Expert Insight

DANELA ARSOVSKA President of Macedonian Chambers of Commerce President of Macedonian Chambers of Commerce . DANELA ARSOVSKA

International Arbitration continues with efforts to narrow gender and cultural disparities. Diversity will enhance the arbitration process in the long term and give users access to the very best minds and talents available. Worldwide, women are still underrepresented in arbitration tribunals and global strategy is needed to enhance the diversity of tribunals as well as to increase transparency of international arbitration more generally.

To provide further incentive to promote regional, generational and gender diversity in the appointment of arbitrators should be an utmost priority in international arbitration. Equal representation of women in Arbitration should be set on meaningful and actionable steps which the arbitration community can take towards increasing on an equal opportunity basis, the number of women appointed as arbitrators.

In this world of alternative dispute resolution there is a woman standing for professional, cultural and gender diverse arbitration tribunals, which should reflect world-class standards and have global reach.

Danela Arsovska is the President of the Macedonian Chambers of Commerce, which is the union of national chambers and largest national business organization. With this high profile position she is dedicated to improving the opportunities for the business community by establishing a public-private dialogue with government and all relevant stakeholders. With over 15 years of progressive management experience in the private sector, she also has extensive experience in Alternative Dispute Resolution ADR with focus on Arbitration. Her arbitration portfolio is impressive, where currently she is part of the most relevant global international arbitration institutions.

Arsovska is Member of the Court at The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, the Netherlands, which is an intergovernmental organization with 121 member states. Established in 1899 to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution between states, the PCA has developed into a modern, multi-faceted arbitral institution that spans public and private international law to meet the rapidly evolving dispute resolution needs of the international community, providing services for the resolution of disputes involving various combinations of states, state entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties.

She is Member of the Panel of Arbitrators of the World Bank ICSID in Washington, USA. The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes is the World Bank Group international arbitration institution for legal dispute resolution and reconciliation between international investors established in 1966.

As Court Member in ICC International Court of Arbitration, Paris, France, the world’s leading arbitral institution since 1923 which helps to resolve international commercial and business disputes to support trade and investment, she participates in this strong organization which is performing an essential role in providing individuals, businesses and governments alike with alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

Arsovska is also currently Court Member Arbitrator of the OSCE Court of Conciliation and Arbitration in Geneva, Switzerland. The OSCE Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, based in Geneva, was established in 1995 by the Convention on Conciliation and Arbitration. Thirty-three States are Parties to the Convention, which provides a mechanism for the peaceful settlement of disputes between States.

As one of the Macedonian Women Entrepreneurs Association founders, as well as the initiator of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the national business sector, she is devoted to advocating for human rights but especially for women’s rights in the private sector.

In 2018 she was awarded with the recognition “Best role model for business women in South East Europe” by the World Business Angel Investment Forum and in 2019 at the 6th Regional Summit of Entrepreneurs of Central and South Eastern Europe, she was awarded high recognition for special contribution to the development of entrepreneurship.

All of this was the inspiration for this cover story with her in Legal Challenges Magazine

How difficult is it to be a women leader, what are the challenges you face and how to overcome them?

      Leadership does not recognize gender. We have seen many magnificent examples throughout history and in present days of strong man and women leading to success, but having equal opportunities still presents a challenge. I have always been devoted to advocating for human rights, in particular women’s rights and tackling issues of discrimination against women, this was the impetus for starting the path I walk today. As an advocate for women's rights, especially active in the field of action against discrimination of women, I initiated and was one of the Macedonian Women Entrepreneurs Association founders and was its Chair until 2014. Throughout my time at the Macedonian Women Entrepreneurs Association we worked on raising awareness against discrimination of women in the private sector not only on a national level but in the Balkan region as well. In 2014 after almost a decade devoted to the chambers, I was elected the President of the Macedonian Chambers of Commerce, at what then was considered a great success to be one of only 4 (four) female Presidents of National Chambers of Commerce in Europe, and the only one in the Eastern Europe.

      How to overcome the challenges is a difficult question since there are many unknown variables in the problem. To raise awareness to a level of understanding for all, what should be the criteria to be able to be in a position to lead, is I think one of the important challenges to overcome. Meritocracy should be the first condition for all positions in career and life, but also that on that path man and women should be given equal opportunity to reach their goals and achieve success. 

What are your international activities and achievements?

There are many things we have achieved with my team through the years. Our commitment to taking part in implementation of the structural economic reforms through partnership with the Government, we achieved with the Agreement for cooperation and establishing public-private dialogue platform, between the chambers of commerce and the Government which in 2018 I signed as its Chair.

We organize and chair numerous high-level forums each year and participate in international events which promote trade and finance on national, regional and global level. The traditional Macedonian Chambers of Commerce events are nationally and internationally recognized by private sector and government representatives, as well as by all stakeholders who have economic development as a priority.

Currently as representatives of the private sector, we have a regular consultative status for the implementation of strategic economic policies, consultation made by the major financial institutions as the International monetary fund, The World Bank Group, EBRD, as well as by all national strategic partners.

We also chair the National Branch of the International Law Association ILA, founded in 1873 in London, United Kingdom, where we participate and make efforts in enhancing its work both nationally and internationally. The ILA has consultative status, as an international organisation, with a number of the United Nations specialised agencies.

In personal capacity in 2018 I was appointed as General Council member of the World Chambers Federation WCF, which is the only global forum which unites over 12.000 chambers of commerce worldwide. As first Macedonian representative to serve on this position since it’s establishing in 1919, I am especially proud of this achievement since it’s a unique recognition of one’s quality and competence on global level.

What are your current activities related to law and arbitration?

      As a spokesperson for promotion of raising awareness on the European legislation harmonization necessity, through direct participation and positions in governmental councils and national body’s, I believe we have a solid input in amendment of national legislation and solving numerous challenges faced in this area.

      As member of the National Council for European Integration in the National Assembly–Parliament in Macedonia and as Member of the Public Private Partnership Council in the Government, we are involved in strategic national commissions which analyze, prepare and evaluate the enforcement of strategic documents and especially we are included in the preparation of new and initiatives for amendment of existing legislation on national level.

       Through continuous work in the field of law and human rights, at national level, we initiated the establishment of the intergovernmental work group on Gender Equality. Through being member of many work groups and as frequent conference and event speaker on the women’s rights and especially the issue on discrimination against women in the private sector, I believe a lot has been accomplished. Through participation in numerous technical assistance programs as well as through MCC we support and promote the Increasing Market Employability program which aims to create jobs and increase incomes for unemployed and underemployed women and men in Macedonia, with a particular focus on youth. We also promote active measures for the support of women in the private sector, having as goal national economic empowerment of women while addressing key issues as the deficiency of female entrepreneurship and women in high management positions, as well as finding solutions to the gender gap relating to wages.

As someone dedicated to international law, especially international investment law as well as peaceful dispute resolution, I have a personal and professional interest in arbitration as an alternative dispute tool which is expeditious and saves time and expenses for the parties in the dispute which is very important for the private sector. We have to raise awareness for the use of this mechanism since every unused potential and knowledge is a lost opportunity for our national development which can be crucial in the national growth and overcoming challenges especially in the area of rule of law.

Another issue is to promote regional, generational and gender diversity in the appointment of arbitrators and equal representation of women which should be a priority in international arbitration. I am part of the part of the most relevant global international arbitration institutions on four continents, but would be happy to see more women be represented in the tribunals and have the opportunity to contribute in solving worldwide disputes.

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