Coverage: CSW62 side-event on the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls

Date: Monday, March 12, 2018

Panellists participate in the CSW62 side-event on the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Panellists participate in the CSW62 side-event on the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

The United Nations and the European Union (EU) today hosted a special event on a new, global, multi-year initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls—the Spotlight Initiative.

The Spotlight Initiative, currently supported by a contribution of 500 million Euros by the EU and launched in September 2017, aims to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against women, with a particular focus on domestic and family violence, sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, femicide, trafficking in persons, including sexual and economic exploitation.

During the side event on Monday, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: “Gender-based violence can no longer thrive in the shadows. How many more stories do we need until we say enough is enough?”.

In relation to the current #MeToo and related movements, he added that “when my granddaughter looks at this moment in time, I want her to remember that we didn’t just despair but answered the call to action.”

Commissioner Mimica was joined by high-level advocates who are working to end violence against women and girls, including United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed; Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and Secretary-General of the European External Action Service, Helga Schmid.

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed speaks at the CSW62 side-event on the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed speaks at the CSW62 side-event on the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed announced that beginning this year, new projects under the Spotlight initiative will be launched in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico and Argentina. Ms. Mlambo Ngcuka highlighted the importance of involving civil society in the design, implementation and monitoring of all Spotlight programmes and intervention.

The panellists were also joined by several grassroots experts who stressed on the importance of addressing multiple and intersectional forms of violence faced by groups of women and girls, such as LGBTQ groups, indigenous women, and women with disability, through this groundbreaking initiative.

“Filling up prisons and detention centers is not the solution. The solution is education, structural inclusion and ending poverty and marginalization,” said Tarcila Rivera, Indigenous Rights Activist from Peru, on the topic of curbing violence against minority women.

Other speakers included the Presidential Secretary for Women of Guatemala, Ana Leticia Aguilar Theissen; Disability Rights and Inclusion Professional from Kenya, Lizzie Kiama; UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Dubravka Simonovic; and Trans and Youth Feminist, Human Rights & Gender Advocate from Fiji, Miki Wali.