Calling for a Global Summit to end female genital mutilation/cutting
Now’s the time to #Closethefundinggap
Dear World Leaders,
Over 200 million girls and women alive today from 31 countries have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and over 4 million girls are at risk of undergoing FGM/C annually. And this number is on the rise. According to a joint report by UNICEF and UNFPA, an estimated 2 million additional girls are at risk of being cut over the next decade, bringing the total number of girls at risk to 70 million by 2030. These horrific figures are simply unacceptable.
Even these alarming figures fail to represent the complete picture, as they do not take into account a number of countries (particularly in Asia and the Middle East) which do not have national prevalence data on FGM/C. Even before COVID-19 slowed down the progress in eliminating FGM/C, the Sustainable Development Goals target 5.3.2 to end female genital mutilation/cutting by 2030 was already an ambitious commitment. Rhetoric was simply not matched with financial commitments, and there remains an urgent need for the End FGM/C sector to receive increased and sustained funding.
As 2030 is fast approaching, the genuine need of bridging the significant funding gap and implementing the much-needed interventions to end FGM/C must be embraced with a sense of extreme urgency. Funding must be increased now, and it is essential for investment to come from a variety of sources – from multilateral donors, philanthropy, and the private sector, in addition to domestic resources committed by national Governments.
Signatories of this letter, members of the Global Platform for Action to end Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting and allies, are calling on donors to invest in efforts geared towards ending FGM/C and remodel their traditional funding practices to more effectively support grassroots organisations, as well as calling on governments to prioritize funding for ending FGM/C work in their national budgets. As part of these efforts, we are calling on world leaders and funders to act with urgency and convene a Global Summit during a United Nations General Assembly session or other key UN gathering by 2025 to secure genuine commitments and actions needed to put an end to this harmful practice.
The Summit needs to catalyse the resourcing of end FGM/C work, with needs and priorities of grassroot organisations firmly at its heart. Listening to and funding community-based organisations is our only chance of ending this practice.
The Funding Gap
According to UNFPA Report only $95 is required to avert one case of FGM/C and to protect a girls’ right to health, to bodily integrity, to freedom from violence and to enjoy her sexuality. A relatively small price to pay which pales in comparison with global spending on increasing militarisation (almost $2 trillion per year) and growth based on exploitation of natural resources. By investing $2.4 billion by 2030 we could end FGM/C altogether in 31 priority countries. There is also a need to expand funding beyond the 31 countries which have national prevalence data on the practice; and provide funding for anti-FGM work in countries which have not traditionally been prioritized, including in Asia and the Middle East.
Yet only $275 million in development assistance is available leaving a funding gap of >$2.1 billion; and these funds are not available proportionately across all countries where FGM/C is known to take place. Grassroots organisations that are at the forefront of prevention efforts have raised their collective voice to urge governments, foundations, private sector, and other donors to urgently increase funding to the FGM/C sector.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting is a global practice that requires a global response. Join the Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C in this struggle to uphold basic human rights for women and girls and renew your commitment to end FGM/C globally by convening a Global Summit aimed at sincere commitments and increased sustainable funding.
We are in a race against time. Without immediate action, there will be millions more girls affected by 2030 and beyond. The Global Summit has to secure the commitments and actions needed to close the funding gap. Failure is not an option anymore.