New York- US (PANA) -- The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), has granted US$3.
5 million to 17 countries to address gender-based violence against women.
The grants would be disbursed by the UNIFEM-managed UN Trust Fund, which was established by the UN General Assembly in 1996.
UNIFEM Executive Director, Noeleen Heyzer, told UN correspondents in New York Thursday, the grants would be used to support the implementation of new policies or laws through a combination of training for government institutions, the judiciary and law enforcement agencies, advocacy, awareness programmes and capacity building for civil society groups.
According to her, the funds would be spent on 28 initiatives in Argentine, Bulgaria, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Grenada, Guatemala, India, Liberia, Mongolia, Niger, Paraguay, Rwanda, Somalia, Ukraine, Zimbabwe and Cameroon.
She explained that each country would focus on issues peculiar to its environment, as they affect the women, including marginalisation, policies against women advancement, domestic violence and sexual abuses.
"The grants mainly go to groups that work to ensure that policies and laws to address violence against women are implemented.
Overall, 28 initiatives in those countries, including one regional project, will receive grants amounting to 2.
8 million dollars," Heyzer explained.
She said a second round of grants totalling US$700,000 to be given in early 2007, would go to groups focusing on the link between gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS.
"Today 89 countries have adopted legislative provisions that address domestic violence, including 60 States with specific domestic violence laws," the UNEFEM boss revealed.
However, she observed that lack of political will, resources and capacity to implement these laws hindered progress in addressing most of the problems affecting women.
But according Heyzer, UNIFEM and its Trust Fund are rising up to the challenge to support initiatives around the world, in order redress the situation and "make things work for women.
" PANA learnt that the 2006 Trust Fund grant is the highest ever to be disbursed by UNIFEM, up from the US$1.
8 million in 2005 and four times more than in 2004.
Grants by UNIFEM, which provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies to foster women's empowerment and gender equality, are decided collectively by representatives of UN agencies, international NGOs and experts on women issues.
Since its establishment, the Trust Fund has granted close to US$13 million to 226 initiatives in more than 100 countries.