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UN’s Kallon calls for urgent financial support as 16 Days of Activism against GBV kick off

By Staff Writer

THE United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Zimbabwe, Edward Kallon has called on stakeholders to channel more financial resources towards Gender Based Violence (GBV).

He made the remarks at an event to launch the 16 Days of Activism against GBV this week

 Kallon urged governments to allocate more resources to prevention services for gender-based violence to reduce the tremendous health, legal, and productivity costs that countries continue to bear due to the scourge.

“I am honored to join you today for the national launch of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. This year’s campaign carries the theme “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls,” urging governments and stakeholders worldwide to invest in preventing gender-based violence.

Urgent financial support is necessary to tackle these issues, strengthening international cooperation, monitoring budget allocations, implementing gender-responsive budgeting, and providing resources to women’s rights organizations’ are crucial for lasting, transformative changes for women and girls.

Kallon highlighted that as the theme of the 16 days aptly emphasized, financing or investment was a critical element in achieving gender equality (SDG5) and the rest of the SDGs.

“A substantial increase in finance flows is necessary.

“This entails engaging international financial institutions, multilateral development banks, the private sector, remittances, philanthropic foundations, and other sources.

“By embracing an integrated approach, harnessing technology, and innovation, mobilizing financing, and strengthening collaboration and coordination, we can pave the way for gender equality,” said the UN Coordinator.

According to him, it was sad to note that violence against women and girls remained a widespread human rights violation despite the existence of laws to combat such violence, enforcement challenges and discriminatory social norms continue to persist.

“Startling statistics reveal that approximately one in three women and girls experience gender-based violence, inhibiting their potential and contribution to their countries’ development.

“It is time we acknowledge that any form of violence against women and girls is a stain on our humanity and hampers peace, security, and sustainable development. Let us unite to combat all forms of violence and address their underlying causes.

“In Zimbabwe, for instance, the 2019 Zimbabwe Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey reported that 39.4% of women aged 15-49 experience physical violence at least once in their lifetime, while 11.6% experience sexual violence while one in three women between the ages of 20-49 were reportedly married before they turned 18,”  Kallon stated.

Kallon explained that the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, conflicts, and climate change had further exacerbated violence against women and girls, intensifying existing challenges and introducing new disheartening threats, urging support of women’s organisations.

“We must support them and also create an enabling environment for them to flourish.

“We must also be conscious when promulgating new laws, that we don’t inadvertently encumber the progress of grassroots women organisations and movements.,” said Kallon.

The UN commended government on its successful collaboration under the United Nations Spotlight Initiative to Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls, which is funded by the European Union (EU).

The Spotlight Initiative has made significant investments in prevention efforts, reaching over two million people through campaigns, and directly engaging 50,000 individuals in five provinces through increased advocacy by gender champions and implementing partners.

“We especially applaud the High-Level Political Compact (HLPC) on Ending Gender-based Violence and Harmful Practices in Zimbabwe, signed by His Excellency President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.

“This commitment demonstrates a bold dedication to sustained political commitment and engagement at the highest level in the fight against violence targeting women, girls, and harmful practices,” Kallon told stakeholders.”

He however warned that failure to curb GBV and inadequate support and empowering of women and girls led to a lack of development.

“Some countries estimate that gender-based violence incurs an economic impact of about 3.7% of GDP, yet investment in addressing this issue remains as low as 0.2% of overall aid in 2022. Such a significant cost cannot be ignored.”

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