By Usman Aliyu
The Generation Equality Forum (GEF) ended in Paris on Friday with close to $40 billion commitment from stakeholders, to advance gender equality, a communique has said.
The communique, signed by Margaux Bonnet, Head, GEF Press Office, also stated that the forum also launched a five-year action journey to accelerate gender equality by 2026.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the forum, held between June 30 and July 2, engaged nearly 50,000 people in a mainly virtual format, to generate action for the rapid advancement of gender justice.
The Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality was designed by six action coalitions – multi-stakeholder partnerships that had identified the most critical actions required to achieve gender equality, ranging from gender based violence and technology to economic and climate justice.
Similarly, the forum also launched a Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action, and announced new gender equality initiatives focused on health, sports, culture, and education.
Reflecting on the outcomes of the forum, the African Union Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Child Marriage, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, said: “This week, I relived the experience of 1995, when I was a young women’s rights activist at the Beijing Conference.
“The COVID-19 context and other barriers are now an even greater inspiration for innovation, solidarity and inclusion. I am grateful for the commitments made this week.
”Now it’s time to invest in girls and young women even more – for resources to reach rural and marginalized communities, for technology for the public good to be made available to all, and for member states’ greater accountability to human rights of women and girls.”
The forum also confirmed ambitious policy and programme commitments from governments, philanthropists, civil society, youth organizations and the private sector.
“The monumental conclusion comes at a critical moment as the world assesses the disproportionate and negative impact COVID-19 has had on women and girls.
“Gender equality advocates have pressed for gender-responsive stimulus and recovery plans to ensure that women and girls are not left behind as the world re-builds,” the communiqué said.
Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, was quoted by the communique as saying that the GEF marked a positive, historic shift in power and perspective.
“Together we have mobilized across different sectors of society, from south to north, to become a formidable force, ready to open a new chapter in gender equality.
“The forum’s ecosystem of partners – and the investments, commitments and energy they are bringing to confront the greatest barriers to gender equality –will ensure faster progress for the world’s women and girls than we have seen before.
“UN Women will maintain a critical role in driving the forum’s 5-year action journey, overseeing the implementation of commitments to ensure accountability and progress over the next five years,” she said.
Speaking for the Government of France, the host of the Paris Forum, Ambassador and Secretary General of the GEF, Delphine O said: “After two years of collective work with Member States, civil society and philanthropic and private organizations, we succeeded in raising the largest amount of investment to advance gender equality and women’s rights ever.
“By implementing a new way of tackling global issues, through efficient multilateralism, the GEF reversed the priorities on the international agenda and made gender equality, for too long underestimated, a long-term issue for the international community, along with climate, education and health.
“France will continue to be at the forefront to accelerate gender equality progress.”
Meanwhile, in addition to the significant commitments unveiled at the opening ceremony, the final two days of the forum saw the unveiling of a wide-range of commitments from every sector.
The Government of Burkina Faso expressed commitment to work with Benin, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Togo to develop shared commitments related to family life education; free care for pregnant women and children under five years; and pursuing legal and social change to end gender-based violence, including FGM and child marriage.
The U.S government also committed to a range of significant policies and investment requests, including an investment of $1 Billion to support programmes to end violence against women, and $175 million to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally.
Open Society Foundation’s commitment was worth at least $100 million over five years, to fund feminist political mobilization and leadership among others. (NAN)