In Colombia, UN Women Executive Director galvanizes action for women’s leadership and gender equality – Colombia

UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous led a three-day mission to Colombia, where she met with government officials, civil society groups and partners. The purpose of the mission was to build on the momentum and galvanize action for women’s leadership and gender equality across Colombia.

The mission came as a new government took office, led by President Gustavo Petro and Vice President Francia Márquez, the country’s first female vice president of African descent. The new government has pledged to prioritize gender equality and achieve gender parity in cabinet appointments. To date, for the 18 government ministries, nine women have been appointed ministers. In his inaugural address on August 7, President Petro reaffirmed that gender parity was a high priority for the new government.

Meetings held during the mission highlighted Colombia’s progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment, while emphasizing that significant progress must be made to achieve SDG 5 and unlock the full potential of women. women and girls to advance the SDGs, including in relation to peace and peace. security as the country continues to implement its peace agreement.

In a meeting with Vice President Francia Márquez, the latter highlighted to Ms. Bahous the importance of intersectional approaches, including a focus on strengthening support for indigenous and Afro-descendant communities in Colombia. For her part, Ms. Bahous commended the Vice-President for her historic achievement as the first woman of African descent in the country to hold the position, and pledged UN Women’s strong support for the gender equality agenda of the country. government.

Discussions with First Lady Verónica Alcocer focused on the importance of addressing gender-based violence. Ms. Bahous confirmed UN Women’s willingness to redouble its efforts in this regard.

Solutions to address the challenges faced by women in rural areas of Colombia were the subject of a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cecilia López. A meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Laura Gils focused on broadening efforts to support progress at the intersection of women’s empowerment and peace.

While in Colombia, the Executive Director also met with Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the country and head of the United Nations Verification Mission, as well as representatives of women’s coalitions who play a key role in the implementation of the Colombian Peace Accord. In her remarks to the group, Ms. Bahous called the Colombian experience “a model for the world” in terms of the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 and the Women, Peace and Security agenda in general.

Ms. Bahous also met with the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mireia Villar. The two UN officials agreed that strong coordination among UN agencies is key to ensuring effective support not only for the advancement of women and girls, but also for the entire development agenda.

Key international partners of UN Women also featured prominently on the agenda. Ms. Bahous participated in a meeting organized by the Swedish Embassy in Colombia, with partners such as the European Union and Norway. Sweden, the EU and Norway are among the main financial and political partners of UN Women, globally and in Colombia.

In order to review the implementation of UN Women’s mandate in the country, Ms. Bahous also visited a “care block” in Bogotá. Care Blocks is an innovative initiative led by the Office of the Mayor of Bogota, with support from Sweden and UN Women. In these centres, women are supported to be able to respond more effectively to care needs and receive psychosocial support and health and education services. Launched in Bogotá, the model is being replicated across the country and in several locations in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

Speaking at the end of the mission, Ms. Bahous commended Colombia for its progress in women’s empowerment, gender equality, peace and security. She also confirmed the commitment and strong support of UN Women as the country continues to move forward.

Upon his arrival in New York, the Twitter, Ms. Bahous urged the international community to continue its support and engagement with Colombia, stressing that the quest for equality, like the SDGs, has a truly global reach and implementation. Follow-up actions are planned to ensure that the results of the mission continue to accelerate progress towards the empowerment of women throughout Colombia.

Mara R. Wilmoth