregny Gate at the stop named Appia. 30. Further information such as itineraries, timetables and fares, is available on the site of the Transports Publics Genevois (http://www.tpg.ch/). A map of public transport routes is available at Click on Téléchargez le plan (PDF) to download the map of public transport routes in PDF. 31. Taxis are expensive but generally easy to find. A taxi stand is located on Avenue de la Paix, 50 metres uphill from the Nations gate. Taxis are usually available around the clock. The following direct telephone number will ensure arrival within minutes: +41 (0) Taxis may not enter the UN compound - passengers will have to get off at the Pregny gate. XI. ACCOMMODATION 32. Participants are requested to make their own accommodation arrangements. Information about accommodation options in Geneva can be found at XII. GENERAL INFORMATION 33. For more information about Geneva, the United Nations Office at Geneva, accommodation and public transport, please refer to the websites listed at: XIII. CONTACT US 1. Please contact the UNECE Gender Team if you have any further questions related to the seminar. Malinka KOPARANOVA Senior Social Affairs Officer Lisa WARTH Associate Expert Tel: Tel:

6 Appendix How to find the UN building in Geneva: Pregny gate Nations gate Where to obtain the entry pass (Security Office, Pregny Gate, 14 avenue de la Paix): Facing to Lake Geneva Door A15 Entry for delegates with valid ground pass: Nations gate and Pregny gate ( ) Note: a valid photo ID is needed to obtain the ground pass and to gain the entry to the UN premises. After collecting your badge at security follow the path indicated ( approx. 150 metres) to enter through Door A15. Once inside there will be signs to guide you to the meeting room.

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