Media release

Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica and Commissioner Neven Mimica will open a conference on promoting economic opportunities for women

Photo: European Commission
25 February 2015

An international conference entitled “Post-2015 and Beijing+20: Women’s Economic Empowerment and Sustainable Development – the Synthesis for Success” on facilitating opportunities for women in developing countries will be taking place on 2 March at the National Library of Latvia as part of the agenda of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Conference participants will be discussing women’s empowerment in the global labour market and access to financial resources including credit. Examples of best practices from developing countries will be reviewed and analysed taking into account the involvement of women in business with the understanding that this contributes to sustainable development of the economy, society and environment.

Welcoming remarks will be made by Ms Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, the Parliamentary State Secretary for EU Affairs of the Foreign Ministry of Latvia, and opening statements by Ms Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima, Mr Neven Mimica the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Ms Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga,former President of Latvia, and Mr Moez Doraid, the Director of Coordination Division of UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

High-ranking officials from the European Union institutions and the EU Member States taking part in the event include Ms Lilianne Ploumen, the Minister for Trade and International Cooperation of the Netherlands, Mr Lapo Pistelli, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy and Baroness Lindsay Northover, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Cooperation and Lead Spokesperson for International Development in the British House of Lords.

Other speakers at the conference are experts from the private sector, including Microsoft and Mondelēz International, and from non-governmental organisations including Mr Jon Lomøy, Director of the Development Cooperation Directorate of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Mr Jon Lomøy will be describing the current international contributions in support of rights of girls and women in developing countries. Mondelēz International, the company which comprises brands such as Milka, Jacobs, BelVita, Dirol, will invite representatives from various fields to share views on the role of women in the agricultural industry and private sectors of developing countries.

On the day of the conference, the Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation will hold a flash mob, inviting the participants to engage in a UN campaign, #HeforShe. The campaign was launched by UN Women with the aim of highlighting the issue of gender equality.

A discussion and press conference with the Parliamentary State Secretary for EU Affairs of the Foreign Ministry of Latvia Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica and European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica will be streamed online on

Students of the Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Latvia will provide information via social media. Using the hashtags #EYD2015 and #gender on Twitter, all will have the chance to give questions.

The month of March in the European Year for Development is devoted to the rights of women and girls. A broad debate will take place on how important it is to ensure equal rights in education, employment, fair wages, the rights to property and inheritance, and social guarantees. Battling gender discrimination is not just an ethical standpoint – it is also economically smart.

Ivars Lasis
Press Secretary