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Between 3 October 2014 and 10 September 2019 she was Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Ministers on this page who have left the Government

Between 3 October 2014 and 10 September 2019 she was Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Speech by the Minister for Foreign Affairs at A Call to Action for addressing Gender-based Violence in Emergencies


Speech by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström at A Call to Action for addressing Gender-based Violence in Emergencies: Leadership, coordination, tools and practise – side event with UK/UNFPA/UNICEF/IRC/Oxfam, at World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul 24 maj 2016.

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Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished delegates and excellencies in the audience and in the panel,

I am honoured to welcome you all to this side event, jointly organized by Sweden, UK, UNFPA, UNICEF, Oxfam, the International Rescue Committee and GBV AoR. I am also honored to have such a distinguished panel with a broad range of experiences to bring to the table. Thank you all for joining us today.

Overarching view

Worldwide, an estimated one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime. One in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or abused in some other way – often by someone she knows.

Today, almost 60 million people are displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations. You have all heard it before - this is the highest number since the since the Second World War.

Displaced women and girls are one of the most vulnerable groups in the world, due to gender-based discrimination in access to resources, rights and representation

The risk for women and girls to become targets of sexual and gender-based violence is furthermore multiplied in emergencies.

It is unacceptable that women and girls risk being target of gender-based violence. Gender-based violence - which includes, among other things, domestic violence, sexual violence, female genital mutilation, honour-related violence, child marriage, violence against LGBT-persons and human trafficking - is the most extreme form of gender inequality.

Preventing and responding to gender-based violence must be recognised as lifesaving activities from the onset of an emergency and as a key protection concern.

In conflicts, natural disasters and other emergencies, humanitarian stakeholders should assume that gender-based violence is occurring and undertake action.

Humanitarian aid is about saving lives, alleviating suffering and restoring human dignity. By tackling gender-based violence we achieve these aims.

Feminist Foreign policy

Now is the time to walk the talk. I challenge women and men- in leading positions to step up to the plate. Your words are important, but ultimately only your actions count.

It is more urgent than ever to prevent and respond to the horrific crimes against women and girls that are taking place in emergencies such as Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and in the Central African Republic. We have important work ahead of us and I believe that we together can make a difference.

Sweden pursues a feminist foreign and development policy, which is based on four pillars - "R: s" - rights, representation, resources and reality. This policy is committed to accelerating the advancement of gender equality and women's and girls' rights globally.

Achieving gender equality will require new and coherent approaches, upstream and downstream: including everything from agenda setting, the gathering of information and data, analysis and decision making, the design of interventions, to follow-up and accountability.

Women and girls in humanitarian settings are one of the focus areas of the feminist foreign policy and are given special attention in 2016.

We need to make sure we address this issue in a way that gives real results on the ground. There is a clear gap between what people in humanitarian emergencies experience – not the least women who represent of the victims - and high-level discussions that take place in different fora.

Call to Action

Sweden believes that more actors can use the global multi stakeholder initaive "Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies" as a platform to increase the efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in humanitarian settings.

Sweden is honoured to be leading the initaive Call to Action in 2016 with the aim to build a truly global coalition to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.

The Call to Action is a multistakeholder initaive that was launched in 2013 by the UK and Sweden and gathers States, donors and organisations.

Each partner commits to concrete actions to reach the objectives in the Call to Action Roadmap and report annually on progress.

Call to Actions Roadmap provides a framework to follow-up the commitments being made here at the Summit. It is a tool for humanitarian actors to ensure that pledges are translated into concrete and targeted actions on the ground.

I encourage all states and organisations to endorse the Call to Action and its Roadmap.

Sweden's commitments

We are convinced about the need to focus more on the root causes of gender-based violence, which are found in gender-based power inequalities and gender-based discrimination. Responsive measures such as providing adequate service to survivors of gender-based violence, is crucial – and lifesaving – but it does not necessarily stop the violence from happening in the first place or prevent it from happening again.

National ownership is key, gender equality takes time and we believe that the issue should be raised in dialogues with Governments. Development actors have a central role in this and we would like to encourage closer cooperation with humanitarian actors, as well as early engagement in emergencies. Sweden is in a strong position to extert an influence, as a major humanitarian donor; we must do more and do better to improve the lives for women and girls in emergencies.

Therefore we will continue to set strong incentives that our partners must live up to and we encourage other donors to do the same.

Sweden will continue to only finance humanitarian projects that take into account the different needs of women and men, girls and boys according to UN's Gender Marker system. We find that creating financial incentives has significantly increased the number of projects designed to meet the needs of women and men, girls and boys.We are demanding gender segregated data from our partners. Humanitarian partners need to ensure that gender-based violence is included in cluster response plans, reports, projects, programmes and pooled fund. All humanitarian partners are required to apply the IASC Guidelines in order to mainstream gender-based violence across all humanitarian sectors. Gender norms surrounding violence must change. Men and boys can be drivers of change and needs to be involved, and take responsibility, in the work on gender equality as well in the fight against gender-based violence. Engaging men and boys directly to transform harmful beliefs, attitudes and behaviours based on gender norms is crucial in order to successfully prevent gender-based violence.Women and girls as actors; humanitarian efforts must recognise that women and girls have much to contribute in preparing for, and responding to, crises They should not be seen as helpless victims or mere recipients of aid. The importance of women's participation and partnership with women's organisations need to be further highlighted.

The World Humanitarian Summit

The World Humanitarian Summit must lead to political commitments that are translated to concrete changes for women and girls on the ground. We will use the Call to Action to ensure that commitments are put into action.

I encourage all states and organisations to endorse the Call to Action and its Roadmap. There have been important progress to date, but a lot remains to be done.

This will be further addressed now by our distinguished panellists. I am also pleased to be able to present Jina Moore who is the international women's rights correspondent for BuzzFeed News and based in Nairobi. Moore has reported from Liberia at the height of the Ebola crisis and on women's issues around the world.

Ministers on this page who have left the Government

Between 3 October 2014 and 10 September 2019 she was Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Ministers on this page who have left the Government

Between 3 October 2014 and 10 September 2019 she was Minister for Foreign Affairs.