Statement by UN Women for the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM 2022 – World
Strengthening collective action to eliminate FGM
Our greatest challenges may still lie ahead of us in the global effort to end female genital mutilation (FGM). The projected rapid population growth among young girls in countries with high prevalence of the practice could see an estimated 4.6 million girls undergo FGM each year by 2030. We must not allow this to happen. Working together – the UN, Member States – civil society and others – we must pool our knowledge to mitigate the grave risk for a new generation of women and girls.
We know this will require coordinated and holistic approaches. That’s why, at last year’s Generation Equality Forum, world leaders committed to action. Action Coalition members are committed to accelerating the end of FGM and all these harmful practices by overturning discriminatory laws, scaling up evidence-based prevention programs, providing specialized services to survivors and supporting the efforts of grassroots-led movements and activists.
In ending FGM, we know that stronger collaboration and community-led approaches make a critical difference. In Somalia, which has the highest global prevalence of FGM with 98% of women and girls aged 15-49, a partnership between UN Women and the Ifrah Foundation engages elders, religious leaders, women, men and young people in joint advocacy to end FGM and other forms of gender-based violence. The approach includes community awareness and activities to challenge harmful social norms and attitudes.
In Liberia, with the support of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia was able to strengthen its monitoring of bush schools used to practice FGM. Thanks to initiatives like this, the sustained surveillance of FGM has proven to be sustainable and resilient, even in the face of the disruption to many essential services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, through the training, communities have spread messages about preventing both COVID-19 and FGM.
Ending FGM will require concerted and holistic approaches that address gender discrimination, poverty, the impact of crises and barriers to women’s leadership. Existing child protection systems need to be strengthened. The elimination of FGM and violence against women and girls must also be integrated into broader national action plans on gender equality, as well as prevention, response and recovery from COVID-19.
We are moving ever closer to the 2030 deadline for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which include the goal of eradicating FGM. We must not let this generation down. We call on all our partners and allies to engage in the collective action needed to get things done.