Summary: 14 July 2015, Addis Ababa – Closing Remarks by EU Commissioner Mimica at the Side event “Financing for Gender Equality â Placing Women at the Centre of the SDGs in Africa” on the occasion of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.
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Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to be here today, as gender equality and women’s empowerment is a subject close to my heart and one of my main priorities.
As development Commissioner, I am convinced that development simply cannot happen if half of the world’s population is left behind.
I therefore intend to use all available resources and instruments – political and financial – to change this reality as much as possible.
Post-2015 process and the Financing for Development Conference offer us a real and unique opportunity to push gender equality and women’s empowerment forward. To turn words into actions. To turn girls’ and women’s silence into powerful and equal female voices. Especially in Africa, where the potential for such a change is enormous.
Of course, we all need funds to match our commitments. And this is indeed a key issue if we want to make gender equality happen.
Despite significant increases in recent years, the overall funding resources for women empowerment actions are still not adequate. As shown by a recent OECD analysis, there is still a gap between our commitments and our investments in gender equality and women’s rights.
In a number of countries, the legislation to eliminate violence against women and other gender equality mechanisms are not implemented due to a lack of funding. In others, women almost do not participate in the economic life – this is neither “smart economics” nor social justice. And most importantly, this cannot lead to development.
Having a self-standing Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality and women’s rights could be transformative in itself, and we need to preserve it. However, this will not bring us extra financing by itself.
The achievement of this Goal will very much depend on the Means of Implementation that the international community will agree to in Addis. And rest assured – I will do everything in my power to fight for the best possible outcome.
At the same time, I fully agree that we need to look for innovative, transformative and inclusive financing for gender equality. And to find ways – and the right partners – to leverage our public funds.
To turn this into reality, we need partnerships at all levels – a Global Partnership; partnerships with governments and local authorities; with private sector and social entrepreneurs; with grassroots organisations; and most importantly, with women organisations and women leaders, who will know how to turn a small project into a large success for their entire community.
On the EU side, we want to prove our commitment to gender equality and gender financing. We want to have more gender-responsive policies, programmes and regulations, and budgets that are gender sensitive.
In terms of development cooperation, we are now preparing an ambitious new framework for action, to succeed the current EU Gender Action Plan. It will be more focused on results and better tailored to respond to the specific situations and needs of our partner countries. Our plan is to present it in autumn.
We want to use this new framework for a more effective and targeted EU financing of gender-specific actions, and for focused gender mainstreaming across relevant sectors. We want to ensure that EU initiatives in all sectors have a positive impact on women and girls: from justice to the agriculture sector, energy and infrastructure.
In the 2007-2013 period, the EU invested over EUR 1.2 billion to activities targeted at improving gender equality and girls’ and women’s empowerment. But we would like to do more in the current financing period, and to do it better!
We will do so by using a wide variety of financing instruments by 2020: our budget for thematic programmes – with more than EUR 100 million committed to work to improve the lives of girls and women; our regional programmes and several other sources, such as the Pan-African Programme.
At the same time, we also need to explore how to better mobilise domestic resources in the partner countries. We have interesting experiences to share on this front, thanks also to two programmes implemented by “UN Women”.
One of them is still on-going and is being implemented in sixteen countries, including Ethiopia. It aims at increasing the volume and effective use of external assistance and domestic resources to implement national commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
I am also very glad to see that in Ethiopia the EU is implementing several successful and well-targeted projects – together with the Ethiopian ministries – that aim at improving skills of women willing to launch or build up a small business, or at promoting social and economic empowerment of women.
These are exactly the right steps to make a real difference on the ground – by giving women access to education, skills, resources, and to an enabling environment to create a better life on their own.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are here today to take stock of what has been done so far but – most importantly – to decide on the best means possible to move faster towards actual gender equality and lasting empowerment of women.
I hope that the results of this Conference and your panel discussions at this event will facilitate the achievement of our common objectives and encourage new partners to do it together with us on a global scale.
Let us try to put our today’s words and conclusions already tomorrow into concrete and targeted actions. You can count on my support.
- Ref: EC15-141EN
- EU source:
- UN forum:
- Date: 14/7/2015