Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear colleagues,

Let me also welcome you to this event.

Your presence gives me great courage. And hope.  

We all agree, Gender Based Violence is NOT JUST another form of violence. It is a threat to human life. A denial of human dignity.

Anyone can be a victim. Anytime. Anywhere. Sadly, women and children suffer the most.

Everyone in this room is determined to fight Gender Based Violence.  Together we can end this hateful practice. That claims lives and devastates the future of millions of women and children.

It is a top priority for the European Union's humanitarian action.  It is our moral imperative.

- First, through the EU's humanitarian Gender Policy and Gender Action Plan.  This integrates Gender Based Violence into all EU-funded humanitarian actions.

- Second, last year alone, we funded projects worth twenty-two (22) million euro to fight GBV.

- Third, the EU has embedded Gender-Based Violence into all our humanitarian health programmes. Where we invest more than two hundred (200) million euro each year.

We are translating our words into concrete, targeted action.

For example:

- We fund sexual and reproductive health for refugees in Turkey and Lebanon.

- We support Emergency Gender Based Violence protection needs in Bangladesh.

- We help strengthen community response mechanisms against GBV in South Sudan.

- We help raise awareness on the issue in Eastern Ukraine.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have visited many of the places I just mentioned. And seen how our work can change the lives of thousands of women and children.  And give them hope.

Last March I visited the Panzi hospital in Bukavu, DRC. Also funded by the EU.

In this hospital, survivors are treated for their physical and mental traumas. And they slowly start rebuilding their lives.

These are projects of resilience. And hope. Offering prospects for the future.

Finally, we must ensure that action against Gender-Based Violence cuts across the whole humanitarian spectrum. And that it has EVERY actor and EVERY sector on board

One important tool in eradicating Gender-Based Violence is education in emergencies.

The EU's new approach to education in emergencies makes it our top focus.

Dear colleagues,

Today, the EU leads the Call to Action on Protection Against Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies.

Our priorities are clear:

We are bolstering our advocacy and outreach. With thirteen (13) new partners.

Bringing the total number of partners to seventy-seven (77). This network of partners has tremendous potential.

We have organised many outreach and advocacy events.

I am very thankful to Henrietta and UNICEF. I appreciate our partnership, on education in emergencies and on GBV. And our joint efforts for the Call to Action.

I am also grateful to our panel today which reflects how dynamic, diverse and inclusive are the advocates for the eradication of Gender-Based Violence in emergencies.   

We are also giving great importance to awareness-raising in the field. We brought the Call to Action directly to those affected by the problem. And to those who directly fight against it.

Finally, we invested in knowledge tools and tracking mechanisms. We supported the revision of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Gender Handbook. And fostered tracking and evaluation via the Call to Action Road Map. This is our tool to track progress, with transparency and accountability. 

The EU’s leadership of the Call to Action will be over at the end of this year. But the work continues.

I look forward to working with Canada to take this further.

Dear friends,

The Call to Action has translated:

  • our political commitments;

  • our determination;

  • and our unity;

into inspired actions on the ground. That make a real difference.

Let’s not forget that women and children mirror the societies they live in.

Security, stability and prosperity pass through healthy, educated and empowered women and children. 

These are the societies we have to strive for. This is why we have to stop GBV in emergencies.

Thank you.