Nearly 100 member states that support the United Nations operations have signed voluntary compacts with that global body to tackle violence against women and girls through its Trust Fund put at US$500 million.
Making the disclosure on behalf of UN Secretary General António Guterres at the official launch of the 16 Days of Activism held at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia on Monday, UN Resident Coordinator to Liberia, Yacoub El Hillo, said this EU-UN Spotlight Initiative is an important step forward in ending violence against women across the world.
El Hillo called on other countries to join their colleagues and the UN by fully assuming their responsibilities not only in training, but also in ending the culture of impunity for those who carry out this scourge.
The UN envoy reaffirmed the United Nations commitment to continuously invest in life-changing initiatives for millions of women and girls worldwide through the UN Trust Fund.
According to him, the Fund focuses on preventing violence, implementing laws and policies and improving access to vital services for survivors, through the execution of over 460 programmes in 139 countries and territories over the past two decades.
He added that the UN Trust Fund, which is making a difference, is particularly investing in women’s civil society organizations, one of the most important and effective investments the UN System can make.
El Hillo noted that the UN is also working to deliver on a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder, innovative initiative to end all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in which the US$500 million Spotlight Initiative is an important step.
“As the largest-ever single investment in eradicating violence against women and girls worldwide, this initial contribution will address the rights and needs of women and girls across 25 countries and five regions, including Liberia,” the UN Country Coordinator emphasized.
He added that the initiative will empower survivors and advocates to share their stories and become agents of change in their homes, communities and countries and that a significant portion of it will also go to civil society actors, including those that are reaching people often neglected by traditional aid efforts.
Hillo, however, noted that even though this initial investment is significant, it is small given the scale of the need and should be seen as a seed funding for a global movement in which all must play a role.
“It is that global movement that we celebrate today, as we look forward to the coming 16 days devoted to ending gender-based violence. Not until the half of our population represented by women and girls can live free of fear, violence and everyday insecurity, can we truly say we live in a fair and equal world,” he re-echoed.
The UN official explained that this year the global United Nations UNiTE campaign to end violence against women and girls is highlighting its support for survivors and advocates under the theme ‘Orange the World.’
He opined that beyond that, it is imperative that societies undertake the challenging work of transforming the structures and cultures that allow sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence not to happen in the first place.