Background and context
In its resolution 50/166 of 22 December 1995, the General Assembly gave the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) the mandate to strengthen its activities to eliminate violence against women in order to accelerate the implementation of the recommendations set out in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.1 This resolution also established the United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women as a key inter-agency mechanism to advance action to address violence against women. The Trust Fund was set up in 1996 and became operational in 1997, with UNIFEM as the Fund’s administrator. In doing so, UNIFEM works closely with the relevant organizations and bodies of the United Nations system as part of systemwide efforts to eliminate violence against women.
The present report, to the fifty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women and the fourth session of the Human Rights Council, documents the activities undertaken by UNIFEM in 2006 to eliminate violence against women and
to manage the United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women.
Over the past 20 years there have been significant advances in awareness and understanding of violence against women, and in its recognition as a serious violation of women’s human rights. The issue has been moving from the margins to
the centre of development cooperation, as is reflected in the priority attention that ending violence against women has been given in international human rights standards and at world conferences. The commitment to ending violence against women has been growing within the United Nations system; and, for an increasing number of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, work to eliminate violence against women has become an important focus for programming support.
This enhanced attention, while critically important, has yet to translate into measurable decreases in the levels of violence to which women around the world are subjected. A number of important studies over the past few years, including, most
recently, the 2006 Secretary-General’s in-depth study on all forms of violence against women,2 as well as reports of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, the UNIFEM report Not a Minute More3 and the report of the Millennium Project Task Force on Education and Gender Equality entitled “Taking action: achieving gender equality and empowering women”,4 have identified concrete
measures that must now be taken to move the agenda forward. As noted in the 2006 in-depth study of the Secretary-General,2 one of the most important conclusions has been that the success in integrating women’s right to be free from violence into international, regional and national normative frameworks must be followed up with the effective implementation of these frameworks. In addition, the previously mentioned reports point out the chronic underfunding of work to end this violence and, more specifically, the failure to adequately support and collaborate with the women’s organizations, whose expertise and commitment are essential to progress at the country level, as areas of great concern. Other areas identified for urgent action include the enhancement of coordinated efforts within the United Nations system, the development of greater capacity in data collection and impact evaluation
of interventions, and the commitment of dedicated attention and resources to the cross-cutting dimensions of violence against women, in relation to issues such as HIV/AIDS, and peace and security.
Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 4-15 September 1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.13), chap. I, resolution 1, annexes I and II.
Not a Minute More. Ending Violence against Women, UNIFEM (2003) (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.05.III.F.2).
United Nations Millennium Project, Task Force on Education and Gender Equality (Earthscan, London and Sterling, Virginia, 2005).