Spotlight Initiative – EU and UN fight against domestic violence in the Pacific region

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(Unsplash, 2019)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


The European Union and the United Nations are announcing today a €50 million investment to tackle domestic violence in the Pacific region, as part of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative.

The €50 million contribution will fund new programmes to support concrete measures to end domestic and gender-based violence. It will do so by supporting preventive measures, and by providing protection and quality services to victims. Such measures will be accompanied by broader efforts to ensure women’s economic empowerment and their participation in all aspects of society.

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica stressed: “Two out of three women in the Pacific region suffer from domestic and gender-based violence. But it is not an exclusively “Pacific” problem – it is a global problem. We must all join forces with partner governments and civil society. With an additional €50 million investment we are building on and expanding existing efforts to help end violence against women and girls in the region.

Today’s Spotlight Initiative high-level event for the Pacific marks the beginning of a consultative process between governments, regional bodies, civil society and development partners to design a programme that seeks to end domestic violence in the region. The event brought together heads of state and government representatives from Pacific states, religious leaders, high-level representatives from the European Union and United Nations, survivors of gender-based violence, and civil society leaders to share their experiences and confirm their commitment to eliminating violence against women and girls.

Background

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread and devastating human rights violations across the globe. It affects all societies, cutting across generational, socio-economic, educational and geographic boundaries.

Overall more than a billion lives today are touched by violence. It is estimated that one in every three women in the world have experienced violence at some point in their lives.

In the Pacific region up to two in every three women are impacted by domestic violence and gender-based violence – twice the global average based on national prevalence studies.

This scourge is a barrier to gender equality, women’s and girls’ empowerment and overall sustainable development, and an impediment to the achievement of the SDGs.

The Spotlight Initiative is an expression of the same political will that was demonstrated by the international community in adopting the Sustainable Development Goals, with Goal 5 focusing specifically on Gender Equality and concrete targets on ending violence against women and girls, as well as mainstreaming of gender equality across the entire 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The New European Consensus on Development, the EU’s new global approach to sustainable development for the years ahead, also underlines the commitment of the EU and all its Member States to gender equality.

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