Let me first of all start by expressing my deep appreciation to H.E. Chantal Safou Lopusa, Minister of Children, Gender and Family of Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Chairperson of the Special Technical Committee on Gender of the African Union, and Mr. Seleshi Tadesse, Director for women mobilization and participation enhancement, Ministry of Women Children and Youth Affairs, Ethiopia, and Dr. Attiat Mustafa, Director, Federal Unit of Combatting Violence against Women, Republic of Sudan. We are very honored to have you here with us today and thank you for being here.
And dear colleagues from UNFPA and partners who are all with us today, thank you for making it possible to have this meeting, the CSW high level side-event “Safety and Dignity for All- addressing GBV across humanitarian-peace-development nexus”.
[GBV in protracted-crisis setting]
Amidst rising threats related to many causes, climate change, conflict, political instability and inequality. Gender-based violence, we abbreviate to GBV here, is one of the gravest, yet also actually sadly one of the most grossly under-reported human rights violations, and it is exacerbated especially during emergencies, where we see increased lawlessness and impunity because support networks of local infrastructure crumble. The impact of the GBV is devastating for survivors but also for their communities — physical consequences may include injuries, unwanted pregnancies, fistulae, sexually transmitted infections including HIV and even death. To make matters worse, survivors often face systematic social rejection as well.
Addressing GBV is a priority for Japan. Preventing sexual violence in conflict is a key priority area stipulated in Japan’s initiative on “Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality” initiated by the Prime Minister Abe. And this is also in line with the concept of “Human Security”, that we often talk about, which aims at, and I quote from a well-known line, “protecting and empowering people who are exposed to physical violence, discrimination, exclusion and whose situation derives from inequalities in treatment”.
We appreciate UNFPA, who has been working very hard to address GBV, in particular, in humanitarian settings. In 2018, Japan was pleased to support UNFPA in supporting 13 countries to address safety and sexual reproductive health, strengthening prevention and response to GBV, and empowering women and girls.
In order to further enhance the effectiveness of interventions in protracted crisis settings, Japan is working with UNFPA to address the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, as was mentioned already. The 2030 Agenda recognizes the need to work to build resilience in the poorest countries both to respond to and also to help prevent humanitarian crises. The Agenda 2030 emphasizes that, and I quote, “there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development”. We all know that, we all have to think hard about this.
At the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in 2016, you may remember it still very well, the emphasis was placed on the need for development, humanitarian and political actors to set aside the traditional institutional labels and ways of working and move towards collective outcomes over a multi-year time frame, with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the common overall results and accountability framework.
Japan is committed to bridge the humanitarian-peace-development divide by supporting both immediate crisis response and building resilience, as well as building the capacity and enhancing the accountability of key stakeholders and the government of course, to prioritize GBV prevention and response. In this context, in 2018, Japan supported, as was mentioned by the Deputy Executive Director already, UNFPA to launch a pilot initiative on mitigating GBV risks and enhancing GBV response in protracted crisis settings while applying the nexus approach. This was in three African countries who are represented here; the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Republic of Sudan. This initiative will support countries to more effectively transition from crisis-response to recovery, and will help to sustain peacebuilding and development gains.
Today, we are honored to welcome distinguished speakers from those three countries to share stories and good practices that they have developed or they have experienced in GBV prevention and response based on the humanitarian-peace-development nexus.
Let me conclude by underscoring that freedom from all forms of violence is a fundamental condition for achieving gender equality. Japan is fully committed to continue working with the UNFPA and partners as well to pursue this goal. Together, I’m confident that we can and must make a world where safety and dignity, particularly of the most vulnerable women, are prioritized and preserved so that no one, and this means no women, will be left behind.
Thank you very much.