Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

CSW65 High Level Side Event of the Group of Friends for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls

02/03/2021 - 23:06

15 March 2021 - Group of Friends on the Elimination of Violence against Women & Girls

COVID-19 and violence against women and girls: what has the international community done to address the shadow pandemic?

High-Level Side Event of the Group of Friends for the elimination of violence against women and girls


Since the outbreak of COVID-19, reports from those on the frontlines have shown that all forms of gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence, have intensified. At the same time, resources and efforts have been diverted from gender-based violence response to immediate COVID-19 relief. As a result, access to many critical and often life-saving services has become increasingly challenging. The UN Secretary-General made a global appeal on 5 April to end violence, including in homes, during COVID-19.

146 UN Member States and Observers answered the UN Secretary-General’s appeal by committing to make the prevention and redress of violence against women and girls a key part of COVID-19 responses.

The Group of Friends was established in December 2020 to promote the implementation of the UN Secretary-General’s call. It aims to create a platform to share lessons learned on efforts to eliminate all forms of gender-based violence, to improve cooperation on this issue as well as to support advocacy initiatives and the mobilisation of additional resources.


Marking nearly a year since the UN Secretary-General’s appeal on Gender-Based Violence and COVID-19, the High-Level side-event of the Group of Friends at the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women will provide an s opportunity to:

  • take stock of ongoing efforts to integrate the prevention and redress of violence against women and girls in COVID-19 responses at the national and local level;
  • highlight areas to further enhance cooperation and build partnerships to eliminate violence against women and girls;
  • mobilise action and resources to support initiatives to end gender-based violence, such as the Spotlight initiative;

Programme (Draft)

Opening (5 min)

  • H.E. Mr António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations  (confirmed)

Key-note addresses (7 min)

  • H.E. Ms Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships (confirmed)

Panel: a discussion between political leaders and civil society (50 minutes)

  • H.E. Ms Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia (confirmed)
  • H.E. Mr Brigi Rafini, Prime Minister of Niger (confirmed)
  • Ms Josina Z. Machel, Women Human Rights Defender, Founder of the Kuhluka Movement, Mozambique (confirmed)
  • Ms Geetanjali Misra, Co-Founder and Executive Director of CREA, member of the Global Reference Group of Spotlight, India (confirmed)

Q&A with participants (15 minutes)

Closing (5 minutes)

  • Ms Ixchel Lucas, Representative of Las Niñas Lideran, on behalf of the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence (confirmed)

Moderator: H.E. Mr Olof Skoog, EU Ambassador to the UN, Chair of the Group of Friends


New York
United States of America

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