Delivering and Sustaining the New Normal: 2021 Annual Report and Overall Phase III Performance Analysis

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were already off track, including SDG 5, on gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment, and target 5.3, the elimination of FGM by 2030. As evidence of the detrimental impact of COVID-19 on FGM prevalence continues to emerge, the global community is likely to face setbacks in eliminating the practice, as predicted by a UNFPA study in 2020.1 While COVID-19 has upended global systems and structures, threatening to reverse progress on hardwon gains in gender equality and the elimination of FGM, recovery from the pandemic also presents an opportunity and an imperative for transformative change. This includes prioritizing FGM within the global development agenda and in humanitarian action. Although FGM is largely neglected in emergencies, girls’ increased vulnerability to FGM during the pandemic was globally recognized.2

The UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM: Accelerating Change has introduced innovations and adaptations to ensure the continuity of prevention and response programmes. These include effective and sustainable risk communication and community engagement strategies for FGM prevention; community-led surveillance and the use of digital platforms for monitoring and protecting girls at risk of FGM; and digital spaces for adolescents and youth to engage in anti-FGM advocacy campaigns and calls for social accountability so that governments meet their commitments to FGM prevention and elimination.

Source: United Nations Population Fund

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