EU leads the fight against all forms of violence against women and girls

Ministry for Foreign Affairs 26.9.2019 13.19
News item

The large-scale Spotlight initiative, funded by the EU, will report on its results during the current UN High-Level Week. Equality will also be emphasised in the work of the new commissioner for international partnerships.

“Today more than ever, when the world is facing countless challenges, the EU and the UN are determined to strengthen our global partnerships – and reaffirm our unwavering commitment to leave no woman or girl behind”, says Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica, who acts as the voice of the EU in the 2018 Annual Report of the Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women.

Promoting equality is one of the EU's external relations priorities, and Spotlight is the world's largest targeted effort to fight violence against women and girls. The EU directed EUR 500 million to the initiative launched in 2017 to be allocated to Latin America, Africa, Asia and Central America.

The initiative is implemented by the UN Women for Gender Equality and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The measures will focus on domestic violence against women, femicide, sexual violence, trafficking in human beings, and sexual and economic exploitation.

According to the annual report, more than one third of women in the world have experienced violence. 200 million women have undergone genital mutilation and 700 million have married before the age of 18, one third of them before the age of 15. More women die because of domestic violence than because of civil wars.

Finland supports the project through the EU

The EU's development programmes also include Finland's funding: in 2018, for example, 18 per cent of Finland's development cooperation appropriations were channelled through the EU. In addition, Finland has been a strong global donor to UN Women and the UNFPA.

The position and rights of women and girls have also been strongly emphasised in Finland's bilateral development cooperation. For example, in 2015 –2017, a total of 1.5 million women and girls used sexual and reproductive health services with Finland's support.

Together, the EU and its Member States are the world's largest donor. The Finnish Minister for  Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Ville Skinnari, who will speak at the Spotlight side event, commends the importance of the joint initiative.

“The Spotlight Initiative has been an important step towards the allocation of additional funding to gender equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights and on ending violence against women and girls”, says Minister Skinnari.

He also welcomes the fact that gender equality will continue to be a priority in the portfolio of the new Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen. The joint initiative will also strengthen the EU's partnership with Africa, where a major regional Spotlight programme is being planned.

 

Spotlight website