Norway boosts funding for UN gender funds

11/23/2009 // Norway will provide NOK 40 million (USD 7 million) to UN efforts to combat female genital mutilation and violence against women in developing countries. At the same time, Norway will contribute NOK 20 million (USD 3.5 million) to the new UN Fund for Gender Equality.

Globally, every third woman experiences some form of sexual or gender-based violence during her life, according to UNIFEM.

“The UN plays a key role in mobilising broad and coordinated efforts against all forms of gender-based and sexual violence. Our allocations are being made to support the UN in this important work, among other things in order to combat the use of sexual violence as a weapon in armed conflicts,” commented Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.

Two funds managed by UNIFEM, the Fund for Gender Equality and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, will each receive NOK 20 million as part of the Norwegian allocation. In addition, Norway is to give NOK 20 million to the UN Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, which is managed by UNFPA and UNICEF.

Between 100 and 140 million women and girls, the majority of them in Africa, have experienced female genital mutilation (FGM). The UN’s efforts to promote social change at the local level in Senegal, for example, have yielded good results. Here, 3300 villages have so far declared that they will abolish the practice of FGM.
 
“Female genital mutilation is an extreme way of controlling girls’ sexuality and fertility. Eradicating deeply-entrenched power structures and traditions such as female circumcision will take time and must be promoted from within the local community,” Mr Solheim said.

Through its allocation to the UN, Norway is seeking to enable actors at grassroots level and other agents of change to follow up national and international commitments to eliminate gender-based violence.

“Our own experiences form the backdrop for our contribution to the new UN Fund for Gender Equality. The women’s movement has been crucial for securing women’s rights in Norway. The women’s shelter movement and the fight for the right to abortion on demand are examples from our recent past,” Mr Solheim commented.

In 2008, Norway provided NOK 4.8 billion (USD 850 million) in gender-focused development aid. This represented a doubling of gender-focused aid compared with 2005. From 2005 to 2008 the percentage of total development aid that could be defined as gender-focused rose from 20 to 30 percent.


 


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