International Women’s Day - 8 March 2013

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International Women’s Day - 8 March 2013: Statement by the Representatives of the European Union, France and Great Britain in Papua New Guinea

On 8 March 2013 we honor International Women’s Day, a day on which we acknowledge the important role that women play in society, and a day on which women need to be inspired and celebrated for their achievements. It is, unfortunately, also a day on which to recall that the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls is still far from being realised.

The Delegation of the European Union, the French Embassy and the British High Commission feel very strongly about this subject and express their commitment to help fight violence against women and girls in Papua New Guinea. They call on the Government of Papua New Guinea to make the eradication of violence against women and girls a top priority.

They fully endorse this year’s UN theme for International Women’s Day: “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”.

Violence against women and girls is a gross human rights violation that fractures families and communities and hampers development. It has enormous social, economic and productivity costs for individuals, families, communities and societies.

As the world’s largest donor, the European Union and its Member States have a crucial role to play in helping the development of women and girls. At least 20% of EU aid will go directly to human development; this, combined with the «female factor» in every development programme, will result in millions of women and girls receiving the help they need and escaping poverty.

Today we reaffirm our strong commitment to promote gender equality and women's empowerment. Equality between women and men is a fundamental right, a common value in Europe and most importantly a necessary condition for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth within the EU as well as in Papua New Guinea.

Background note

Some global facts & figures about EU support for women and gender since 2004:
• Support to enroll more than 85,000 new female students in secondary education
• to ensure that more than 4 million births were attended by health personnel
• to facilitate 10.8 million consultations on reproductive health

European Union helps making the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) work for women

The European Union's launched its 'Millennium Development Goals Initiative' with women in mind - a groundbreaking €1 billion project to support maternal health, contribute to the fight against child mortality and hunger and improve the supply of water and sanitation.

The Initiative is designed to reward progress of the countries that are most advanced in developing effective strategies to meet the MDGs, and to support efforts of others to bridge the gap of the most off-track MDGs, particularly those related to women.

The European Union in Papua New Guinea

In Port Moresby, aid from the European Union and UK has helped to support House Ruth where women in distress can find shelter and advice. In Mount Hagen a European Union microfinance programme helps women to set up small-scale businesses to make a living. Throughout the country the Union has funded programmes to boost the supply of clean water, which helps reducing infant and maternal mortality and helps women to spend more time on productive activities. Under the PNG-EU trade agreement, all of PNG's agricultural and fishery exports enjoy duty free access to the European market which has boosted investment and job creation in Papua New Guinea, in particular for women.