No sustainable development or peace without women: UN deputy chief

Amina J. Mohammed was speaking in the capital, Port Moresby, where she participated in the national launch of the Spotlight Initiative, a European Union-UN partnership to eliminate violence against women and girls by the SDG deadline of 2030.

The UN estimates that while one in three women worldwide is affected by violence in their lifetime, the number could be double in the Pacific island nation.

Describing these rates as “astronomic”, Ms. Mohammed underlined the UN’s commitment to work with the Government, partners, and civic and faith-based organizations to help change attitudes that suggest violence and harm are acceptable.

“We cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the global agenda for people, planet and prosperity, if we do not bring along half our population”,  Ms. Mohammed said at a press conference following the launch.

“We cannot say we have achieved peace if half our communities live in fear, insecurity, and without dignity.”

On the road to gender equality

The Deputy Secretary-General was part of a three-woman UN delegation to Papua New Guinea which, due to its geographic location, was among the first countries on the planet to greet the arrival of International Women’s Day.

She and colleagues Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS, and the UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake, hit the road at 6am for a morning march for gender equality alongside Port Moresby’s Governor, Powes Parkop, and scores of residents.

The UN team also saw how the Spotlight Initiative will support local projects already on the ground, such as the Meri Seif (“Safe Woman”) bus that provides transport for women and girls in the capital.

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