The European Union and the United Nations on 22 September signed an agreement that launched a US$12.7M Spotlight Regional Caribbean Programme with the aim of fostering gender equality and to respond to family violence.
The overall aim of the regional initiative is the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG), and complements the Spotlight specific country programmes already put together for Grenada, Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana.
Violence against women and girls remains one of the most widespread, persistent, and devastating human rights violations in the world today. In the Caribbean, gender-based violence (GBV), including intimate partner violence, occurs above the global average. Sustained by a culture of silence, this was exacerbated during the current COVID-19 crisis and presents a major obstacle in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Under this new programme, the European Union, the UN Development System, regional Governments, and civil society organisations will partner to respond to family violence through legislative and other measures. Over the next two years, the programme will increase the capacity of key regional institutions, women’s movements and civil society organisations to respond to family violence, increase functional cooperation across the region, inform public policy, support evidence-based prevention programming, and foster greater accountability.
The Regional Spotlight Initiative will also support regional standards to improve delivery of essential services for survivors and strengthen data collection and analysis on VAWG including in the context of COVID-19. Caribbean specific models for behavioural and cultural change, inclusive of targeted prevention programmes for men and boys, will be promoted and support provided to integrate protection and prevention planning within COVID-19 national and regional action plans.
The Global Spotlight Programme was launched in September 2017 to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG) and was capitalised by an initial EUR 500 million commitment from the EU to support investment in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Pacific, and the Caribbean. The major investment in gender equality was designed to make a transformative difference in the lives of women and girls all around the world and contribute to the attainment of more equitable and sustainable societies for all.