UN WOMEN West and Central Africa 2021 Annual Report
2021 marked the end of the latest UN Women Strategic Plan, and during the year UN Women’s West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO) and Country Offices/Non-Resident Agencies continued to strengthen a comprehensive set of global norms, policies, and standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women; help end all forms of violence against women and girls; foster women’s economic empowerment; encourage and support women to lead; facilitate gender mainstreaming; and support women’s participation in peacebuilding and resilience efforts. Throughout the year, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact West and Central Africa, and women in the region were particularly vulnerable to the crisis. Women’s micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses faced even greater limitations on financial reserves, liquidity and sustainable credit facilities to face the pandemic-related economic downturn. In addition, already challenging security situations were made more fragile and there was a marked increase in violence against women and girls.
Nonetheless, UN Women successfully provided multi-faceted assistance, including in areas experiencing violent conflict. UN Women have learned much from evaluating the impact and effectiveness of the previous strategic plan, including new and continuing opportunities for UN Women, such as greater engagement with United Nations Country Offices, particularly in countries where UN Women is not physically present; the promotion of gender-inclusive evaluations; and a larger emphasis on regional engagements and partnerships. UN Women’s WCARO looks forward to continuing and expanding their work in the region through the new strategic plan (2022-2025) with a greater focus on disaster risk reduction, particularly vis-à-vis climate change and conflict.
This annual report shows all the efforts deployed by the Regional and Country Offices throughout 2021, with tangible results in all areas of UN Women ́s mandate. The testimonies of women in the shared document present valuable examples of human stories of resilience.