Announcer: Gender equality takes centre stage at Europe’s leading forum on development


UN Women, with a delegation led by its Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, will take part this week in the European Development Days, Europe’s leading forum on international cooperation and development, from 5-6 June in Brussels. The event gathers every year more than 6,000 participants from over 140 countries. The overarching theme of the 12th edition of the forum will be "Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower, invest."

The Spotlight Initiative, a joint initiative by the European Union and the United Nations on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls, launched in 2017, will take central stage at this year’s forum. It will be the main theme of the opening session, including remarks by the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, UN Women Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Africa Jaha Dukureh, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, and a panel discussion with UN Women’s Executive Director. As part of the Spotlight initiative, the ‘Safe and Fair’ programme in the Asia-Pacific region will be presented in a Facebook live event on June 6.

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will also be part of a number of high-level panels being organized in the context of the event, including on accelerating women’s empowerment through legislative change, on amplifying girls and women’s voices in the global movement for gender equality; and on safer work and migration for women.

The Executive Director will also take the opportunity to meet with decision makers and partners, including several European Commissioners and representatives from civil society organizations, and will attend a Global Citizen event to mark the launch of the #SheIsEqual campaign to secure new commitments in support of women and girls.

At the European Development Days, UN Women is also organizing a Lab Debate on Gender Responsive Budgeting, to explore innovations and concrete examples on how to successfully integrate gender equality in policies, plans and programmes. UN Women will also be present at some of the stands in the Global Village, including one on ending violence against women in the Balkans and Turkey.

An exhibition featuring comics and cartoons by young artists illustrating their understanding of gender equality will also be displayed at the forum. These cartoons are this year’s winners of a competition jointly organized by UN Women, the European Commission, the Belgian Development Cooperation, and the UN Regional Information Centre since 2015, with the aim of inspiring people in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals from a gender perspective.

During the event, the award ceremony for the Lorenzo Natali Media Prize 2018 will also take place. The prize rewards outstanding reporting on the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. A Special Prize is dedicated to work focused on the elimination of violence against women and girls, and UN Women is part of the jury.