European Union logo
Image Alt-Text

Monday, 15 Mar


CSW65 High Level Side Event of the Group of Friends for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls

Organised by EU Delegation to the US


COVID-19 and violence against women and girls: what has the international community done to address the shadow pandemic?

Draft Concept Note

15 March, 11:30-13:00 EST


Since the outbreak of COVID-19, reports from those on the frontlines have shown that all forms of gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence, have intensified. At the same time, resources and efforts have been diverted from gender-based violence response to immediate COVID-19 relief. As a result, access to many critical and often life-saving services has become increasingly challenging. The UN Secretary-General made a global appeal on 5 April to end violence, including in homes, during COVID-19.

146 UN Member States and Observers answered the UN Secretary-General’s appeal by committing to make the prevention and redress of violence against women and girls a key part of COVID-19 responses.

The Group of Friends was established in December 2020 to promote the implementation of the UN Secretary-General’s call. It aims to create a platform to share lessons learned on efforts to eliminate all forms of gender-based violence, to improve cooperation on this issue as well as to support advocacy initiatives and the mobilisation of additional resources.


Marking nearly a year since the UN Secretary-General’s appeal on Gender-Based Violence and COVID-19, the High-Level side-event of the Group of Friends at the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women will provide an opportunity to:

  • take stock of ongoing efforts to integrate the prevention and redress of violence against women and girls in COVID-19 responses at the national and local level;
  • highlight areas to further enhance cooperation and build partnerships to eliminate violence against women and girls;
  • mobilise action and resources to support initiatives to end gender-based violence, such as the Spotlight initiative.


Opening (5 min)

  • H.E. Mr António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations (confirmed)

Key-note addresses (15 min)

  • H.E. Ms Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships (confirmed)
  • H.E. Ms Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy-Secretary General (confirmed)

Panel: a discussion between political leaders and civil society (40 minutes)

  • H.E. Ms Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia (confirmed)
  • H.E. Mr George Weah, President of Liberia (tbc)
  • Ms Josina Machel, Women Human Rights Defender, Founder of the Kuhluka Movement, Mozambique (confirmed)
  • Ms Geetanjali Misra, Co-Founder and Executive Director of CREA, member of the Global Reference Group of Spotlight, India (confirmed)

Q&A with participants (15 minutes)

Closing (5 minutes)

  • Ms Ixchel Lucas, Representative of Las Niñas Lideran, on behalf of the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence (confirmed)

Moderator: H.E. Mr Olof Skoog, EU Ambassador to the UN, Chair of the Group of Friends