Statement of the UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, on International Women's Day

Vienna, 8 March 2018 - International Women's Day is a day to celebrate the towering achievements and immense strengths of women and girls everywhere. But it is also a day to reflect on continuing challenges and to agree on joint action to further advance gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Significant strides have been made to bridge inequalities and to create inclusive societies. Nevertheless, women around the world are plagued by dispiriting pay gaps in the workplace and unequal access to education. They face sexual harassment and violence rooted in endemic prejudices that disproportionately affect those living in the countryside.

The global call for the protection of women's rights has also generated a powerful surge for collective action.

UNODC is committed to doing our part through our global programmes on crime prevention and criminal justice, to prevent and stop human trafficking, and across the other areas of our mandate.

We are determined, through this work, to support and assist the millions of women and girls who are crime's victims and to help them become resilient survivors.

UNODC has also launched a new gender strategy, in line with the efforts of the wider United Nations, that will help to ensure that our workplaces deliver on equality and fairness, and that we advance measures to achieve gender parity.

By working together, UNODC is building a welcoming workplace where women can realize their full potential, and where all of us are treated with dignity and unfailing respect.

On International Women's Day, and founded on Goal 5 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, I affirm UNODC's continued pledge to every woman and girl: we will work tirelessly to end impunity and violence, improve protection and fight for justice.

Source: Official website of UNODC

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On International Women's Day 2018, the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia restates its commitment to "support and assist millions of women and girls who are crime's victims and to help them become resilient survivors."

UNODC supports Central Asian countries in their efforts to reach the Targets under SDG 5 "Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls" by promoting access to justice for women and girls and creating the conditions for women and girls to claim their rights and be active agents of change.

In Central Asia, UNODC actively promotes gender mainstreaming in the criminal justice system. In Kyrgyzstan, UNODC has supported career development of women in the police through the implementation of police mentoring and leadership training programmes.  

As part of peacebuilding efforts in Kyrgyzstan, UNODC works together with other UN agencies to promote participation and engagement of women and girls in efforts to prevent violent extremism, supporting access to police services for women and girls in cases of radicalization to violence.

UNODC helps Central Asian states to draft laws and create comprehensive national anti-trafficking strategies and to develop local capacity and expertise to implement these, including by providing practical tools to encourage cross-border cooperation in investigations and prosecutions.

In Turkmenistan, UNODC is currently developing a training manual on the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking. In Uzbekistan, UNODC completed the production of a training film aimed at promoting victim-centered approaches to prosecution and adjudication of trafficking in persons' cases. In Kyrgyzstan, UNODC provided the Government with policy advice resulting in the adoption of a new State Programme to counter trafficking in persons for the period from 2017 to 2020.