An African high-level ministerial meeting on ending violence against women and girls was held in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to prepare a common position for Africa during the 57th Session of the UN Commission on The Status of Women-CSW. It was the first ever African preparatory meeting before the CSW, a global policymaking body of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) that, every year, brings together Member States to discuss and evaluate progress on gender equality around the world. This year's theme is “Preventing and Eliminating Violence against Women and Girls”.
The High-level Ministerial Preparatory meeting ended with the adoption of the Addis Ababa Declaration, highlighting commitments to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls (VAW/G) and included increased participation of men and boys and awareness raising and training of police, judiciary and military on women's rights. As pointed out by UN Women Chief of Africa, Ms. Letty Chiwara during her closing remarks, the declaration is a testimony of Africa's commitment to eradicate gender-based violence. Based on an exciting and substantive presentation of key results of the Africa UNiTE Campaign, by the Regional Manager, Ms. Jennet Kem, the Declaration calls for the use of the Campaign as an advocacy platform for zero tolerance to VAW/G throughout Africa. The declaration further states that ending VAW/G is a priority for development, peace and security, human rights and economic and social cohesion.
Ms. Lakshmi Puri, UN Women Deputy Executive Director, attended the meeting and in her opening remarks she stressed the importance of Governments translating international commitments into concrete national action so that women and girls are able to enjoy their human rights and live their lives free of violence. “We must all work together to guard against stagnation and backsliding on existing commitments. We must build alliances and rally for progress and change,” she stated. The African preparatory meeting gave African Ministers and senior government officials an opportunity to meet with each other as well as with representatives of the African Union (AU), the UN System and experts on VAW/G, to share experiences, learn from each other, identify best practices and discuss African priorities and recommendations before the upcoming CSW in New York.
The meeting was attended by a total of 147 registered participants, including representatives from Ministries of Gender, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Diplomatic Missions, the African Union, UN Agencies and 12 national and international media outlets.
The 57th session of the CSW will be held at the United Nations headquarters in New York between the 4-15 of March. The CSW was established in 1946 by ECOSOC resolution 11(II). The Commission prepares reports and recommendations to the Council on promoting women's rights in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields as well as make recommendation on problems requiring immediate attention in the field of women's rights.
To read the full declaration, click here.