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DSG/SM/1518
8 December 2020

Spotlight Initiative for Central Asia, Afghanistan Will Tackle Gender-Based Violence, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Launch Event

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message, “Together to End Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Violence in Central Asia and Afghanistan”, at the high‑level launch event of the Spotlight Initiative Regional Programme for Central Asia and Afghanistan, today:

It is with great pleasure that I join you today to launch the regional programme of the Spotlight Initiative for Central Asia and Afghanistan.  Collective, comprehensive action on ending violence against women and girls could not be more urgent. I urge all of you today, women and men, to work on reducing gender‑based violence to zero.

Since the outbreak of COVID‑19, there are authoritative reports of a global surge in gender‑based and domestic violence.  Central Asia and Afghanistan have unfortunately not been spared.  In 2017, the European Union and the United Nations launched the Spotlight Initiative Programme, a global, multi‑year partnership to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.

Launched with an unprecedented funding commitment of €500 million from the European Union, the Spotlight Initiative is a global effort to invest in gender equality as a precondition and driver for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In Central Asia and Afghanistan, the Spotlight Initiative will promote zero tolerance for sexual and gender‑based violence and harmful practices like bride kidnapping and early marriage.  It will support legislative reform, strengthen institutions, tackle social norms and attitudes, and offer strengthened support to civil society and women’s movements throughout the programme area.

The Initiative will also tackle the roots of gender‑based violence, which lie in deep inequalities, long‑standing traditional gender roles and social norms, and lack of opportunities for women and girls.  It will support digital literacy trainings and engagement with religious leaders and will work with rural communities.

Throughout its mandate, the Initiative will work closely with and benefit from the work of national stakeholders with one clear objective:  improving the lives of millions of women and girls, and through them, of families and communities.

Today’s launch event has great symbolic value, showing real commitment and action as we mark the twenty‑fifth anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action - the most progressive blueprint to advance the rights of women and girls around the world.

With this launch and the 16 days of orange, I encourage all of you to renew your commitment to more inclusive, sustainable and equal societies and join us in advancing the rights of all women and girls.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.