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UN marks 10th anniversary of fund to end violence against women with call for action

UN marks 10th anniversary of fund to end violence against women with call for action

Senior United Nations officials today marked the tenth anniversary of the creation of the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women with praise for its accomplishments and a call for more action.

“Today is not only an occasion to celebrate. It is also an opportunity to renew and redouble our efforts,” said Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, whose was sworn in as Deputy Secretary-General on 5 February, making her the highest-ranking woman at the Organization. “Violence against women is an issue that cannot wait.”

Established by the General Assembly, the Trust Fund is administered by UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and has brought together 16 UN agencies, eight international and regional organizations and many women’s groups. To date it has distributed nearly $13 million to 226 innovative programmes to address violence against women in more than 100 countries.

Other speakers at today’s ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York included UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador and actress Nicole Kidman, who called on all people to take work towards ending violence against women. “We all know in our heads and our hearts that every woman is entitled to a life free of violence,” she said. “Let’s make that a reality.”

UNIFEM Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer said that the Trust Fund serves as a catalyst for positive change. “Only when measures to address violence against women are an integral part of national strategies for development and human security will violence against women become a rare occurrence instead of a global pandemic,” she said.

The agency disburses grants ranging from $25,000 to $125,000 from the Trust Fund to sponsor projects raising awareness of women’s human rights, and include public education campaigns; coalition-building in communities; and training of teachers, healthcare providers and police to respond to and prevent violence.

Some Trust Fund-sponsored projects are the first of their kind. For example, in Ecuador, an innovative programme receiving UNIFEM funding is addressing the problem of violence perpetrated against women in indigenous communities in the Amazon forest.

Ms. Migiro previously worked with UNIFEM on issues of women’s empowerment when she was a Government minister in her home country of Tanzania. She also briefly served on the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, a panel of international experts on women’s issues which tracks the status of women in States which have ratified the landmark 1979 treaty on the issue.

“Now, as Deputy Secretary-General, I pledge to do all I can to keep this world body united for the advancement of women everywhere, and at the forefront of the cause of ending violence against women,” she declared today.

A report issued last year by the Secretary-General called for greater resources for the Trust Fund, and recommended that “States, donors and international organizations increase significantly the financial support for work on violence against women.”