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The EU welcomes today’s discussion on gender-responsive initiatives to accelerate gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
The EU remains a major global actor, the world's leading development investor and a leading humanitarian aid donor on the promotion and protection of girls' and women's full enjoyment of human rights. This confirms once again the seriousness of the EU's commitment to accelerate progress in achieving gender equality and girls' and women's empowerment worldwide.
Gender mainstreaming has been embraced internationally as a strategy towards realising gender equality. It is not a policy goal in itself, but a means to achieve gender equality for all women and men, girls and boys..
Since decades, the EU committed itself to a three-pronged approach towards realising gender equality. This approach combines political and policy dialogues with partner countries, mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and actions, and implementing ad-hoc measures to eliminate, prevent or remedy gender inequalities. The three dimensions go hand in hand, and one cannot replace the other. The EU has consistently adopted this approach in all areas of EU external relations including in the areas of foreign and security policy, development, trade, finance, humanitarian aid, migration, justice and education, as well as preventing and countering violent extremism and terrorism.
In our daily work, we require the systematic use of gender analysis, gender mainstreaming, sex-disaggregated data and gender sensitive indicators into the planning, conduct and evaluation of all our partnerships, agreements, policies, strategies and activities. This is a precondition for realising the gender transformative approach in EU external action and international cooperation.
One example of effective EU gender mainstreaming can be found in the systematic integration of the gender perspective in entire process of analysis, planning, conduct and evaluation of the CSDP missions and operations, as they are all built upon all relevant international standards and legal instruments. The most recent action plan on Women, peace and security adopted by the European Union reinforces this dynamic and stresses that only through the mainstreaming of a gender perspective will structural change be achieved.
Another example is the systematic integration of gender perspective into the new generation of EU trade agreements which promote relevant international standards and legal instruments, including on gender equality, such as CEDAW, the Beijing Platform for Action, the core ILO Conventions and the SDGs.
These examples are doubly relevant: first, they show that there is no policy which is gender-neutral. These policies have served as a tool to promote global and European values, including gender equality and girls' and women's empowerment. Second, all EU staff, including those in senior management, bear their own responsibility in the proper integration of gender mainstreaming and have a key role to play. A gender-responsive leadership is a pre-requisite for effective mainstreaming of gender perspectives, leading ultimately to gender equality. While we will celebrate in 2020 the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Conference on Women, the 20th anniversary of the Women, peace and security and the 5th anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals, we are reminded that gender mainstreaming is a shared responsibility. All of us, including the EU, must continue to step up our efforts.