Meeting of the “Basqueskola” network of Basque women mayors and councillors with Rigoberto Menchú

The network of local elected representatives promoted by EUDEL and Emakunde was presented this morning in the Conference as a pioneering initiative and best practice in favour of equality at local policy level.

Idurre Bideguren, Mayor of Bermeo, and Izaskun Landaida, Director of Emakunde-Basque Women’s Institute, put forward the initiative in the “Participation, Policy, Power” space

Basqueskola is led by a plural group of Basque female elected representatives from all political persuasions and diverse municipalities of all sizes.

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Over 500 municipal and regional leaders agree in Bilbao to work together to include equality, inclusion and diversity in the local European agenda

The Mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto, together with the EUDEL representative and Mayor of Elburgo, Natividad López de Munain, and the Co-President of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) and Councillor for Telemark (Norway), Gunn Marit Helgesen, made their respective assessments of the conclusions document adopted in the Conference, (available at

The document, approved by the CEMR Policy Committee - which comprises 248 representatives from the 60 national associations of local and regional governments - contains 17 proposals overall, with which it advocates a more prominent and equitable role of mayors, in order to contribute to a fairer society from diverse, inclusive, caring, and sustainable municipalities, with equality of rights and opportunities for all. 

A total of 350 women and 200 men representing the municipalities and regions of 40 countries, together with European institutions and international bodies, participated in the Conference held in Bilbao from 11 to 13 June.

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The Conference of European Municipalities and Regions on Equality, Inclusion and Diversity begins

The Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullo, together with the Mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto, the president of EUDEL, Imanol Landa, the president of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), Stefano Bonaccini, and the president of FEMP, Abel Caballero, this afternoon inaugurated the Conference on Equality, Inclusion and Diversity.

Following the inaugural ceremony, Rigoberta Menchú, the Guatemalan activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, contributed an inspiring speech on the three themes of the Conference, and participated in the subsequent debate with European authorities.

The conference programme, to take place over three days, will consist of 33 sessions and a hundred speakers (60% women) including representatives of cities, European institutions and international bodies such as UN Women, the European Institute for Gender Equality and the Coalition of cities against racism, among others. 

The debates will tackle themes that are extremely current and of local interest, amongst which special mention can be made of: political participation of women, security in public spaces and social networks, the rights of the LGBT collective, inclusion in the labour market, integration of immigrants and open government. 

Over 500 local and regional European representatives will debate on Equality, Inclusion and Diversity in this conference, to draw to a close on 13 June with the presentation of the conclusions document.

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