According to the 2004 Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality, the OSCE participating States bear the primary responsibility and are accountable to their citizens for promoting equal rights and opportunities for women and men. The states are urged to make full use of OSCE expertise to assist them in their efforts to achieve gender equality.
The Action Plan lays down priority areas as a basis for the OSCE Secretariat, institutions and field operations for developing projects and programmes to assist participating States in preventing gender-based discrimination. The OSCE and its participating States should endeavour to:
The priority areas of preventing violence against women and encouraging women's participation in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict reconstruction are underlined by two OSCE Ministerial Council Decisions.
Assistance in promoting gender equality
The Gender Section works to strengthen the OSCE's capacity for planning, implementing and evaluating projects in the above priority areas.
In co-operation with local partners, host countries and/or the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), field operations initiate, support and run projects to: