The United Nations’ press service says the Central Asian Alliance to End Gender-Based Violence launched Almaty, Kazakhstan on June 27 as part of the United Nations Spotlight Initiative Regional Program for Central Asia and Afghanistan funded by the European Union.

The initiative reportedly aims to combat gender-based violence while advancing the fifth Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality.

The alliance advocates for gender equality, strengthening civil society and creating a platform for knowledge-sharing and expertise to prevent and address gender-based violence in the region.

Over 70 representatives from the EU, UN, Central Asian countries, diplomatic corps, civil society organizations, media, and youth associations reportedly attended the event.

According to the UN data, every third woman and girl in Central Asia has experienced violence at some point.  Gender-based violence is considered a threat to the well-being and human rights of women and girls globally.  The alliance’s ultimate goal is to create an environment of zero tolerance towards gender-based violence, which would benefit approximately 35 million women and girls in the region’s five countries.

The establishment of the alliance is one of the key achievements of the Spotlight Initiative Regional Program, which has made remarkable progress since its launch in 2020.

During the event, the participants shared insights into their work and discussed their challenges in addressing violence against women and girls.

The launch of the alliance reportedly signifies a strong commitment to upholding the principles of human rights, equality, and justice in line with the transformative vision outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The EU, UN, and their regional partners are paving the way toward a future where women and girls in Central Asia can live free from violence and discrimination.

The Spotlight Initiative is a global initiative of the United Nations which has received generous support from the European Union. Its aim is to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.  This is the world’s largest targeted effort for ending gender-based violence, pursuing the ultimate goal to create an enabling environment where there is zero tolerance for sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, which the national stakeholders and an estimated 35 million women and girls in the five Central Asian countries and Afghanistan will contribute to and benefit from.

Officially launched on December 8, 2020, the Spotlight Initiative Regional Program for Central Asia and Afghanistan strives to promote an integrated regional approach to end violence against women and girls across five priority areas: legislative reform; institutional strengthening, tackling social norms, attitudes and behaviors, closing the data gap; and strengthening civil society capacities and regional women’s movements.

In Central Asia and Afghanistan, the Spotlight Initiative is addressing legislative and policy gaps, strengthening institutions, promoting gender-equitable attitudes, and providing quality services for survivors. Interventions are also strengthening systems for collecting data on violence against women and girls and women’s movements.  The Initiative joins existing efforts and complements the work of regional institutions and diverse partners.