The European Union has said it would work towards removing barriers against, and strengthening, the leadership and participation of women and girls and empowering them as agents of change. This, it said, would entail improved sustainable policy and programming, including through education and employment.
In a statement to mark this year’s International Women’s Day, the EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS also pledged to further strengthen and support the protection and role of civil society and human rights defenders, in particular environmental women rights defenders.
In November 2020, the EU adopted the third Gender Action Plan which frames its engagement towards a gender-equal world until 2025 and concrete steps towards realising them. One year after its adoption, the GAP III is now being implemented in around 120 countries, including Nigeria. These country-level implementation plans help cement greater EU cooperation and joint initiatives around political and operational priorities.
“The EU stands more than ever as a global frontrunner in promoting gender equality as a key political objective of its external action and common foreign and security policy with the view to accelerating progress towards the 2030 Agenda,” said Ambassador Samuela Isopi, Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and the ECOWAS.
“The EU pursues a three-pronged approach, combining gender mainstreaming, targeted actions, and political dialogue.”
The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action commits the member states and the United Nations system to actively involve women and girls in environmental decision-making, integrate gender concerns and perspectives in policies and programmes for sustainable development. It also commits to the establishment or strengthening of mechanisms at the National, regional, and international levels to assess the impact of development and environment policies on women and girls.
Ambassador Isopi noted that the pursuit of gender equality and environmental goals are mutually reinforcing.
“Slow progress on actions for climate change, energy transition, and environment, as well as disaster risk reduction, affect the achievement of gender equality, and vice versa,” she added.
The EU also stated its commitment to accelerating the implementation of international commitments related to gender equality and the environment, in particular promoting a human rights-based and gender-responsive approach to policy and programming in all sectors and areas.