The world’s largest annual gathering of partners on ending female genital mutilation (FGM) kicks off in Banjul today. The Annual Technical Consultation brings together over hundred participants from more than a dozen countries for a weeklong dialogue and consultations on ending FGM. This is the first conference hosted in The Gambia and the first time it is being convened since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Annual Technical Consultation is hosted by the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation, the largest global programme on eliminating FGM since 2008. The meeting brings together stakeholders from 17 countries across the Middle East, Africa and beyond to discuss strategies, share experiences and reaffirm the global promise to end FGM by 2030. It will also discuss a roadmap for ending FGM in the next eight years, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5, target 5.3.
“More than 200 million girls and women have experienced female genital mutilation, and at least 4 million girls are at risk of undergoing the practice each year,” said Ndeye Rose Sarr, UNFPA The Gambia Country Representative. “There is a great need to accelerate our efforts to end FGM and deliver the global promise by 2030 and to recommit to our promise to the young girl in hard-to-reach communities and ensure that no woman or girl is subjected to FGM.”
The Banjul meeting is being convened amidst an unprecedented global crisis driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, military conflicts, economic turmoil, and climate change that has upended lives of girls and women everywhere. It also comes at a time when women and girls are asking world leaders to take urgent and concrete action to protect girls’ and women’s rights, including their right to health and dignity.
“The Annual Technical Consultation is an important opportunity to position the rights of girls and women at the heart of global conversations on the protection of fundamental human rights,” said Gordon Jonathan Lewis, UNICEF The Gambia Representative. “Girls and women everywhere have so much hope and confidence in our shared promise: to work together and do more to protect every girl and woman from FGM and build a world where the rights and dignity of girls are protected.”
The Annual Technical Consultation is expected to draw conclusions and recommendations based on the implementation of the Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM and come up with innovative strategies to deliver the global promise to end FGM by 2030. The meeting will also enable countries to network and share experiences and innovations and strengthen partnerships and inspire more people to stand up against harmful practices.