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Beijing, China

Dear friends and colleagues,

Good morning!  I’d like to start by acknowledging the presence of Ms. Guo Ye, the Deputy Director General of the Office of National Working Committee on Children and Women (NWCCW). Thank you so much madam DDG taking the time to be with us today. I really want to send a very warm welcome to our friends, partners and colleagues.

On behalf of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UN Women in China, it is my pleasure to deliver opening remarks and warmly welcome all of you to the Workshop on Essential Services for Women and Girls subject to Violence.  

It is a great honor for our two agencies to host this Workshop which provides a platform for various stakeholders to share information, and reflect on experiences, lessons learned and challenges in addressing gender-based violence in China. The workshop also provides an opportunity to discuss innovative approaches to strengthen GBV prevention and response efforts, especially in the context of COVID-19.  

Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent violations of human rights in the world. It has no social, economic or national boundaries and it happens to women and girls of all backgrounds.  

Globally, one in three women and girls will experience physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime – and   nearly one in five women experience intimate partner violence.  In China, according to the third survey on the Social Status of Women conducted in 2011, 24.7% or one in four married women experienced various forms of domestic violence by their spouses, including verbal and physical violence, restriction of their personal freedom, economic control and rape within marriage. 

The elimination of violence against women and girls is of high priority for the United Nations.  The global commitment to “eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation” is reflected under SDG 5 as a target to be achieved by 2030.   The elimination of violence against women and girls is also integral to all dimensions of other development goals whose central pledge is to leave no one behind.

The United Nations Joint Global Programme on Essential Services for Women and Girls Subject to Violence was initiated in 2013 by UN Women and UNFPA, and has now expanded to a full partnership involving WHO, UNDP and UNODC. As the central framework of the Joint Programme, the Essential Services Package for Women and Girls Subject to Violence identifies the most critical services to be provided by the health, social services, police and justice sectors, as well as the coordination of these services. Today, UNFPA and UN Women are pleased to jointly present the Chinese version of the Essential Services Package for Women and Girls Subject to Violence with our partners.

The purpose of the Essential Services Package is to support countries as they work to design, implement and review services for all women and girls. It is a practical tool that sets out a clear roadmap on how to ensure coordination across sectors to provide comprehensive quality services. We will be hearing from Ms. Jiang Xiuhua, Deputy Director General of China Women Study Institute today. She will give a brief introduction to each of the seven modules in the package. 

We appreciate that China considers the elimination of domestic violence as a top priority of its gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) agenda. China’s first National Law against Domestic Violence came into effect on March 1, 2016, marking a significant step forward in preventing and protecting survivors of domestic violence.  In September, 2021, China launched the new National Program for Women’s Development (2021-2030) which includes curbing domestic violence as a key priority, lists multi-sectoral coordination mechanisms as key measures, and emphasizes guidelines for multi-sectoral services for victims and survivors of domestic violence.   For effective enforcement of the Law, it is crucial to ensure that multi-sectoral mechanisms and relevant sectoral guidelines are in place at different levels. 

It’s important to realize that the implementation of ESP is various from one place to another.  So, today’s workshop is not only an opportunity to introduce the Essential Services Package to you, but also to collect your reflections and inputs on how the Package can be best adapted and implemented in China. 

As I mentioned earlier, I’m especially grateful that Madam Guo Ye, the DDG of the Office of National Working Committee on Children and Women (NWCCW) is able to join us today.  She will interpret for us the domestic violence and gender-based violence related components in the new National Program for Women’s Development which will guide our discussions on ensuring the Package is aligned to the Chinese context and contributes to China’s efforts in the elimination of violence against women and girls.

On behalf of UNFPA and UN Women in China, I want to stress our commitment to China to continuing providinge support to the government of China and other key partners and stakeholders to ensure the rights of women to enjoy a life free from violence and discrimination. 

We look forward to continued close partnership to work together to build a future free of gender-based violence for all women and girls!

I wish you a very successful workshop.  

Xiexie (Thank  you)!