Joint statement on the Memorandum of Understanding between the European Union and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

Stepping it up for gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide

Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Four years after the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2012, the European Union and UN Women recommitted to their partnership on 15 June with a joint statement signed at the European Commission by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica.
Four years after the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2012, the European Union and UN Women recommitted to their partnership on 15 June with a joint statement signed at the European Commission by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica. Photo: © European Union, 2016

The EU and UN Women established a strategic partnership in 2012, which aimed to mutually develop and structure the cooperation between the EU and UN Women on gender equality and women's empowerment at global, regional and country level. Today, building on their partnership, the European Commission, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and their relevant services, and UN Women continue working jointly for gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide to reach a Planet 50-50 by 2030.

The partnership consists of joint policy dialogue and best practices exchanges, joint advocacy and joint programming for increased women’s leadership, political participation and economic empowerment, for combatting sexual and gender-based violence, and for responsiveness of plans and budgets to gender equality. Together, we stress the centrality of gender equality and women’s empowerment for development and peace in key international processes, such as the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and the UN Security Council agenda on Women, Peace and Security.

We also work together in more than 50 countries worldwide to push for gender equality legislation and planning and budgeting, to provide life-saving services for women survivors of violence, and to work with communities to break stereotypes. The active collaboration was also illustrated by the commitment of European leaders to the HeforShe Campaign as well as a vibrant joint comic competition, engaging young Europeans in picturing their vision of progress towards gender equality.

Building on the renewed commitment to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the 2015 High-level Review on UNSCR 1325, the Gender Action Plan in EU External Relations 2016-2020 and the EU Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality 2016-2019, we will continue working together to achieve gender equality, leveraging the commitments made in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals, the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), and the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit. As acknowledged by the 60th session of the CSW, achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals at the heart of the 2030 Agenda will not be possible without gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. In line with the Agreed Conclusions of CSW 60, we will further strengthen collaboration, enhancing the basis for rapid progress, including stronger laws, policies and institutions, better data and scaled-up financing and partnerships.

In this context, we also recognize emerging issues and new global challenges, such as ensuring that the gender dimensions are understood and recognized in refugee and migration policies and action, in fighting trafficking in human beings, in preventing and countering violent extremism and in addressing climate change; we will work together on these issues. 

We recognize the strength of working together through our respective mandates and presence worldwide. UN Women combines a normative, coordination and operational mandate at global, regional and country levels. The European External Action Service and Commission Directorates-General in charge of International Cooperation and Development, Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Humanitarian Affairs, Justice, and Home Affairs together build on the EU's internal and external policies on gender equality.

We encourage collaboration between our services at all levels and commit to continue a regular strategic dialogue to steer progress at highest level on key priorities for reaching gender equality by 2030.


Photos and quotes from a panel on building "win-win relationships for women's and girls' economic empowerment" are also available.