Women Police Officers Network Launch Meeting held in Sofia, Bulgaria

The Women Police Officers Network in South East Europe (WPON SEE) held its launch meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria on 2-3 December 2009. The meeting, the third in a series, was organized by the Southeast Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA) and supported by UNDP/SEESAC, the OSCE Mission in Serbia and the ODIHR.

The meeting was attended by representatives of police services from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Romania and Serbia. Representatives of the International Association of Women Police (IAWP), the EU Police Mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina (EUPM),  the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and UNDP also took part in the meeting.

Following the presentation of the draft findings from the research on the present situation and the role of women police officers in the national police services in the Region, participants discussed the future steps to be taken in institutionalizing and operationalizing the WPON. An agreement was reached on an organizational work plan.

About the WPON Support Project
The Southeast Europe Police Chief Association (SEPCA) has initiated the creation of a Women Police Officer Network (WPON) in SEE with the aim to promote the principle of gender equality and democratic policing in police services. The network is expected to function as an independent service under the umbrella of SEPCA members. SEESAC has developed a project whose aim is to assist in the setting-up of this network by providing support and expertise to the WPON in the initial phases of the inception as well as support for long-term institutionalisation and operationalisation.


The project will support the creation of basic statutes governing management and membership structures as well as specific efforts tasked with addressing the recruitment, promotion, retention and career building of women police officers in the region. It is envisioned that the WPON can also come to serve as an advisory and advocacy body to the region’s police services on matters related to gender and policing; and project initiating and facilitating. 


The project will support the development of relevant gender policy and guidelines based on best-practice experiences, including from other existing regional networks for women police officers. The initial funding for the project was provided by the UNDP Gender Thematic Trust Fund (GTTF)