On behalf of the Secretary-General, I am pleased to open this high-level panel on this crucial topic, and I thank Ms. Dubravka Šimonović, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, for convening it.
I am also delighted to be on a panel with eight women experts who have dedicated their lives to fighting for women’s human rights in their regions and around the world.
Your experiences bring practical insights into how we can eliminate violence and discrimination against women and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
At the heart of the 2030 Agenda -- and of this discussion -- is the need for genuine partnerships with results.
At the United Nations we have long realized that cooperation with regional mechanisms and organizations is essential to all three pillars of our mandate.
We coordinate with regional organizations to end conflicts, to staff peacekeeping missions, and to build lasting peace.
Currently we are transforming our regional entities so they are fit for purpose to deliver on the SDGs.
We work with regional entities to promote sustainable development around the world.
And we know they are crucial to the realization of human rights for all.
So, I am particularly pleased to see this initiative working towards enhanced and institutionalized cooperation in the field of women’s human rights and in ending violence against women.
There is a growing global backlash against women’s rights that we see replicated in country after country in ways that are all too familiar.
All over the world, words like culture, tradition and religion are disingenuously invoked to deny women their full and rightful control over their bodies and their lives.
All over the world, women’s labour, both in the home and outside it, is too often undervalued.
And all over the world, there is still a pandemic of violence against women and girls -- in homes and places of work, in schools, on the streets and online.
But because of this shared struggle, we women have long been accustomed to building cross-border movements and calling on the solidarity of our sisters around the world.
Harmonizing international and regional standards and processes can make our mechanisms more effective and bring human rights closer to lived realities.
Sharing knowledge and experiences can expand opportunities and strengthen the quality of programmes, leading to better outcomes for women and girls.
And, by speaking with a unified voice, regional and international mechanisms can magnify their visibility and moral authority to the benefit of the women they seek to serve and the rights they seek to enforce.
For our part, the United Nations will use the new UN-EU Spotlight Initiative to End Violence against Women and Girls to build on the efforts, knowledge and expertise of existing UN and each of your mechanisms, and to translate these into concrete country level responses and action for women and girls.
And so, I heartily welcome this initiative from the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women to strengthen the cooperation between international and regional mechanisms dealing with violence against women and women’s rights, and would like to emphasize the Secretary-General’s and my support.
I very much look forward to hearing from each of the exceptional women here today on how their mechanisms have cooperated with others in the past and what their hopes are for the future.