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Fighting against harmful practices including FGM is a priority for EU external action as recognised both under the EU Action Plan for Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024, and the Gender Action Plan III which highlights the imperative need for the legal prohibition of FGM.
According to estimations, more than 200 million girls and women have suffered from FGM across the world. In Europe, at least 600,000 women are living with the consequences of FGM and a further 180.000 girls and women are at risk of undergoing the harmful practice.
The EU is aware of the challenge, magnitude and impact of FGM on girls worldwide and became a key player in the fight against FGM. We are engaged at political and programming level since 15 years.
Despite some noteworthy progress in recent years, figures are still staggering and are exacerbated by the disruption of COVID-19 in prevention programmes, seriously undermining progress made towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The EU is supporting UNFPA/UNICEF since 2016 through the Joint Programme of the abandonment of female genital mutilation, which focuses on strengthening policy development and implementation, while improving access to quality health care, protection, and legal and social services in 16 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (total amount of EUR 18 million, 2016-2022).
The EU is also contributing to the end of FGM through the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative which primary ambition is to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in 26 partner countries in the broadest sense possible, including in 8 African countries.
Today, we propose to present the actions supported by the EU in its partner countries where these practices are prevalent in Africa and to hear the testimonies of the EU's partner organisations such as UNFPA which runs the Global Programme on the elimination of FGM under the Spotlight Regional Programme in Africa. Some members of EU Delegations working on projects implemented by NGOs at national level (Mauritania, Somalia, Sudan) will also share their experience, as well as colleagues working on Spotlight projects at country level (Liberia).
To continue the discussion, the Capacity4DEV group: Public Group on Gender
Programme Manager on Anti-discrimination, INTPA G1- Gender Equality,Human Rights and Democratic Governance
Coordinator of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation
Head of Delegation of the European Union to Liberia
Ambassador Laurent Delahousse