Thank you very much Natalia. And thank you to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for your kind invitation to this panel.

We all agree that 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. But, women and children are especially vulnerable.  And suffer the most.  Because of discrimination. Inequality. And, exclusion. In particular, during conflicts and emergencies.

This is the hard reality.

So, let me thank all the organisers for bringing us together. To discuss this critical issue. And to reaffirm our commitment to our common goal: to stop Gender Based Violence in emergencies.

Dear colleagues,

Eradicating Gender Based Violence is more than a mandate. It is our moral duty.

That is why the European Union has made it a top priority.

First, through its policies. The EU humanitarian Gender Policy and EU Gender Action Plan ensure that gender is integrated in ALL EU-funded humanitarian actions.

Education in Emergencies — our flagship policy — is a key component of our efforts to stop Gender Based Violence.

Because Education is the foundation for everything else. A shield that protects girls and boys against sexual exploitation and abuse.

In fact, it was here in Oslo, four years ago, that I announced we would increase our humanitarian budget dedicated to Education.

At the time, in 2015, we only allocated one percent (1%) of our humanitarian budget to Education.

This year, we are allocating ten percent (10%) to Education. Ten times more!

Second, the EU is committed to ending Gender Based Violence through its funding.

In 2017 and 2018, we provided sixty-two (62) million Euro to support the fight against Gender Based Violence.

I want to reaffirm our commitment to continue on this same path. For as long as it takes!

As you know, we led the Call to Action in 2017 and 2018. During our leadership, we welcomed eighteen (18) new partners.

We piloted the Call to Action in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Together with our good friends from UNFPA.

We organised many workshops and other activities to raise awareness of the Call to Action. We published a first-ever Progress Report.

But our work is far from over!

I am looking forward to working with Canada.  And all of you.  To finalise the first-of-a-kind inter-agency global minimum standards on Gender Based Violence in emergencies. An important deliverable of the Call to Action Road Map.

The EU has supported the development of these minimum standards. And we have supported the revision of the international Gender Handbook. The tools to support adequate responses to GVB are there. The time of excuses or inaction is over.

Dear friends,

The EU will continue to play a leadership role in the fight against GBV in humanitarian settings. Taking into account the new needs.

Our commitments at this conference are clear. 

We are focused on:

  • Implementing our relevant EU policies.
  • Driving forward our new EU approach to Women, Peace and Security. 
  • and strengthening our EU Gender-Action Plan.

Only through collective action and partnership, like this conference, can we comprehensively address Gender Based Violence.

And amplify the voices of all those who want to see a brighter future for women and girls. Translating our commitments into action!

Thank you.