Joint Nordic statement - launch of Group of Friends for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls, 7 December 2020
I deliver this joint statement on behalf of the Nordic countries: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Denmark.
Let me start by extending our sincere appreciation to the EU, Argentina, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, New Zealand, and Turkey, for the initiative to establish this important Group of Friends for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls, and to her Excellency, UN Deputy-Secretary-General, Ms. Amina Mohammed, for her firm support for this group.
As strong champions for gender equality and the full enjoyment of human rights by women and girls, all the Nordic countries are honored to be part of this group. Violence prevents women and girls from participating in all spheres of life. All forms of gender-based violence, each act of forced submission and degradation is a barrier to the achievement of gender equality and the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. And it is among the most widespread and devastating human right abuses in the world with a third of all women and girls experiencing physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.
And this was before COVID-19. With the pandemic and its side effects in terms of security, health, and financial worries, all types of violence against women and girls have intensified. Earlier this year, this rightly led the UN Secretary-General to declare it a ‘shadow pandemic’ and to call for an end to all violence everywhere.
Almost a 150 countries responded to the Secretary-General’s call and agreed to make ending violence against women and girls a key part of their COVID-19 response plans. And 121 countries adopted measures to strengthen support for women victims of violence during COVID-19. Yet, a recent study found, that only 48 countries treated services related to violence against women and girls as an integral part of their COVID-19 response plans, with very few adequately funding these measures. Therefore, there is a strong need for a group like this to coordinate actions and share information to ensure follow-up to the Secretary-General’s call.
You can count on the Nordic countries to do our part to support the Secretary-General and this Group of Friends. As part of our commitment, we will use our strong voice and leadership in the Executive Boards of UN Women and UNFPA, in the Action Coalitions under the Generation Equality Forum, as well as in other relevant fora, including in regards to the Istanbul Convention. We will use the Danish leadership of the ‘Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies’ in 2021 and 2022 to promote the agenda and explore synergies with the work of this Group and other ongoing, relevant initiatives.
In closing, we look forward to work together with this group to make progress towards our shared goal of eliminating violence against women and girls.
Thank you. Stay safe.