This week more than 8,000 chiefs of governments, presidents, ministers, leaders of international organizations and NGO’s gathered in Brussels for the European Development Days. This year’s theme was gender equality.
The event included conversations surrounding the fundamental inequality that underpins discrimination, violence, and imbalances: the inequality of power.
The UN and the EU highlighted the role of their joint ‘Spotlight Initiative’ which was launched at the end of last year to help eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s focus on leaving no one behind.
The multi-year partnership aims to galvanize high-level political commitments and provide large-scale, targeted support to tackle violence against women and girls.
Speaking during the event, on 6 June 2018, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said that without progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment, the world will perpetuate the paradigm of “trying to address all the world’s challenges with only half the assets.” She emphasized that “significant investments of time, resources and political will” are necessary to address deeply embedded social norms, attitudes and practices that have contributed to violence against women and women’s unequal participation in the labor market.
As an example, Mohammed pointed to a finding by the World Bank that women’s equal participation in the labor force could “unlock” US$ 160 trillion, which is nearly two percent of global GDP.
One of the initiatives presented on EDD this year was also Agenda 5/17 - Gender Equality through Partnership.
With the support of UN Women German Committee and organization Engagement Global, the objective of this project is to link UN millennium goals number 5 and 17 to promote gender equality through partnerships at various levels of societies, particularly through empowering and promoting women.
Central to this is that the partnership with women from the global south should enable their stories and voices to be heard by the global north, thereby bringing the perspectives of the situation of women in the global south to the global north and vice versa.
To hear more about the initiative during European Development Days in Brussels, N1 caught up with Karin Nordmeyer, Chairperson of UN Women Germany and Dr. Joy Alemazung, from the Engagement Global Initiative.