UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign
UN Women Laos/Daniel Hodgson
The UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign (UNiTE campaign), managed by UN Women, is a multi-year effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls around the world. It calls on governments, civil society, women’s organizations, young people, the private sector, the media, and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing the global pandemic of violence against women and girls.
Violence against women and girls (VAWG), and particularly domestic violence, has dramatically escalated around the world in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. As many countries went into lockdown, access to services and justice for survivors of violence, as well as prevention efforts, were severely curtailed. Current estimates indicate that for every three months the lockdown continues, an additional 15 million women are expected to be affected by violence. The global cost of violence against women is estimated at approximately 2 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP), or USD 1.5 trillion.
In April 2020, the United Nations Secretary-General urged all governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women and girls a key part of their national response plans for COVID-19. The appeal was answered in a statement by 146 Member States and Observers who expressed strong support.
As a follow up to the Secretary-General’s call, the Secretary-General’s Executive Committee also adopted a “Political engagement strategy” for the entire UN system to mobilize commitments and action to end gender-based violence in the context of COVID-19.
The efforts will aim to:
- Accelerate concrete policy responses to gender-based violence in the context of COVID-19 and
- Promote zero tolerance of gender-based violence across all spheres of society everywhere.
All governments are called to make commitments and undertake policy actions around four key action areas:
As we approach the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (15–26 March 2021), which will be held under the priority theme “Women's full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”, the UNiTE Campaign will be focusing its advocacy on the first action area of the political engagement strategy:
- Prioritize funding for a minimum package of essential services that include GBV [gender-based violence] prevention in COVID-19 fiscal stimulus packages, and within the UN Global Humanitarian Response Plan,
- Make flexible funding available for women’s rights organizations working at the nexus of COVID-19 and gender-based violence.
More details can be found in the UNiTE Campaign’s bimonthly action circular for February/March 2021 (Theme: Fund! PDF, 604KB).
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As the world retreated inside houses due to the lockdown measures introduced to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, reports from around the world showed an alarming increase in the already existing pandemic of violence against women.
“Accompanying the crisis has been a spike in domestic violence reporting, at exactly the time that services, including rule of law, health and shelters, are being diverted to address the pandemic,” said the UN Secretary-General's report “Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity: Responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19".
In response, the UN System’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence activities will begin on 25 November under our 2020 global theme: "Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!"
You can make a difference during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and protracted state of crisis it has generated across the world, you can support women and girl survivors of violence to stay safe and free of violence. Take action during this year’s 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence. For more information about “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!” and action ideas, see this year’s concept note.
In 2019, the UNiTE Campaign aligned its advocacy activities under the umbrella of UN Women’s Generation Equality campaign that marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. A global blueprint for women’s and girls’ rights adopted unanimously by 189 Member States in 1995, the Beijing Platform for Action sets strategic objectives and actions in 12 critical areas of concern, including ending violence against women and girls.
Kicking off during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (25 November – 10 December 2019), the UNiTE campaign focused on the issue of rape. While the names, times, and contexts may differ, women and girls universally experience rape, sexual violence, and abuse. Rape is rooted in a complex set of patriarchal beliefs, power, and control that continue to create a social environment in which sexual violence is pervasive and normalized.
In 2019, the UNiTE campaign marked the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, from 25 November to 10 December, under the theme, “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!”
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In recent years, the voices of survivors and activists, through campaigns such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, #Niunamenos, #NotOneMore, #BalanceTonPorc and others, have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced any more. Advocates understand that while the names and contexts may differ across geographic locations, women and girls everywhere are experiencing extensive abuse and their stories need to be brought to light.
This is why the UNiTE Campaign’s global advocacy theme this year is: Orange the World: #HearMeToo
Under the theme Orange the World: #HearMeToo, the UNiTE partners are encouraged to host events with local, national, regional and global women’s movements, survivor advocates and women human rights defenders and create opportunities for dialogue between activists, policy-makers and the public. As in previous years, the colour orange will be a key theme unifying all activities, with buildings and landmarks lit and decorated in orange to bring global attention to the initiative.
Recognizing the unifying nature of one of the essential principals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UNiTE Campaign celebrated 2017’s Orange Days, and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, under the overarching theme “Leave No One Behind: Ending Violence against Women and Girls” while underscoring its commit towards reaching the most underserved first.
For this reason, throughout 2017, the UNiTE campaign highlighted specific Sustainable Development Goals through its Orange Days theme by putting a spotlight on the implications and consequences of violence against women and girls within the most marginalized groups, including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters, amongst others. These actions will culminate in global mobilization to “Leave no one behind” during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign (from 25 November – 10 December).
Orange Day 2017 action themes:
February: Violence Against Women and Girls and Women’s Economic Empowerment
March: Violence against Women and Girls with Disabilities
April: Violence against indigenous women and girls
May: Mobilizing resources to end violence against women and girls
June: Violence against women and girl refugees
July: Cyber violence against women
August: Violence against women in humanitarian crises
September: Violence against older women
October: Violence against women in rural communities
November: “Leave No One Behind: Ending Violence against Women and Girls”