Background

The Secretary of CEB, in his capacity as representative of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, briefed the Committee on the Campaign entitled “UNite to End Violence against Women”, which had been launched by the Secretary-General on 25 February 2008. He noted that the Campaign, grounded in resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council, was aimed at addressing manifestations of pervasive discrimination against women and girls through 2015. With this timeline, the Campaign was aligned with the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and affirmed the inextricable link between the well-being of half the world’s population and progress in poverty reduction and development. It also built upon the recognition by the Security Council, in its resolution 1820 (2008), that sexual violence used as a tactic of war can significantly exacerbate situations of armed conflict and may impede the restoration of international peace.

Discussion

During the discussion, a number of points were raised, in particular:

  • Violence against women and girls is a deeply serious issue which should be taken up by the Committee in its future work programme. I
  • Concern remained, however, that the various initiatives to survey and report on the relevant work of the United Nations system did not always reflect the submissions that had been provided by individual organizations, and that the reporting requirements needed to be rationalized.
  • Efforts should be accelerated in various areas: mobilizing, supporting and coordinating the Campaign, including with regard to dedicated support and funding; ensuring the Campaign’s flexibility and wide dissemination; formalizing the Secretary-General’s male leaders network for the Campaign, and developing a training programme for country teams.
  • Concern was expressed with regard to the inherent tension implicit between addressing violence against women and girls as a priority issue in common country assessments/United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks and national ownership.
  • With regard to coherence efforts at the country level, it was pointed out that only Rwanda participated in both the 10 joint programmes on violence against women and the 8 “Delivering as one” pilots.
  • The global advocacy envisaged by the Campaign needed to be backed by empirical evidence.
  • United Nations leadership by example should include implementing the statement of commitment on eliminating sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations staff and related personnel, including putting mechanisms in place to support victims’ assistance, creating and mobilizing a global network of male leaders, and develop a training programme for United Nations country teams.
  • It was suggested that the high-level event envisaged for 2010 should not be held in parallel with the Commission on the Status of Women, but rather at the opening of the General Assembly.

Action

The Committee:

  •         Takes note of the Framework for Action and Programme of the United Nations Activities and Expected Outcomes, 2008-2015, Secretary-General’s Campaign “UNite to End Violence against Women”;
  •         Recognizes the importance of the Campaign and invites organizations to contribute in the areas of their comparative advantage to the Campaign;
  •         Invites the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women and the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality, in concert with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee and other relevant actors, to update the High-level Committee on Programmes on progress in the implementation of the Campaign.