Good morning, everybody.
After a six-month process where we engaged with representatives from partner governments, the private sector, and civil society – including many of you tuning in today – the United States is proud to launch our 2022 Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally.
This group knows the scope and urgency of the challenge. One in three women is subjected to intimate partner violence within their lifetime – and the problem worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, when calls to gender-based violence helplines have increased by as much as five-fold in some countries.
Today’s document builds off our 2012 strategy, the first time we brought a coordinated, all-of-government approach to preventing and responding to gender-based violence around the globe.
Over the past decade, that approach has included funding to support survivors with post-violence care, like life-saving health services, psychosocial assistance, and legal aid. And its included working to change the harmful norms and attitudes that fuel gender-based violence.
This year, as part of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, we’ve kicked off several new efforts. The United States will now use all available tools, including sanctions, visa bans, and security assistance restrictions on individuals and entities who inflict conflict-related violence – a commitment made in President Biden’s recent memo on advancing accountability for conflict-related sexual violence. And we’re advancing new survivor-centered programming in humanitarian emergencies as part of our new initiative: Safe from the Start ReVisioned.
The 2022 Strategy will advance our work on preventing and responding to gender-based violence in several new ways, and let me just share a few of them.
The Strategy recognizes and seeks to address the growing connection between the climate crisis and gender-based violence. For example, as clean water is scarcer, women and girls often have to travel further to collect it, putting them at greater risk of gender-based violence. This Strategy invests in community-based programs that seek to address these and other safety challenges that are worsened by the climate crisis, like state fragility, conflict, and displacement.
The Strategy focuses on equity and inclusivity to ensure that targeted programs and services reach those most at risk, like girls and young women, LGBTQI+ persons, and persons with disabilities.
The Strategy will create more partnerships – including with survivors, partner governments, the private sector – to build the sustainable local capacity that leads to long-lasting change. And it will deepen our existing partnerships – such as our Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse, through which the United States is partnering with 10 countries to address technology-facilitated gender-based violence, including by advancing shared principles to counter it.
Across these and so many other efforts, the strategy will continue to advance a critical foreign policy priority of the United States: promoting the human rights of all people. That reflects a deeply held American value. It’s also a national security imperative, because when people feel safe, they can more meaningfully participate in our democracies and societies.
Ultimately, this work is about standing up for the dignity of every individual. It’s about pursuing justice for survivors, accountability for perpetrators. And it’s about building a safer, more inclusive world for us all. Thank you all for being our partners in advancing that noble goal