With the adoption of the 2012 UNGA Resolution 67/146 on Intensifying Global Efforts for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilations, Governments agreed to a groundbreaking, comprehensive commitment to eliminate female genital mutilations, recognizing that policies, programmes and services must be part of a holistic, culturally sensitive approach that promotes, protects and fulfills the rights of girls and women.
The High-level segment of the International Conference, organized by the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Accelerating Change, and hosted by the Government of Italy, brought together representatives from over 25 governments, as well as civil society organizations, parliamentarians, human rights defenders, regional intergovernmental institutions and United Nations agencies.
The High-level segment provided a unique platform for meaningful dialogue. Participants reaffirmed their commitment to intensify global, regional and national efforts to further advance the implementation of the UNGA 2012 resolution. They also highlighted progress to date and identified the following further action for the elimination of female genital mutilations within countries, regionally and globally while advancing the realization of the rights of girls and women without discrimination, and contributing to sustainable development.
1) Accelerate the adoption and enforcement of legal and policies frameworks that advance gender equality and protect and fulfill the rights of girls and women, including the right to be free of female genital mutilations. This entails taking all necessary legal, policy, programming, budgeting, judicial or any other measures at global, regional, national, subnational and community level to eliminate female genital mutilations. It further entails harmonization of customary or religious laws with human rights international law through continued dialogue with traditional, faith-based and community leaders and other influential persons.
2) Strengthen multi-sectoral and collective responses to go to scale with the abandonment of female genital mutilations. This entails strengthening partnerships among the multitude of actors who are working at national, regional and global level in different contexts using different modalities and contributing to the common goal of eliminating the practice. It also entails greater support to communities, civil society organizations and the media to ensure activities at scale and the inclusion of underserved communities, as well as improved national sexual and reproductive health policies and programs to prevent female genital mutilations and address the needs of girls and women suffering from the consequences of the practice.
3) Increase resources and enhance accountability for eliminating female genital mutilations. This entails allocating greater financial and human resources at national, regional and global level, both from country resources and from bi-lateral and multi-lateral sources and multi-year commitments of financial allocations in order to ensure continuity of programmes.
At national level, increased accountability also entails ensuring the effective participation of girls, women, boys and men in the enactment and implementation of laws, policies, budgets and programmes relating to eliminating female genital mutilations. Regional institutions can further strengthen accountability by working with Member States to regularly monitor progress in achieving envisaged results.
The above actions requires strengthened local and national data collection and research to generate further evidence to inform policies and programmes that ensure the elimination of female genital mutilations. The participants welcome the decision by UNFPA and UNICEF, in line with the recommendation made in the UNGA Resolution, to continue the Joint Programme on the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Accelerating Change to December 2017 and recognize its strategic contribution at global, regional and national and sub-national level toward the elimination of the practice.
The challenge of eliminating female genital mutilations remains enormous. Yet with the progress and increased commitment over the last decade there is light at the end of the tunnel. Together we can meet the challenge.