Seminar of the regional programme of the Spotlight Initiative for Central Asia and Afghanistan

May 24, 2022
Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan

A review seminar on the implementation of the concept of an inter-agency response to violence against women in the countries of the Central Asian region is being held in Almaty. Representatives of law enforcement agencies, health and social services sectors, government and non-governmental specialized organizations working with violence survivors, national gender-based violence experts, and specialized UN agencies from Central Asia have gathered in Almaty for the seminar.

The Spotlight Initiative is a global United Nations initiative supported by the European Union. For the purposes of the initiative, the EU allocated 4 million euros.

“Our project partners, UN agencies, have already done extensive work on the revision of legal frameworks and law enforcement practices, which will be the basis for change. When you see the European Union and the United Nations joining forces, it is always for an important purpose. We believe that together with the countries of Central Asia and Afghanistan, our fight against gender-based violence will only become stronger and more successful”
EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan Kestutis Jankauskas

Ronnie Lindstrom, UNFPA Representative in Kazakhstan and UNFPA Country Director for Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, provided a successful example of a multi-agency response to gender-based violence.

Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan
“The inter-agency response to gender-based violence is based on coordinated work and partnership between social welfare, law enforcement and health. UNFPA has been supporting countries in the region to strengthen multisectoral response to gender-based violence for years. I would like to mention one good experience I have just witnessed in Kazakhstan. We have been piloting a multisectoral response to gender-based violence in the Turkestan region by establishing the Services of Psychosocial Support to survivors of gender-based violence. And I hope that such experiences and success stories can be replicated both at the national and regional levels”
Ronnie Lindstrom

The seminar sums up the results of large-scale studies conducted in the countries of Central Asia by the Eastern European Institute of Reproductive Health and commissioned by UNFPA and UNDP. The studies collected the data on the status of implementation of standard operating procedures for law enforcement, health care and social support organizations in the provision of services to survivors of violence. Expert interviews carried out during the studies, allowed for the evaluation of the level of multisectoral coordination of these key sectors. In addition, a review of existing sources of data on gender-based violence in the countries of Central Asia was prepared.

“The Spotlight Initiative offers a holistic approach to addressing violence. Therefore, in addition to analysing laws, working to dismantle gender stereotypes in society, and supporting local women's movements, we place great emphasis on strengthening institutions that ensure the rule of law and the safety of citizens. In our work, we believe that the response to violence is to provide services and support to victims of violence to alleviate the painful consequences and prevent further trauma”
Yakup Beris, UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan

It is expected that the models, tools and transformational approaches proposed as a result of the study will help the Central Asian states in fulfilling their international obligations to eliminate violence and harmful practices against women and girls and in bringing existing practices closer to international norms embodied in the relevant fundamental international and regional documents, including the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).