What is Spotlight?

The European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) are embarking on a new, global, multi-year initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG) - the Spotlight Initiative.

The Initiative is so named as it brings focused attention to this issue, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The name reminds us that violence often takes place in the dark, is denied or rendered invisible and that it cannot survive in the light. It also highlights the importance of targeted investments in women and girls to achieve sustainable development, making this renewed and unwavering commitment of the EU and the UN visible.

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today

It is a major obstacle to the fulfilment of women’s and girls’ human rights and to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It occurs worldwide, cutting across all generations, nationalities, communities and spheres of our societies, irrespective of age, ethnicity, disability or other background.

The Spotlight Initiative will deploy targeted, large-scale investments in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Pacific and the Caribbean, aimed at achieving significant improvements in the lives of women and girls.

The Initiative is intended to provide renewed investment in and commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a pre-condition and driver for the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also intends to spearhead a new joined- up approach and partnership between the UN and the EU to deliver on the SDGs in an integrated manner, in line with respective mandates. The Initiative will respond to all forms of VAWG, with a particular focus on domestic and family violence, sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, femicide, trafficking in human beings and sexual and economic (labour) exploitation. In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Initiative will fully integrate the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’.

Gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and crucial to its achievement

An initial investment in the order of EUR 500 million will be made, with the EU as the main contributor. Other donors and partners will be invited to join the Initiative to broaden its reach and scope. The modality for the delivery will be a UN multi- stakeholder trust fund, administered by the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, with the support of core agencies UNDP, UNFPA and UN Women, and overseen by the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General.


Join us in partnership so that this bold and transformative Initiative is matched by equally ambitious political action, resources and knowledge. We invite everyone to support the Spotlight Initiative’s goal of making a real and lasting difference in the lives of all women and girls around the world.

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