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Ministers reaffirm EU commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment in development action

[Brussels, 21 May 2014] On 19 May 2014, EU Foreign Affairs Ministers gathered in Brussels for a Council meeting on Development. They delivered their Council Conclusions on the 2013 Report on the Implementation of the EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development 2010-2015, where they said that gender equality should be at the heart of the EU’s rights-based approach to development cooperation.

EU Ministers welcomed the latest report on the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development 2010-2015 (GAP), covering the period from July 2012 to June 2013. While they welcomed the progress made in implementing the Action Plan, they also expressed concern at the slow pace of its implementation.

The European Women’s Lobby strongly welcomes this political statement of the EU 28 Ministers, which develops the necessary twofold approach when it comes to the achievement of gender equality: a commitment at the heart of the EU-s rights-based approach to development cooperation, coupled with gender mainstreaming complemented by "specific actions targeted at protecting the rights of women and girls, preventing violence against them and promoting their political, economic and social empowerment, including through addressing discriminatory social norms and combating gender stereotypes".

The conclusions affirmed that the EU remains committed to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the outcomes of their review conferences and in this context sexual and reproductive health and rights. Moreover, the Council stressed the need for continued support for the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) and all related Resolutions on women, peace and security.

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