Partner spotlight: European Union
UN Women and the European Union (EU) have been collaborating to empower and protect the rights of women and girls since UN Women was established. Following the signing of a partnership agreement in 2012, their cooperation has deepened at all levels. This was reaffirmed in 2016, with both partners agreeing to further stepping up collaboration for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment worldwide.
EU and UN Women senior management routinely meet for policy exchanges and dialogue on women’s rights issues. Joint advocacy and awareness-raising activities have included comic and cartoon competitions “Gender Equality: Picture It!” in the European Union, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Ukraine, in partnerships with EU delegations. The President of the European Commission and all male Commissioners joined UN Women’s HeForShe movement in 2015.
EU contribution agreements signed for programmes and projects (2012–2017):
USD 91 million
(EUR 76.9 million)
Countries covered by EU–UN Women programmes: 70
The European Union signed on to UN Women’s COMMIT initiative in 2013, pledging concrete actions such as to pioneer a Europe-wide protection order for survivors of domestic violence, and doing so that same year. In 2015, the EU joined UN Women’s “Step It Up” campaign, also adopting a new gender Action Plan 2016-2020 and vowing to systematically screen development funding to ensure that assistance helps transform the lives of girls and women worldwide, among other commitments.
From 2012 to 2017, EU contribution agreements amounted to more than USD 91 million (EUR 76.9 million) for UN Women programmes in more than 70 countries around the world, consistently making it one of the organization’s strongest supporters.
Joint EU–UN Women programmes have led to measurable results in a variety of areas and made a difference in the lives of women and girls worldwide. Together, both organizations are pushing for gender-sensitive legislation and budgeting, provided life-saving services for women survivors of violence, and working with communities to crush gender stereotypes, as well as working with the private sector to support gender-responsive business practices. Examples of the EU–UN Women ongoing programmes include:
- UN Women is one of the core agencies of the Spotlight Initiative, a new, global, multi-year initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG).
- Supported by the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the EU “Madad” Fund, the two-year programme “Strengthening the Resilience of Syrian Women and Girls and Host Communities in Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey” aims to strengthen the resilience of women affected by the Syria crisis. It is a multi-dimensional programme that enables women’s resilience and empowerment by addressing issues of economic vulnerability and violence.
- The EU, UN Women, and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are partnering in G7 countries and Latin America and the Caribbean to promote gender equality through the private sector and increase women’s economic empowerment and leadership for sustainable, inclusive, and equitable growth.
- The three-year programme, “Implementing norms, changing minds”, aims at ending gender-based discrimination and violence against women in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia) and Turkey, with a particular focus on the most disadvantaged groups of women.
More examples of results under joint EU–UN Women programmes include:
- The EU–UN Women Spring Forward for Women programme helped establish the Arab Women Parliamentarians Network for Equality, “Ra-edat”, which included more than 130 former and current women parliamentarians from 12 countries, as well as the “Khadija” Arab Network, which facilitated knowledge exchange between women entrepreneurs.
- An EU–UN Women joint programme in Georgia introduced innovative actions for women’s economic empowerment.
- Through advocacy for legislative reform and workshops for women migrant workers under a multi-country programme implemented in Mexico, Moldova, and the Philippines, UN Women is working with the EU to protect rights and promote a human rights-based and gender-responsive approach to migration governance.
- The EU and UN Women also established a joint fund to support 15 projects with civil society organizations working on gender equality in Chile.
- In Africa, the EU and UN Women are supporting women and girls to play an active role in conflict prevention, peacemaking and peacebuilding in northern Nigeria, while training women in Liberia on literacy, entrepreneurship and other skills to enhance their physical and economic security.
- In Solomon Islands, the EU and UN Women supported the development of a radio drama series that tells the fictional story of a woman running for elections to encourage more women to stand up and seek leadership positions.
- In Timor-Leste, the EU and UN Women forged partnerships with the Government and civil society stakeholders to prevent gender-based violence, including the “Safe Dili” awareness-raising campaign.