Tuesday, January 29, 2019

European Union-United Nations (EU-UN) Spotlight Initiative High-level Launch in Africa
When: Saturday, 9 February 2019
Time: 3. p.m.(tbc)
Where: United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

What: At the event, African Heads of State, the UN Secretary-General, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, high-level representatives from the Africa Union, the United Nations, civil society leaders and Spotlight Champions will commit to eliminating all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, harmful practices, and promote access to sexual and reproductive health across the region.

Who: Proposed speakers include: the Presidents of Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe, Chairperson of the African Union Paul Kagame, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, European Union High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security

Policy / Vice-President of the Commission Federica Mogherini, European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica, United Nations Population Fund Executive Director Natalia Kanem, UN Women

Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Jaha Dukureh, Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Denis Mukwege, Italian politician and human rights activist Emma Bonino, and other gender activists, survivors and dignitaries.

The event will be moderated by Al Jazeera English Principal Presenter Folly Bah Thibault.

In September 2017, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) launched the Spotlight Initiative, a EUR 500 million global, multi-year initiative aimed at eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls. The Spotlight Initiative will deploy targeted, large-scale investments in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Pacific and the Caribbean, aimed at achieving significant improvements in the lives of women and girls.

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread and devastating human rights violations globally. In sub-Saharan Africa, the situation is worrisome.

Gender-based violence: In some countries in the region, 76 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Most affected are marginalized women and girls facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.

Harmful practices: 15 of the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage are in Africa, and more than 40 per cent of girls marry before the age of 18.

Every year, three million girls from 29 African countries join an estimated 200 million women and girls that have experienced the human rights violation known as female genital mutilation.

Sexual and reproductive health: The region also has the highest rates of unmet family planning needs, adolescent pregnancies, maternal deaths and HIV/AIDS prevalence.

Sexual and gender-based violence, harmful practices and barriers to sexual and reproductive health access have many commonalities. They share root causes and have similar challenges. The Initiative will address legislative and policy gaps, strengthen institutions, promote gender-equitable attitudes, and provide quality services for survivors and reparations for victims of violence and their families. Interventions will also strengthen systems for collecting data on violence against women and girls and empower women’s movements.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of European Union Delegation to the African Union.

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