The UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development (FCDO), Liz Truss, announced on November 16, 2021, that she will restore UK gender equality funding to pre-cut ODA levels as part of her vision to put women and girls at the heart of the UK’s new international development assistance strategy. She backed the announcement with new funding pledges:
- £18 million (US$24 million) in new funding to end child marriage. The funding will be provided via UNICEF and UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund);
- £3 million (US$4 million) in additional funding to help tackle violence against women and girls; and
- £1.4 million (US$1.9 million) in new funding for the Global Survivors Fund, which helps support survivors of sexual violence, including through financial support and education.
The announcement followed an internal assessment by the FCDO, which warned that cuts to the UK’s official development impact would have a negative impact on programming for women and girls.
Truss, who is also the UK’s Women and Equalities Minister, made the announcement at the UK G7's Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) reception, set up by the UK government to ensure the G7 takes action on gender equality. Truss highlighted three core priorities for UK development assistance on gender equality moving forward: girls’ education, tackling female genital mutilation, and stopping sexual violence in war.
Truss also used the reception as an opportunity to launch a major global campaign aimed at stopping the culture of impunity surrounding the use of rape and sexual violence as weapons of war. The campaign aims to ‘red line’ sexual violence in war, equating it with the use of chemical weapons, as recommended by the GEAC’s final report to the G7. Truss noted that the campaign will consider all options, including creating a new international convention to end such acts; Canada, New Zealand, Indonesia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, and Liberia all officially joined the campaign.
The UK will host a global conference in 2022 to bring foreign ministers from around the world together to support the campaign.