UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér visits Nigeria to strengthen partnerships

Date: Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and UN Women Deputy Executive Director, Åsa Regnér, completed her first official mission to Nigeria from 21 to 25 October.

The Deputy Executive Director met with several distinguished representatives of the Nigerian government, including the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, to discuss the importance of embedding gender perspectives into all aspects of implementation of the SDGs.

Accompanied by UN Women Nigeria Country Representative Comfort Lamptey and UN Women Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Oulimata Sarr, she also met with Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, commending Nigeria’s leadership on development efforts and emphasizing the need to fulfill its commitments to advance gender equality and women’s rights agenda. "Everything that happens in Nigeria to move the 2030 Agenda on SDGs and the Gender Equality Agenda forward is so important because as the largest country in Africa, the world looks to Nigeria for hope and inspiration," said Ms. Regnér.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér and UN Women Country Rep Comfort Lamptey having a discussion with Nigeria’s Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during a courtesy visit to Aso Villa in Abuja.
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér with Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGs), UN Women Nigeria Country Rep, Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Nigeria Deputy Rep. Lansana Wonneh and UN Women Regional Director for West & Central Africa, Oulimata Sarr. Photo: UN Women/Amalachukwu Ibeneme

The Deputy Executive Director also stressed on the need to address the alarmingly low representation of women in decision-making and the importance of legislative and constitutional reforms in partnerships with the Government.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér with UN Women Country Rep Comfort Lamptey pays courtesy call to Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Amb Zubairu Dada.
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér with UN Women Country Rep Comfort Lamptey pays courtesy call to Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Amb Zubairu Dada. Photo: UN Women/Amalachukwu Ibeneme

"The upcoming 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action next year provides a very important platform to showcase Nigeria's commitment to advancing gender equality," she said.

The Deputy Executive Director also had a meeting with United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon to discuss the overall political and development context, including the SDGs the national Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and the UN Reform.

In her meeting with the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, Ms. Regnér called for more investment from the Nigerian Government in girls' education and in protecting young women from sexual violence in institutions of learning.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér and UN Women Country Rep Comfort Lamptey having a discussion with Nigeria’s Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during a courtesy visit to Aso Villa in Abuja.
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér and UN Women Country Rep Comfort Lamptey having a discussion with Nigeria’s Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during a courtesy visit to Aso Villa in Abuja. Photo: Office of Vice President.

The Deputy Executive Director also participated in a cross-generational dialogue with women ambassadors, the African Women Leader’s Network’s Nigerian Chapter, and other civil society representatives.

On 22 October, Ms. Regnér participated in a meeting on gender-based violence in Nigeria with the Spotlight Initiative partners and European Union delegation to discuss existing opportunities to work together to address gender-based violence, harmful and discriminatory cultural practices in Nigeria.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér, the Head of Cooperation at the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Kurt Cornelis and Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline K. Tallen during interactive session.
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér, the Head of Development Cooperation at the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Kurt Cornelis and Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs, Honorable Pauline K. Tallen during interactive session. Photo: UN Women/Alpha Ba

"The Spotlight Initiative is about building on existing structures and supporting activists and service providers working on the frontlines to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls," she said.

Later that day, the UN Women delegation led by the Deputy Executive Director also met with a cross-section of Women in Politics to discuss the low participation and representation of women in politics.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér and her delegation with a cross-section of  women in politics.
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér and her delegation with a cross-section of women in politics. Photo: UN Women/Amalachukwu Ibeneme

At another event, Ms. Regnér heard from young women entrepreneurs who shared their success stories as well as the challenges they face, ranging from access to finance and market, investments and persistent gender bias.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér and delegation with young female entrepreneurs and CEOs.
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér and delegation with young female entrepreneurs and CEOs. Photo: UN Women/Amalachukwu Ibeneme t

The DED also had a chance to interact with young women in the technology industry who are redefining Nigerian women’s career paths and goals.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér with THE ECOWAS Vice-President, Madam Finda Koroma, UN Women Nigeria Country Representative, Comfort Lamptey and UN Women Regional Director for West & Central Africa, Oulimata Sarr.
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér with THE ECOWAS Vice-President, Madam Finda Koroma, UN Women Nigeria Country Representative, Comfort Lamptey and UN Women Regional Director for West & Central Africa, Oulimata Sarr. Photo: UN Women/Amalachukwu Ibeneme

At an interactive discussion with young girls of the Sexual Offences Awareness & Victims Rehabilitation (SOAR) Initiative, a safe space dedicated to prevention and providing survivor support, Ms. Regner said: “It is the grown-up world which teaches boys and girls negative attitudes that promotes gender-based violence. UN Women is strongly committed to supporting initiatives that promote safe spaces for our girls. You have thought us a lot with your stories, I feel honoured to be here.”

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér UN Women Nigeria Country Rep, Comfort Lamptey and UN Women Regional Director for West & Central Africa, Oulimata Sarr with the young girls of Sexual Offences Awareness & Victims Rehabilitation (SOAR) Initiative.
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér UN Women Nigeria Country Rep, Comfort Lamptey and UN Women Regional Director for West & Central Africa, Oulimata Sarr with the young girls of Sexual Offences Awareness & Victims Rehabilitation (SOAR) Initiative. UN Women/Amalachukwu Ibeneme

UN Women’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Oulimata Sarr, added: “We [UN Women] need to make sure you are empowered, because the future belongs to you.”

On 24 October, The Deputy Executive Director joined the commemoration of UN in Nigeria, and in her remarks, reiterated UN Women’s commitment to work with partners to leave no one behind.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér with THE UN Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon, Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen and other dignitaries during the UN Day celebrations.
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér with UN Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon, Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen and other dignitaries during the UN Day celebrations. Photo: UN Women/Amalachukwu Ibeneme

She also met with Nigeria’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq, to discuss development and humanitarian context in the North East, and protection and empowerment of women and girls in Internally Displaced Camps (IDPs).

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér with Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq, UN Women Nigeria Country Rep, Comfort Lamptey and UN Women Regional Director for West & Central Africa, Oulimata Sarr.
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér with Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq, UN Women Nigeria Country Rep, Comfort Lamptey and UN Women Regional Director for West & Central Africa, Oulimata Sarr. Photo: UN Women/Amalachukwu Ibeneme

Ms. Regnér concluded her visit with meetings with women and girls affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, in Maiduguri, Borno State, as well as development partners. “It is very important for me to understand the reality on the ground and to show that we are here to support you in empowering women and girls," she stressed.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér, discussing with Hon. Usman Khadafu, The Deputy Governor of Borno State and his delegation.
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér, discussing with Hon. Usman Khadafu, The Deputy Governor of Borno State and his delegation. Photo: UN Women/Amalachukwu Ibeneme

In collaboration with Borno State Government, the UN Women delegation commissioned a rice milling machine in Jere Local Government Area for women and girls affected by the insurgency who have been trained on improved parboiling technology.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér with some of UN Women Nigeria’s beneficiaries during a field visit to the IDP community in Maiduguri, Borno State.
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér with some of UN Women Nigeria’s beneficiaries during a field visit to the IDP community in Maiduguri, Borno State. Photo: UN Women/Amalachukwu Ibeneme

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