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Ending Gender-Based Violence: A 10-year Retrospective

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One in three women worldwide experiences physical or sexual violence, according to the World Health Organization. 

Learn how the World Bank collaborates with nations to address the issue and identify innovative avenues to tackle gender-based violence (GBV). Join us as we explore projects supported by the World Bank to end GBV, and find out what spurred the institution to shift its approach about a decade ago. From 2012 to 2022, we'll retrace the institution's evolving perspectives and strategies in addressing this deeply rooted manifestation of gender inequality.

Bringing together activists, practitioners, and researchers specialized in gender-based violence, this event serves as a platform to discuss actionable steps for governments, UN, and civil society organizations. Let's work together to reduce violence impacting women and girls worldwide, fostering a safer and more equal world for everyone.

Watch this event with simultaneous interpretation in ARABIC, FRENCHSPANISH.

[Louise Cord]
Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, colleagues and guests. Welcome to our event on ending gender-based violence, a 10-year retrospective, as we launch this important report. On this occasion, we are celebrating many of the great initiatives and the evidence that has been built over the past generations and, in particularly, the last decade to prevent and to respond to gender-based violence. My name is Louise Cord. I am the Global Director for Social Sustainability and Social Inclusion, here at the World Bank in the Sustainable Development Vice Presidency. I am very pleased to be able to moderate today's session, which is joined by a whole host of distinguished speakers. So, we're going to have to go on time and quickly because we have many guests with us today from the Bank, but also from different regions of the world, working in different sectors. Over the last decade, the Bank has increased significantly its engagement on gender-based violence. In fact, the number of projects with GBV components has increased tenfold, from 39 in 2013, to over 390 last year, and even more under preparation this year. The Bank is more committed than ever to this agenda, and in the new gender strategy that is under preparation, GBV features prominently and, in fact, the goal of eliminating GBV is a central part of this strategy, which is now under consultation. In today's session, where we're looking back at our experience to date and lessons learned, and hearing from distinguished speakers about what we can do more and what we've done well, but what we can do going forward to scale up even more our work on this agenda and join forces as partners to eliminate gender-based violence. So let me kick it off, showing the support of the institution and the high-level commitment that we have to this critical issue, by introducing Axel van Trotsenburg, who is the Managing Director for knowledge, strategy and partnerships. here at the World Bank. Axel, let me hand it over to you, to kick off, really, this event and thank you so much for joining. I know your schedule's incredibly busy and we're honored to have you. 

[Axel Van Trotsenburg]
Well, thank you, Louise, distinguished speakers, colleagues. It's wonderful to join you in this meeting. It's an extremely important meeting and as Louise has just already said is, we are here on a journey that, unfortunately, has no final date because this is a scourge. This is affecting the whole world. Gender-based violence it is an incredible problem, whether in industrialized country or in developing countries. And, unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has again shown that when crisis hits, gender-based violence goes up. And this is totally unacceptable. It is a violation of human rights and; therefore, it is upon all of us to actually build a coalition to fight this. To fight this and to work towards a more tolerant world, a more tolerant way of respecting each other. Therefore, I think, I'm actually quite pleased, that, basically, we have now integrated this into our operations. Over the last 10 years, we have integrated this in about 440 projects. But it is not really only about projects. We need to have here an all-out approach that consists not only... and I would start with advocacy. Advocacy, analytical work, and then our financial or technical support. And then, most important, the partnership that we have to generate across the globe on this. I think, particularly, on advocacy, I believe we have to be very outspoken, very clear, that this is totally unacceptable. It really denies people a future and a life of dignity. And; therefore, I think, as an institution, we have to see how we can work together, not only the official sector, meaning working with governments and with other multilateral organizations, but it is with the private sector, it is with NGOs. It is ultimately getting the message out, that this is not only not okay, but that it is really harming the development and dignified development. And I think, what I would like to say here in this media, the Bank is fully committed on this. We have expanded our activities and they are also reflected, for example, in our IDA commitments. IDA is our fund for the poorest countries, but we see this, really, as an engagement, as an engagement that will continue as long as it lasts. Unfortunately, our challenges, our joint challenges, are not minor. Why? Because gender-based violence increased so much during the COVID-19 years, we have to have it back. We have to fight this, and we have to really call this out. And I think that is what is upon us. I'm very proud of all my colleagues who are in this. We are in this together. But I think what this meeting is trying to do is looking at the retrospective, not to say what kind of great job the Bank has done. What we are liking to do is to see how we are trying to integrate this into our operations, how we DNA that into our operations, our dialogue. I can tell you, that once I was Vice President of a region in one particular country, this was the very first topic I raised with the Prime Minister. I think we have to say, we need to be clear, this is an issue about values, about the way the World Bank defines development, and this is an integral part of it. So, I'm very happy that we have made progress. What I'm less happy about is that it is still rampant. It is the silent pandemic. We talked a lot about COVID-19, but it is a silent pandemic and we have to actually draw that attention, and I think you can count on the World Bank that we will do this, wherever you are sitting, whether that is on the top or on the task management level, we will do that together. In that sense, my request to you is, let's debate how we can strengthen that coalition, how we work together. It is not about the World Bank. It is only about the cost. And the cost has to be that we focus on this, we have to fight that with determination and we have to fight that in words and deeds. Therefore, I think the advocacy is so important. I like that we have this retrospective discussion, because it is yet another occasion where we all can get together, discuss what we can do better, and really define how we could be even more effective. And the only way to be effective is that we strengthen that global coalition against this silent pandemic. And that is what I hope we will be working on. You can count... You are seeing a huge partner in this fight, and we would like to strengthen our collaboration with you, your advice, we can share our experiences, but the ultimate goal is to see how we can protect women and girls against this terrible, I would say, disease. That is upon us. Let's discuss this, but, ultimately, we need to keep on that fight. So, I'm very pleased to have you all here. I hope we'll have a great discussion and let me turn it back to Louise. 

[Louise Cord]
Thank you so much, Axel, and for showing the support and the link to development that this issue has, its broader development impacts, and for framing the session so well, about how we scale up, how we learn, and how we build better partnerships. Really grateful to have you.
Let me now kick off this event. Before we get to presenting the retrospective and some of the key lessons, we're going to hear from Dilfuza Kurolova, who is a human rights lawyer, a civil liberties advocate, and the founder of Global Shapers in Tashkent Hub, in Uzbekistan. It's really exciting to have you with us, Dilfuza, over to you, to share your story and to further frame this topic and this agenda today. Thank you. 

[Dilfuza Kurolova]
Thank you so much. Good morning, dear colleagues and distinguished guests. It's an honor for me to be here with you and speak about tackling gender-based violence through World Bank projects around the globe. In a rapidly changing, globalized and digitalized world, social issues might be seen as something not important nor significant; however, without guaranteeing our rights, no one can enjoy these developments. Let me bring you to 2016, when a major political shift happened in Uzbekistan. No one even dreamed of having a new government, which would drastically change the future of the country. Decades long taboo topic on gender-based violence and protection of women from domestic violence appeared on the surface of conversation in the public and among politicians. If you can have a look to the slide, number one, you can see this is a powerful feminist movement of, which we say, "Don't be silent." It was born in 2017, and crucial laws on gender equality and protection of women from violence were adopted exactly after two years, in 2019. However, longstanding gender stereotypes never allowed women to get protection, nor guaranteed access to justice. Despite that Uzbekistan ratified CEDAW convention in 1995, women still faced violence from their family members, their intimate partners, and the COVID-19 pandemic actually worsened the situation. Even if protection orders were introduced in 2019, the police officers were not trained to work with gender-based violence cases. Women still could not file the case to the court, seek legal assistance, or be protected from perpetrators. This is what happened to thousands of women, over several years, that I witnessed while providing free legal consultations since 2019. Being a human rights lawyer in Uzbekistan, I dared to openly speak about these issues in 2020, it was exactly during COVID-19 time, for what I became a victim of online hate speech and target of threats. No man, nor women, except a few of course, could support me because they were afraid of reverse hate towards them. I can understand them because nobody would like to be a target for hate speech. So, I was encouraged to bring this case to the public and filed the complaint to the government. Thousands of women and men were inspired to take action in fighting against gender stereotypes and tackle GBV. This is how actually my journey of activism to combating gender-based violence started, because I never thought even that I would be in the track of tackling GBV in my country and in my region, Central Asia. Statistics of 2023 show that only 5% of criminal cases in Uzbekistan are on gender-based violence related crimes, such as beating, insult, body harm, or any other criminal acts. Not all cases get final verdicts. In Iran, only 90% of all the cases never reach the court hearings because of harmful practice, social pressure, and shame, which in legal terms translate as a closure of the criminal case due to reconciliation. Raising these issues publicly, me and other five of my colleagues from different institutions and fem community were invited by the CIS aide of Uzbekistan in 2022, to drive the law on criminalizing domestic violence. If you can see the second slide, you will see the faces of these brave six women who actually fought for the criminalization of domestic violence in Uzbekistan over the years.
It was a long fight convincing politicians, decision makers, law enforcement, and judiciary technology in this issue, because we're living in Uzbekistan, in a very traditional country with a traditional mindset, and that's why it was very hard to convince them to say that GBV is a problem and is an issue. Finally, in 2023, Uzbekistan became the fifth country among CIS states which criminalized domestic violence and other sexualized crimes against women and girls. This is a very historical event, because activists never participated in decision-making. Activists, fem communities, or civil society never participated in drafting and writing the law, together with policymakers and politicians. In all these intensive and continuous fight, the World Bank was standing along and helping to push the issue from a different perspective, because it's one thing when the civil society tries to do in their own hands, and another thing when such a big institution is also supporting the civil society from another angle. Using its reputation and power, the Bank helped civil society and activists to convince the government to adopt this crucial law. Of course, there is much more we shall do together, but it's also vital to remind that multilateral financial institutions play a huge role in addressing social development and ensuring prosperity in its client countries. Having said that, I want to express my gratitude to all World Bank colleagues around the globe and in the country office in Uzbekistan for being sensitive and open to civil society, truly caring about human rights and social development, especially tackling gender-based violence elimination in all its projects around the globe. We all hear the change and together, I think, we can make the change even faster. Thank you very much for your attention.

[Louise Cord]
Thank you so much, Dilfuza. That was great. I mean, you really built on what Axel was talking about, which was the importance of advocacy, influencing norms, and, in turn, influencing laws. And the partnership that the Bank can have with civil society, which can be so very powerful, to influence these critical drivers. Let me now go to our ignite talk on this new publication, on the retrospective, and we're going to hear from the two lead authors of the report, Diana Arango and Patricia Fernandes. Over to you, to give us a quick overview of the key findings and lessons learned. Thank you. 

[Diana J. Arango]
Thank you so much, Louise. It's an honor to be with all of you today. Unfortunately, though, gender-based violence is happening everywhere. It happens on the streets. It happens at schools. It happens at work. And it happens in the place that should be safest for women and girls, in their home. Gender-based violence is the most extreme manifestation of gender inequality, and one in three girls will experience it in their lifetime. Unfortunately, I have, and I know that many of you watching today have as well. This violence costs lives. It harms individuals, families, and communities and countries. It holds back economies. We know, because of an IMF study, 
that a 1% increase in intimate partner violence can reduce productivity by 8% in sub-Saharan African countries. So, we are super proud today, with Patricia and a team of experts that worked alongside us, to present the 10-year retrospective, which we are sharing with you today, which looks back at how the World Bank has worked with government partners to address gender-based violence through prevention and response activities. The report really charts this journey over the last decade, that starts with the last stocktaking effort, which was completed in 2013. And that stocktaking effort showed that, at that moment, in 2013, there were only around 40 operations that were working to prevent or respond to gender-based violence. Now, as mentioned by Axel, many years later, a decade later, we have increased our operations by tenfold. Now we have 390 operations that work to prevent and/or address gender-based violence, all over the world, in low and middle-income countries that we work with. This shows our commitment to work alongside our partners through every sector that we can, to introduce activities or components that make sense and that allow every sector to play a role in preventing and responding to violence against women. Next slide, please. We can see that dramatic increase... Next slide, please. Next slide, please. I would now like to pass over to my colleague, Patricia Fernandes, who I was honored to lead this effort with. She has been on the forefront of addressing gender-based violence through operations, and she's going to share some of the specific examples that we highlighted in the report and some of our ambition in the way we want to move forward. Thank you. 

[Patricia Fernandes]
Thank you so much, Diana. And it's been a privilege for me to work with the team and to be able to see the evolution and the expansion of our work on gender-based violence. As Axel mentioned, the importance of this report is that it helps us look back at what the last 10 years looked like to inform what we think the next 10 years could and should look like. We have an amazing panel of experts that are going to help us go into that second question. Before we do that, we want to leave you with some main takeaways on what has changed and what we've learned through this retrospective.
So, the first thing is where we work to support gender-based violence prevention and response has evolved to now cover all kinds of country contexts. 10 years ago, our work was very much focused on life-saving services for survivors in fragile and conflict-affected countries. Although we continue that very important work, we now support programs in all different types of country contexts. And we also have moved beyond the support to health response services, to education systems strengthening, to intervene on gender-based violence in sectors as diverse as water resource management, food and agriculture, and, very importantly, public transport. Second important thing is we now have systems to address sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment, systematically, in the operations that we finance, which is something we didn't have 10 years ago. And we have invested massively in evidence and knowledge generation, so that we have a better sense now with partners of what are the more effective interventions and in what kind of context. I would say the last takeaway for us has really, and that's at the core of the retrospective, is that we have deeper, broader partnerships with local organizations, with expert institutions that have decades of experience in this area, and that's incredibly important because it's important that we tailor the evidence-based programming solutions that we have at our disposal to local context so that we're able to advise client governments in a really innovative and specific way that addresses their specific challenges. So, this is a little bit of the look back, looking forward and we'll hear more about that, but the retrospective is really pointing to sort of three key areas of comparative advantage for us, as we can see in the next slide. The first one is there is an important role for us, working on large scale, very predictable, multi-year funding programs for gender-based violence. We know that that's essential, that predictability, it's essential also for the reliability of services to encourage survivors to approach such services. We also know that it's important for us to continue working in sectors that are beyond the traditional health and education systems strengthening and really focus on public safe spaces for women. Things like sexual harassment in the workplace, tackling gender-based violence in public transport. Those are incredibly important interventions so that women are not excluded from social and economic life. And then thirdly, and Dilfuza's incredible talk has touched on that, there is a role for us, through our development policy lending, to support governments with legislative and policy reform that can be really transformational. We, right now, have over 40 interventions that are working in this space. As you've seen, sort of the example of Uzbekistan, but it includes other types of interventions, like helping to address child marriage through legislation in Niger or supporting the government of Egypt to address gender-based violence in transport, comprehensively. And maintaining these important areas of work and particularly working on innovative, large scale solutions is really central to the commitment we have at the World Bank to supporting women and girls to have a life that is really free of violence and instead is filled with opportunity and possibility. Thank you very much. Back over to you, Louise. 

[Louise Cord]
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm genuinely inspired and impressed and honored by all that the Bank has done and seeing the expansion of our program and seeing how it's gone to scale. So, I want to really heartily congratulate both Diana and Patricia, and the whole GBV team who worked on this retrospective, and our staff in the various units in the human development vice presidency and in our social sustainability and inclusion teams in the regions, who do the work, together with many of you who are on the call, at the country level, where it really matters. Please look at the copy of the report. It's in the chat, I understand. So, you can download it and I'm sure it'll also be on our website. Please go look at it and get some more of the detail and lessons learned that have come out of this. We're now going to move to the final part of our presentation, which is an amazing panel that we've brought together to tell us a bit what we do well, what we can do more of, because we've set this ambitious objective and we have so much more to do. We can't rest on our laurels, we need to keep going further, deepening the evidence, the partnerships, the interventions. We're going to learn from our speakers as to what is some of the key things for the agenda ahead. So, our panel is... Let me just quickly run through. Unfortunately, I can't give the full bios, I believe they're online because, otherwise, we'd be here for the rest of the hour, reading about what they have done in this field and beyond. First, we have Anita Peña Saavedra, who is Head of the International Affairs Department at the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality in Chile. We'll then turn to Natsnet Ghebrebrhan, Director of Raising Voices, before we go to A. K. Shiva Kumar, who is a Development Economist at Ashoka University and at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. We'll then hear from Susana Medina Salas, Co-Director of the Sustainable Ecosystem Unit at Fòs Feminista, and then wrap up with Claudia García-Moreno, who is Head of Addressing the needs of populations in vulnerable situations at the Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health at the WHO. As I said, this is an opportunity for us, not only to celebrate what we've done, but to hear more what we can do. I'll be asking our panelists to comment from their very unique perspectives because they all have worked on this agenda but from a different angle, as to what we've done well, but what we can do more of. Let me start with a client. Anita, let me start with you. Chile has done so much on this agenda, working multi-sectorally across your ministries, collecting better data, designing interventions. Could you tell us what would you like to see the Bank do more of, to support you in these efforts and help take them to scale? And what do you think we've done well, and that we should make sure we continue doing, as we go forward? 

[Anita Peña Saavedra]
Thank you. Thank you, Louise. It's really an honor to be in this panel. To answer your question related to what we advise to do more or do differently, we see that the World Bank could strengthen two parts of action, institutionalizing in policy to prevent and address gender-based violence, and promote gender mainstreaming. Regarding to the first point, through the program for result-financing that the Bank uses, it is possible to institutionalize process and strengthen the implementation of policy and programs that present a government period. Of course, we live in a time where we often see that funds for women, human rights in all diversity are being jeopardized and threatened. Hence, the relevance of the technical team that the Bank can provide to incorporate a paradigm that address violence with the intersection that occurred with different crisis. For example, the climate and environmental crisis is key. In this regard, forced displacement is one of the most severe problems in our region, which is crossed by a serious situation that has a differential impact on migrant women and girls. Regarding to the second initiative, gender mainstreaming, because of this intersection, all operation and loans carried out by the Bank must incorporate results that benefit women in all diversity and address the reduction of gender injustice. For example, energy projects present job places, opportunities for women, but there's also an opportunity to raise so many questions, such as what are the links between fossil fuel extraction industries and gender-based violence? Or how could renewal energy reduce gender-based violence? Evidence shows how industrial process that negatively affect environmental, increases crisis that is disproportionately hard on women and girls. Some parts may differ and challenges are related to looking at what the Bank has done from other perspectives, seeking to transform the gender system. For example, the Bank has contributed to a strengthening social protection system. In Chile, we know well what has been achieved with the child protection system or the security and opportunity system, where the focus has been placed on development, early childhood, and on reducing family poverty. But what has been the role that this policy has given to women? Feminist critique of social policy has clearly shown that programs, such as conditional catch and transfer, are based on gender roles and reinforce gender stereotypes, based on care as a female mandate. This bias could impact on the reproduction of violence. For example, in Chile, of the total number of boys and girls who entered the child protection system, 16% do so due to domestic violence. Additionally, 50% of those cases that enter the protection system receive intervention aimed directly at mothers to strengthen the family bond. However, although the program seeks to intervene in family dynamics to enhance parenting skill and facility access, facilitate access to social services, the context of poverty, social and economic barriers and care responsibility, position women in a paradox where they are responsible for guaranteed family survival, but they do not have the means to do so nor the necessary institutional support. So, if you ask us how can an institution like the World Bank more effectively support the government of Chile in moving the agenda forward, we will say to embrace our gender and development program and help us to introduce a transformative gender perspective in the social protection system, putting the sustainability of life at the center, that is taking into account that it's a life that is different for women and girls, for LGBTQ+ people. Going back to the first idea of the institutionalized policy, that also means looking at the long term. It is essential to recognize that the state and institutions all adapt to women, particularly survivors of violence, by the state, must transform this depth into an investment to encourage women's autonomy and agency and return the value that women in all diversity have historically given for free to unpaid care work. This translates into a strengthening budget, making alliances with the Bank to generate financing programs that allow us to measure our results and think of growth beyond the increase in GDP, but from the notion of life, which means a life free of violence. Thank you. 

[Louise Cord]
Anita, you touched on something very important to me, which is development is not only about growth, it's about a life free of violence. For us in social sustainability, it's about having everyone feel part of development and believe that they and their descendants will benefit from it, including very much so, children, obviously. But thank you for highlighting, really, the role of norms, the role of institutions and markets and labor and jobs and economic empowerment, but also, cultural empowerment and how all of this feeds into... requires a broader focus on gender equality. And I'm really excited that we'll be closing with our Director of Gender who will probably reference a bit how all this will feed into our gender strategy and how this is so very much part of our broader approach. But thank you, thank you for the work that you do and for the partnership with the Bank. Let me now turn to Natsnet, who is with Raising Voices and an initiative dear to my heart because it works at communities, also very much on norms, which is an area where people who are in social sustainability and inclusion do a lot of work. I'd really like to hear your perspective about how the Bank can do more and what we're doing well, and where you see the role of communities in influencing norms and in addressing the scourge of gender-based violence. Over to you. 

[Natsnet Ghebrebrhan]
Thank you, Louise. I'm very happy to be here and take part in this important conversation. I just want to mention by stating my excitement to see how GBV is expanding and growing in World Bank supported programs. It's quite exciting. It shows the commitment of the Bank to preventing violence against women and also achieving the SDGs. I would like to maybe recognize some of the things that the World Bank is doing, in a way, it can continue doing, they are three things. One, the multidimensional approach, accountability practice, and then also working on the organization. Multidimensional approach, balancing prevention and response, development setting and humanitarian setting, standalone versus integrated and mainstreamed into sectors, in supporting implementation as well as supporting knowledge generation. It's really contributing to the efforts and providing opportunity to learning and building the field of violence against women prevention. This is commendable.
The second point is how the World Bank is responsive in practicing accountable practices. For example, in 2016, when sexual and exploitation incidents were reported in infrastructure projects, there was a quick response. An Inspection panel was organized and an investigation happened. Based on that, now we are observing World Bank proactively setting up safeguarding practices in all sorts of programs. And then, the last one is investment and attention to creating a safer workplace for everyone and shifting the institutional and organizational culture because this kind of work requires an inward-looking approach, changes start with us. So, I want to recognize that, in a way, the World Bank can continue doing that. What more can you do? The 10 years vision is really compelling and exciting, but some of the things that need extra attention, especially on scaling up and investing in operational impact evaluation, scaling up really is important. This is the phase we are in, but it requires a proportional investment, an increase in investment. The report highlights in 2012 there was 225 million invested in six projects. And then, in 2022, 680 for 44 projects. The average in 2012 was 37 million per project, while in 2022, it was 15. It looks like a decline. So, it's quite important to investigate the number of increase in projects versus the level of investment because a scale up requires more investment. And because of the approach the World Bank is using, working with government and then using the loan system in our region, not many organizations are putting violence against women prevention as top in their priority list, and they don't feel compelled to take big loans towards addressing violence against women. So, as you set your intention to scaling up and building evidence to learn from scaling up a process, it's quite important as the World Bank, and also as collectives, to influence and advocate for violence against women to be in the top priority of the development agenda at national levels. The second item is around partnership. Dilfuza has really stated it really well, around the role of women's rights organizations and the movement. The report and the vision for the next 10 years really highlight how the World Bank is committed to working with diverse actors, ranging from government, civil society organizations, and so on. But currently, what we are seeing is there is a shrinking space. Women's rights agendas are facing a lot of backlashes, and we all recognize the history and the role of women's rights organizations in getting us here, in registering really good gains and achievements in addressing violence against women specifically and women's rights generally. So, in this situation when there is little space for women's rights organizations to engage meaningfully, what is the World Bank going to do to ensure women's rights organizations engage meaningfully in scale up efforts? These are some of my key asks for the World Bank, as you go forward. Thank you. 

[Louise Cord]
Thank you. You're raising some very challenging issues. The last one, particularly, about how to ensure this agenda remains on the table. But I can say that looking at some of our efforts in some of the most challenging countries, we continue to push on this agenda and do advocacy at the end and put evidence out and try to put data out. But let me keep going. Thank you so much, Natsnet. We still have three more speakers and Hana. So, let me turn now to Shiva who will give a perspective also, I assume, a little bit talking about child violence, since that's an area where some of your research has focused in, which is such a critical area for this agenda. So, Shiva, I'm looking forward to hearing from you. 

[A. K. Shiva Kumar]
Thank you. Let me also begin by congratulating Diana and the GBV team, and applauding the noticeable shift in the Bank's lending by explicitly recognizing and pushing for integration of GBV prevention and response into its portfolio. It goes without saying that the Bank should leverage its comparative advantage and use its position in countries, vis-à-vis, governments, to push even more passionately and vigorously to do more of what it is doing. Having said this, the Bank should similarly leverage its comparative advantage by investing much more in generating and harnessing knowledge. Undertaking analytical studies is really the Bank's core strength. Stepping up investments to fill knowledge gaps in GBV prevention and response and… critical need… 

[Louise Cord]

[A. K. Shiva Kumar]
I want to flag two… 

[Louise Cord]
... we're having a hard time… 

[A. K. Shiva Kumar]
... Yeah? 

[Louise Cord]
Keep going, but we're losing you a little bit. We may need to take down your video, but keep trying. 

[A. K. Shiva Kumar]
Okay. Yeah, I want to flag two areas, for your consideration. One is to invest much more in evaluations. We do not really know much about what works, when, where, in what contexts, for whom, and for how long. The available literature is very scant 
and is concentrated mostly on research studies done in North America. And it's important for scaling up to get a much better idea of what works because GBV prevention and response depend a lot upon the culture and the context in which… That would be much more systematic research and focused studies will definitely help. The second point I want to say is that the Bank should certainly invest in undertaking economic assessment as well as financing and budgeting studies. Let me qualify, as an economy… 

[Louise Cord]
Shiva, we're losing you. You're in and out. I don't know if this would help, if you took your camera down, 
and maybe we'll have a better connection. Sorry. 

[A. K. Shiva Kumar]
Okay, let me try. Yeah, so I wanted to say, first of all, that while there is need to look at costs and cost-effectiveness, we should not forget that all acts of violence, regardless of costs, are a violation of women's rights, women's security, and women's dignity. Resource-allocation decisions should not be made on the basis of cost-effectiveness. That would be ethically wrong. Similarly, costs should not be used as a basis for justification or prioritization of interventions. Second, I'm not proposing the conventional studies on the costs of inaction. Let me give you two examples from my country, India. A recent 2023 World Bank policy research working paper points out that air pollution reduces India's year-on-year GDP growth by 0.56 percentage points. An earlier study reported that, annually, India loses over $12 billion in GDP to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Such numbers do not really stir the heart of the public, certainly not of the finance minister. These are just numbers. They numb you, and I think that is one of the functions of numbers is to numb the audience and that's what is happening. Unfortunately, these numbers do not create an outrage or public outcry. At the same time, let me also add that it's important to look at costs and cost-effectiveness. Resources are scarce, and we need to use them efficiently and ensure that maximum benefits reach the neediest. I find that not much effort has been made to gather data on costs or even budgets so we can get a better idea of cost-effectiveness or where to invest the money in. Governments should prioritize ending all forms of violence, especially gender-based violence and childhood violence, and allocate resources for prevention and response and monitor the expenditures. Here, the Bank can play a very concrete role, and I want to make a suggestion. The Bank should persuade all the ministries it supports to earmark a percentage of their annual budgets for addressing gender-based violence and childhood violence prevention and response, and also to include in the budget certain funds for evaluation as well as research and analysis. But let me end by saying, before asking governments, the Bank can itself set an example and do so, itself, across the various divisions. Let me stop here. Thank you. 

[Louise Cord]
Thank you so much. That was great. And I couldn't, as an economist myself, agree more with your emphasis on evidence and data. I think, particularly, when we're talking about child violence, this has such a long-term impact that we need to track that, in data, but across the whole life spectrum as well, of course. Thank you. Claudia, let's hear from WHO, from the perspective of health, so critical in addressing this issue of GBV, and the agency has so much experience in this. Over to you. 

[Claudia García-Moreno]
Thank you, Louise, and thanks everyone. I also want to start by thanking and congratulating all the staff at the Bank that have contributed to this big shift in bringing attention to GBV, and particularly integrating across sectors where it has traditionally not been considered, like transport, construction, and others. I know from my own experience in WHO that this requires a lot of systematic evidence gathering, related to the very specific sectors. I found in health, that if you go to the TV people, they want to know what does gender and GBV have to do with TV, not with health in general. So, all of that systematic work that I think has preceded this increase in the attention to GBV is really important and has been an important contribution to the field. So, I really want to acknowledge that. And just to date myself, I was remembering that one of the first people to put violence against women on the health agenda was Anne Tinker when she was at the health and nutrition division of the Bank many, many years ago. And so, it's really great to see, the data speaks for itself, just in terms of the growth, projects and fundings. I think I want to stress three of the lessons that have come out of this review and I commend the review, I think it's a very interesting read and has a lot of wealth of information. I think the importance of seeing prevention and response as a continuum is something that I want to highlight. I think we tend to see sometimes the two aspects presented as in conflict or competing. We know that ensuring services for the many millions of women that are already affected by violence and their children, also has an important contribution to prevention, particularly when we are thinking of the next generations and the impact of children, as you just highlighted, Louise. And so, I think that this is something that we really want to see and how do we build responses that are contributing to prevention and that are contributing to healing. So, the emphasis on strengthening service delivery is something that I think should continue. I do want to say that in relation to the partnerships, I think there is scope for strengthening those partnerships around sectorial interventions. For example, we've tried to make sure that we are creating synergies with some of the standards that WHO and that internationally have been agreed, so that when we are implementing health sector responses or education responses, we also use that as an opportunity to make the system more gender responsive, as we heard from the Minister of Chile. We are asking systems that are, in themselves, very gender unequal and very patriarchal, to address an issue, so we have to use this to also see how we can transform the systems. The second aspect I would like to mention emphasizes the same as what she was saying, that the importance of evaluation. We know that the importance, as Patricia mentioned, of the fact that the Bank can come in with sums of money that are predictable, that are over a period of time, and that can help us to do things in a more systematic way, particularly when we're talking about transforming systems and getting systems to respond. So, having a dedicated budget to systematically evaluate and measure the progress of that is the second aspect I would like to emphasize. And then lastly, on the issue of partnerships, I think Axel referred to the importance of using that advocacy to be more effective. I think the more we can go to countries with one voice on these different aspects of policies and responses and strategies, the more impact we are likely to have. We've certainly seen that happen. The Bank has been a very important partner in the building of the RESPECT Women framework for prevention. And then last, but not least, I think that the very specific role that the Bank has in economic empowerment aspects in reducing poverty and all of the factors that we know are an important contributor, alongside with the unequal gender norms, to the sustenance of this violence and the increase of this violence in many settings, I think is another critical role that you have played and hopefully you will continue to play and strengthen. I'll stop there. Just one last little thing. The justice sector was one sector that has not been mentioned very much either in the report, so I was very glad that Dilfuza raised it, but perhaps that's one area where some more work around, not just having new laws, but how do we ensure the implementation of the laws, which again comes back to these systems that are not necessarily very favorable to women or are very gender responsive. I'll just put a little plug in there for the justice system as well. Thank you very much. 

[Louise Cord]
Thank you, Claudia. I couldn't agree more. We're doing much more on the policy reform using our program lending, our DPOs, development policy financing for that. But the issue of implementation is key, of the legal framework. And thank you and thanks for highlighting that systems approach, which is so key. Let us move now to our last speaker who will give us the perspective from someone who's done a lot of work on sexual education, which I think is so important in addressing this issue and also addressing the norms that we know challenge GBV prevention and elimination. So, Susana, we're really looking forward to hearing from you. Last but not least, as they say. 

[Susana Medina Salas]
Thank you. Thank you so much. On behalf of Fòs Feminista, a global alliance for sexual and reproductive health rights and justice, we are honored to be part of this panel and share our advice about the work done by the World Bank Group and the ways that it should be done in the future. Congratulations for the report and the achievements, and thank you so much for continuing your strong commitment to invest further in implementation, systematizing prevention and response across all lending operations. Having read the report and seen the data learnings and priorities for the next decade, I want to focus our thoughts on the words you mentioned through established entry points. Because our previous collaboration, as you said, Louise, was on comprehensive sexual education, when the Bank supports government and civil society to end GBV is contributing to influence and support structural factors around a systemic violence based on gender, but totally connected with other structural oppressions, such as coercions of bodily autonomy, racism, among others. This structural approach, which is a strategic advantage of the World Bank Group, recognized the complexity of the GBV and it is aligned with the systemic approach of civil society organizations, including feminist organizations, on addressing GBV affecting different areas that make possible a comprehensive response to women, girls, and gender diverse people affected. However, to recognize complexity is not enough to be effective. It is important also to include intersectionality because it focuses on the disproportional effect that GBV causes on some people more than others, such as Afro descendants, Indigenous, migrants, refugees, people in rural contexts, and so on. People who are moving trans-nationally, from one country to another, even walking. Intersectionality sometimes challenges the economical categories, but adds new factors beyond economy. Maybe intersectionality is an invitation to rethink on categories. You also mentioned in the report the tension that may happen between implementers and governments. It is an important area that the World Bank Group should take into account when fostering GBV issue in the dialogue with the government. From our experience with Fòs Feminista partners, close trust and thoughtful partnerships between NGOs and governments is possible. But there are several factors to consider, including access to funds. Civil society organizations need to be well-funded. When we are talking about well-funded, we mean being long-term, flexible, catalytic, systemic, and accountable. Long-term to develop sustainable solutions, because to prevent violence is a long-term change. It is systemic and involves many layers. Flexible because organizations know what is needed, they have been working in resilient ways with the small resources, and they are the best position to identify what are the needs and what works better for their communities. Systemic because we need to support ecosystems, ensuring complementary funds among diverse actors at local levels, based on collaboration instead of competition for funds. Meanwhile, regional and global actors support them on creating platforms to amplify their actions and connect with broader audiences. Catalytic because innovation should be strengthened. As you said in the report, we need to increase specialists within this ecosystem, which means hiring people at local level, strengthening institutional capacities, investing on research and education from a south to south perspective. And accountable because these funds must be used with transparency, even for a cyber-society organization as well as for government. Actually, it must be mandatory for governments that implement World Bank Group funds to make public their budgets, public national budgets, and be accountable on GBV investment. Today, we celebrate the retrospective World Bank Group report. Congratulations. And we are proud to partner with you on advancing gender equality and economical justice. 

[Louise Cord]
No, thank you for highlighting these points and I'm sure we'll come back to them, they're critical as we think of our partnerships with CSOs. Without any further transition, because time is running out, that we've had 10 people on this panel, not a small feat, or in this session, I should say. So, let me hand it to Hana, to close this wonderful gathering. 

[Hana Brixi]
Thank you. Thank you so much, Louise. And I would like to thank all speakers for this truly insightful, encouraging and inspiring seminar. Now, we started, we heard from Axel Van Trotsenburg highlighting how the World Bank now approaches the cause to end gender-based violence as a key human rights issue and also a key issue that is essential for economic and social development. And we heard Diana and Patricia highlighting some of the insights from the retrospective, how the World Bank has approached the battle against gender-based violence. They presented this on behalf of the entire community of practice, of colleagues actively working to prevent and respond to gender-based violence across all sectors, across all regions, in a coordinated manner across the World Bank. Now, we learned so much from our distinguished external speakers, and I would maybe highlight three takeaways. One is how important institutional and policy reforms are, their design, their design of innovative solutions, and their implementation. The example we had from Uzbekistan by Dilfuza has been truly inspiring. Second, how important financing and investments are in services, in interventions. We heard excellent examples from countries. And also in knowledge, including impact evaluations, as highlighted by Shiva and Natsnet. The fact that we still, as a global community, we still need to invest into knowledge on what works in which context, and what are the solutions that can be brought to scale. And I think one point made was that, in these investments, the resource allocation by the World Bank, by other members of the international development community and by governments, the approach needs to be based on women's rights, not only on cost-effectiveness. And the third takeaway I see, emerged very clearly, is the need to join forces, to work towards shifting mindsets, shifting norms. And we had very good examples by, for example, Anita Peña. I also would like to highlight, in that context, the point Claudia made, on the continuum between prevention and response to gender-based violence, and the need to work jointly on multi-sectoral coordinated interventions. Now, finally, I would like to make just a few illustrations of some emerging work by the World Bank, that kind of shows the frontiers for the future, already building on the lessons learned. So, one example, in Nigeria, the Nigeria for Women Project, which focuses on better economic opportunities for women, and puts emphasis on social capital and livelihood. It is also using the social norms exploratory tool that helps to better understand the harmful norms and shift against these norms. Second, in Bangladesh, the creation of safe space for women and adolescent girls to prevent gender-based violence and respond to the risks facing, especially by Rohingya population. In Fiji, to support a developing nationwide information management system to track gender-based violence, which then helps better plan public investment in gender-based violence prevention and response. In Jordan, the investments to improve women's safety in the workplace and in public transportation, also including the shift in norms and behaviors. And finally, just another illustration from the private sector, led by the International Finance Corporation, on implementing measures to ensure the safety of women against sexual abuse, harassment, and exploitation in the workplace. Now, finally, the World Bank gender strategy, as proposed, for years 2024 to 2030, places the commitment to end gender-based violence, to work to this aspiration as the number one strategic objective, end gender-based violence and elevate human capital. You now have all an opportunity to provide your feedback. The draft strategy is online. It will be online until the end of November. We are collecting suggestions, collecting feedback before we finalize this strategy. So please, engage. And, finally, please engage to continue joining forces and to spur collective action, including feminist organizations as highlighted by Susana, including governmental and non-governmental organizations across local, regional, state, and international levels. We really need to work together to end gender-based violence. So, thank you. Thank you very much, and I'm very much looking forward to this momentum to continue on the way forward. Back to you, Louise. 

[Louise Cord]
Well, fantastic. Thank you so much, Hana. I get excited hearing all about what the World Bank is doing. Clearly, there's so much more we need to do, but we are doing a lot and we're moving in new directions. And I just want to underscore Hana's plea for feedback on the strategy. It's very exciting, not only on GBV, but on the focus on norms and also the focus on intersectionality, which was raised. That's a new dimension of the strategy that Hana and her team have added in all of us working together. So, I guess now, 11:04, DC time, I'd like to thank all of you around the world who have joined this session. I'd like to give a huge applause to our panelists who have been amazing, and all of our speakers. And, of course, to the team that put this report together and put this event on, which takes always so much work to do. Our teams from the technical teams from ECR and so forth. So, let's not let this battle stop. With this, for sure. I can tell by the commitment of our speakers and the commitment of Hana and our teams, respectively. Please, keep going. Listen to the recording. Share the recording. Share the retrospective. Provide comments on the strategy. Let's keep the dialogue going and the work going. Thank you so much. Have a great rest of the day. All the best now.

00:00 Welcome

- Louise J. Cord, Global Director, Social Sustainability and Inclusion, WB 

02:18 Opening remarks

- Axel van Trotsenburg, Senior Managing Director, Development Policy and Partnerships, World Bank

08:58 Uzbekistan: Stories from the ground

- Dilfuza Kurolova, Founding curator, Global Shapers Tashkent Hub – Uzbekistan

16:08 Main insights from the 10-year Retrospective report

- Diana Arango, Global GBV Lead, Gender Group, WB
- Patricia Fernandes, Lead Social Development Specialist, Social Sustainability and Inclusion, South Asia

24:44 Panel discussion

- Natsnet Ghebrebrhan, Director Raising Voices
- Susana Medina Salas, Co-Director of the Sustainable Ecosystem Unit, Fòs Feminista
- A. K. Shiva Kumar, Development Economist, Ashoka University & The Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
- Claudia Garcia-Moreno, Head of Addressing the needs of populations in vulnerable situations, Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health, WHO
- Anita Peña Saavedra, Head of International Affairs Department, Ministry of Women and Gender Equality, Government of Chile

57:34 Closing remarks

- Hana Brixi, Global Director, Gender Group, WB

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