Launch of the first ever Private Sector Gender-Based Violence Response Fund 1 - a mechanisms set up to finance the implementation of the ambitious National Strategic Plan on GBV-F

Grateful to H.E President Cyril Ramaphosa for his exemplary leadership in the fight against the scourge of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide in South Africa.

Thank you Programme Director. Good afternoon to Your Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa

  • Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
  • Members of the Diplomatic Corp
  • The IWFSA and Representatives of the Private Sector
  • Our Esteemed International guests
  • Allow me to stand on the shoulders of the preceding speakers and say All Protocols Observed

Thank you Mr. President for your exemplary leadership in the fight against the scourge of Gender-based violence and Femicide in South Africa. At the 2018 GBV Summit, dozens of women stood up and through their painful and haunting testimonies exclaimed emphatically ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Since then, under your leadership, your country has established a comprehensive, holistic, AND ambitious National Strategic Plan. And implementation of this plan has begun in earnest. However, we STILL FACE ENORMOUS IMPLEMENTATION CHALLENGES, in particular, consistency in prevention and response services mired in negative gender social norms AND the lack of reliable and comprehensive data. Although on the latter, I am happy that South Africa is embarking on its first-ever dedicated GBV National Prevalence Survey, and I am proud of the United Nations participation in this endeavour. However, I admit that the most critical and urgent challenge is the subject of today’s event, which is financing the NSP.

As we all know, the UN Secretary-General has made Gender-Based Violence one of his priority areas for global intervention. To this end, the Trust Fund to End Violence against Women was established by the UN General Assembly resolution 50/166. We also await the confirmation of the Secretary-General’s Covid-19 Fund.  

In addition, a Global Fund, worth mentioning, is the 500 million EURO Spotlight Initiative that the European Union and the United Nations have established, targeting large-scale investments. We are hopeful that some of these resources will be allocated to South Africa.

The Generation Equality platform, which you, Your Excellency champions, is our greatest opportunity to mobilise multi-stakeholders and fast track actions to end GBV-F and ensure Economic justice for all women and girls. We join you in pleading for the support of all partners and donors, especially Philanthropic Trusts, Foundations and the Business community operating in South Africa and abroad. It is in all our interests to be actively engaged in creating the future society we want, free of fear and violence.

Through the UN, the private sector already has strong partnerships to build from:

  • 85 companies in South Africa are signatories of the Women Empowerment Principles of the UN Global Compact,
  • The DeBeers Group have invested $6 million towards women businesses in the informal Sector, while the Standard Bank group has invested $3 million to women farmers in our region

AND, Your Excellency,

  • The UN, together with the Department of Women, The Presidency and business are currently exploring the idea of a establishing a Gender Bond to finance Women Empowerment Programmes.

Your Excellency, Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, as the representative of the UN Secretary-General in South Africa, I commit the support of the entire United Nations system toward the implementation of the National Strategic Plan. We understand that this is not the business of a single agency, but the business of the entire UN system - simply because we understand the multi-sectoral nature of the problem.

As quoted in the earlier video, the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing. The inaction and silence on violence against women and children and the impunity with which this happens should be broken forever. Break the silence with your support, with your investment, and with your voice! I leave you with a personal mantra Inaction and Silence begets violence. And we should all say NOT IN MY NAME!  


Speech by
Nardos Bekele-Thomas
Resident Coordinator
Nardos Bekele-Thomas
UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Labor Organization
International Organization for Migration
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
World Food Programme
World Health Organization