Global pledges ramp up campaign to end violence against women

International meeting co-organised by UN Women closes with 35 stakeholder commitments for bold steps to end violence against women.

Date: Friday, December 11, 2015

An international conference to end violence against women closed with action-oriented pledges to end violence against women from 35 stakeholders. Participating UN agencies also launched the landmark Essential Services Package, a toolkit of guidelines, services and best practices for women and girls subject to violence.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women and Dr. Sema Ramazanoglu, Minister of Family and Social Policies of Turkey commit to further collaboration on ending violence against women. Photo: UN Women/Bentura Formicone
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Dr. Sema Ramazanoglu, Minister of Family and Social Policies of Turkey commit to further collaboration on ending violence against women. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone

Highlighting the importance of data to provide evidence of gender-based violence, UN leaders called for greater investment in gender equality to end the global epidemic of violence against women.

“Change is not cheap. We need money to invest in gender equality and provide access to justice,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, at the close of the conference. “Violence against women and girls is a global epidemic. We can prevent it. But our investment must be proportional to the size of the problem.”

Organized by UN Women and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), together with the Government of Turkey, the two day Ending Violence against Women: Building on Progress to Accelerate Change conference brought together high-level government ministers from Turkey and over 40 other countries.

Thirty-five stakeholders who participated in the global meeting made action-oriented pledges to end violence against women. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone
Thirty-five stakeholders who participated in the global meeting made action-oriented pledges to end violence against women. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone

More than 150 practitioners, experts and civil society members assessed progress, shared data and good practices, and identified challenges to prevent violence against women and girls.

Joining UN Women Executive Director on stage at the close were Dr. Sema Ramazanoğlu, Turkey’s Minister for Family and Social Policies, who reiterated Turkey’s support to end gender-based violence, and Mr. Heimo Laakkonen, UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia who delivered remarks on behalf of UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin.

“Violence against women is a barrier to sustainable human development,” said Dr. Ramazanoğlu. “Turkey will observe the principle of zero tolerance for violence against women. We have new laws, and will be saying no to gender-based violence.”

Earlier that day, Executive Directors of UN Women and UNFPA launched the Essential Services Package, a toolkit of guidelines, services and best practices to support women and girls subject to violence. Also on stage were Ms. Sally Moyle, Representing the Government of Australia, Mr. Pablo Benavides, Consul General of Spain in Istanbul, and Ms. Purna Sen, Director, Policy Division, UN Women.

More than 150 practitioners, experts and civil society members participated in the global meeting to end violence against women. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone
More than 150 practitioners, experts and civil society members participated in the global meeting to end violence against women. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone

Thanking the Governments of Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia and Spain for their support to the conference and efforts to end violence against women, UN Women Executive Director called on governments and the private sector to do more in funding essential gender-based violence prevention and protection services.

“These essential services provide not the ceiling but the floor, in our most basic response to women who suffer violence,” said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka. “We must hold leaders accountable. These essential services are often under-funded – and that must change.”

Throughout the conference, which closed on the international Human Rights Day, leaders and participants called for zero tolerance and immediate action to end the global epidemic of violence against women. Urging that existing laws protecting women be vigorously enforced, participants emphasized prevention, survivor services, the need for reliable data, and the importance of engaging men and boys to stop violence against women and girls.

The Istanbul conference was held 20 years after the landmark Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which was adopted by 189 countries in 1995 and set the most progressive agenda for advancing women’s rights.

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