Morocco and the EU, in collaboration with Argentina, Mongolia, New Zealand, Turkey, and Namibia, have launched the Group of Friends for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls.
Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Omar Hilale, launched the initiative with his EU counterpart, Olof Skoog, and the heads of five other diplomatic missions in New York.
The launch ceremony of the friendship group took place virtually on December 7 with the presence of more than 200 representatives from UN organizations, diplomatic missions, and NGOs.
In his opening speech, Hilale thanked the 81 countries that joined the group of friends at its launch. The initiative now has over 146 adherent countries.
The Moroccan diplomat said the group represents an important manifestation of international solidarity and commitment to protecting the rights of women and girls in all regions of the world.
“Thanks to the multiple activities planned on its roadmap, we aspire to see our group of friends forging a path forward through these challenging times for women and girls, to becoming a catalyst for advocacy and an impetus for change,” Hilale said.
The head of the EU mission to the UN, meanwhile, shared additional details about the friendship group.
The Group of Friends for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls falls within the Spotlight Initiative, an EU-UN partnership with an initial budget of €500 million that seeks to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.
Skoog said the newly-created group will help materialize the international community’s commitment to eradicating the “parallel pandemic” of violence against women and girls, which witnessed a surge during lockdown periods.
The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, who chairs the Spotlight Initiative, expressed her satisfaction with the new group. She also thanked the diplomatic missions that launched it and those that joined.
The Group of Friends for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls will organize regular high-level ministerial meetings to encourage multilateral exchange and collaboration against the global challenge.