UNITED NATIONS -- The Third Committee of the General Assembly this week adopted a resolution calling for intensified global efforts to eliminate female genital mutilation and cutting.
The resolution calls on the international community to support a four-year extension for the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, 'Accelerating Change'. It also gives the General Assembly’s endorsement to an International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, which is observed on 6 February.
"This is a victory for women and girls around the world," said Kate Gilmore, Deputy Executive Director (Programme) of UNFPA . "Because this vital resolution was adopted by consensus, we can all talk about there being broad and diverse support across the global community for bringing an end to this human rights violation.
"This affirmation is a critical tool for us as we continue to raise awareness about, and step up our resource mobilization efforts in support of, this work," she added. "We should all commend the ground breaking leadership of the Group of African states who worked so well with UNFPA and UNICEF as the resolution was developed."
The Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting aims to see communities everywhere abandon the practice in a generation. Key to their success is using a human rights-based approach to encourage communities to act collectively to abandon the practice, so that girls or their families who opt out do not jeopardize marriage prospects or become social outcasts. This approach has led some 8,000 communities across Africa to abandon the practice, often through some form of public declaration.
Still, much work remains to be done. Some 3 million girls worldwide face FGM/C each year, and 140 million have already undergone the practice. The Joint Programme works on many levels - from advocacy to influencing legislation - to accelerate change. It also protects women and girls who suffer from having been cut.