FGM Elimination and COVID-19: Sustaining the Momentum

Annual Report 2020

Authored by: United Nations Population Fund

Categories: Global Public Health, Human Rights, Humanitarian Emergencies
Sub-Categories: Access to Justice and Rule of Law, COVID-19, Sexual and Reproductive Health
Region: No Region
Year: 2021
Citation: "FGM Elimination and COVID-19: Sustaining the Momentum: Annual Report 2020." United Nations Population Fund. September 2021.

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Executive Summary

The year 2020 marked the launch of the Decade of Action, a global call for accelerating sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest challenges — inequality, poverty, and, discrimination — to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. In 2019, the Nairobi Summit International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) celebrated advances in sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), well-being, and gender equality, 25 years after the Programme of Action was launched in Cairo.

This was followed by the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 2020, the most visionary agenda for girls’ and women’s rights and empowerment. But the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, school closures, disruptions in services, and rising household monetary poverty have increased girls’ risk of FGM, impeding progress towards meeting SDG 5.3, while also making its achievement even more urgent and necessary. UNFPA anticipates a one-third reduction towards achieving the elimination of FGM by 2030. From the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, girls and women have been at the center of the humanitarian response of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation: Accelerating Change (Joint Programme). Research shows that when girls and women are involved in prevention and crisis response, it leads to better humanitarian outcomes. By empowering and protecting girls and women, adapting interventions to ensure continuity of services, while pivoting to prevent and mitigate the risk of gender-based violence (GBV) and FGM, the Joint Programme has made considerable progress in 2020 despite facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. This has been achieved in partnership with governments, civil society, women and youth-led groups, community leaders, advocates and activists, among other key stakeholders of the Joint Programme.