Spotlight Initiative named a UN High-Impact Initiative ahead of Sustainable Development Goal Summit

A woman with sleeping child on her back harvests crops
Photo: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
August 2, 2023

NEW YORK, United States -  Spotlight Initiative has been selected as one of 12 High-Impact Initiatives of the UN for the upcoming Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Summit in September 2023.

“This Initiative is a crucial contribution to achieving the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.” - UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Spotlight Initiative was chosen from more than 120 applications as the only cross-cutting High-Impact Initiative. This is a testament to our strong results, which show how a significant, concerted and comprehensive investment in ending violence against women and girls can make transformative progress towards achieving the SDGs.

“This Initiative is a crucial contribution to achieving the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

The SDG Summit is an opportunity to secure global momentum towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. It aims to mobilize support, leadership and investment to bring the progress achieved by High-Impact Initiatives to scale at country level. 

High-Impact Initiatives will be featured at sessions taking place during the SDG Summit period with highlights featured in the SDG Summit itself (convened week of 18th September). 

“We know what works, now we need the investment to bring the solution to scale." - Spotlight Initiative Global Coordinator Nahla Valji.

“Spotlight Initiative has proven not only that violence against women and girls can be eliminated, but that we already have the tools we need to do it," said Spotlight Initiative Global Coordinator Nahla Valji. "We know what works, now we need the investment to bring the solution to scale. The SDG Summit presents a historic opportunity for exactly this. To move us on the path to eliminate all violence against women and girls by 2030 and ensure that every woman and girl around the world is free to reach their full potential.”


Spotlight Initiative is making progress across the SDGs, including in development, peace and security, and in humanitarian settings, unlocking the potential of half the population. It furthers the rights, dignity, security, stability and resilience of communities in five regions around the world. 

Our comprehensive approach supports progress across education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, women’s economic empowerment and the rights of those traditionally left behind. This whole-of-society approach uses multiple, mutually reinforcing entry points to tackle the root causes of violence at every level – from the grassroots to the highest levels of government.

Spotlight Initiative is aligned with the UN reforms, leveraging the expertise and capacities of the whole UN system to address violence more effectively. It has significant impacts on civic space, furthers localization of the SDGs and strengthens institutions and communities. 


Since 2019, with Spotlight Initiative's support...

  • The overall conviction rate for gender-based violence doubled across 12 countries.
  • 477 laws or policies were signed or strengthened to end violence against women and girls.
  • USD 190 million was allocated to civil society organizations (48% of activity funds).
  • National budgets to address gender-based violence increased 10-fold across 14 countries.
  • Close to 2.5 million women and girls accessed gender-based violence services. 
  • Close to 3.5 million young people participated in in-and out-of-school programmes promoting gender-equitable attitudes and behaviours.

Independent modelling shows that...

  • Spotlight Initiative is on course to prevent violence for more than 21 million women and girls by 2025 with its initial seed-funding of €500 million from the EU. 
  • Our work on prevention saves the lives of at least 1,800 women across 26 countries every year – 2 women every day. 
  • By 2030, our work is expected to help more than 1 million girls stay in schools and enroll a projected additional 4 million girls in the next generation. 
  • Spotlight Initiative could shift attitudes in favour of equity and equality for 90 million children.

With concerted, long-term investment, even more is possible.

Please joins us for the SDG Action Weekend

Spotlight Initiative's high-level event will feature statements and conversations with Heads of State, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, leaders from the European Union and United Nations, actress and UN Global Advocate Cecilia Suárez, actress, filmmaker and philanthropist Natalie Portman, actress and UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador Ashley Judd, as well as leaders from civil society, the private sector and other partners. With musical performances by MILCK and Natasha Bedingfield and hosted by Futurist Sinéad Bovell.

DATE: Sunday, 17 September 2023
TIME: 15:00 - 16:30
VENUE: Trusteeship Council Chamber, UN Headquarters Building, New York 
REGISTRATION: Please register using the following link.

For media enquiries, contact:
Koye Adeboye, Head of Communications


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