Remarks by Mrs. and Hawa Bangura, Under Secretary General and Director General United Nations Organization at Nairobi (UNON) on the occasion of the UN Women Knowledge Fair 

Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Esteemed Colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen: Good morning to you all. I would like to welcome you all to the United Nations Office at Nairobi, the UN headquarters in Africa and the Global South. I would like to thank UN Women East and Southern Africa Regional Office for organizing the Knowledge Fair on Accelerating Progress towards Gender Equality and Women Empowerment through Knowledge Management. It is indeed an opportunity to showcase the comparative advantage of UN Women as a go-to agency on issues of gender equality and empowerment of women. This Fair also affirms the role of UN Women in producing solid gender research and evidence that has been used to build transformative approaches and enhance evidenced-based policy advocacy and programming on gender equality. I am happy that UN Women knowledge products and initiatives continue to attract wider partnerships and networks not only within the civil society but also with the UN family, development partners, member states, academia, research think-tanks, private sector, media and women of Africa and this region in particular. I therefore encourage you to seek partnerships with UN Women on your gender related studies and research to ensure they are solid, gender responsive and address the needs of women and girls while ensuring that voices of those women and girls are captured, and that their needs and aspirations are addressed through policy advocacy and programming. This Fair coincides with the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based violence. I would like to recall that one in three women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, and the immediate and long-term physical, sexual, and mental consequences for women and girls can be devastating, including death. Violence negatively affects women’s general well-being and prevents women from fully participating in society. It impacts their families, their community, and the country at large. It has tremendous costs, from greater strains on health care to legal expenses and losses in productivity. 2 Unequal distribution of power and resources between men and women increases women’s economic vulnerability and dependency on others for their economic well-being. This can lead to gender-based violence that disproportionately impacts women and girls. Let us stand together to disrupt the devastating and far-reaching effects of Gender-based Violence on women and girls. Provision of essential GBV services to all survivors, including the LGBTQIA+ community, people living with a disability and other minority groups must be delivered without discrimination in respect of international human rights law. To this end, I wish to acknowledge the efforts of UN Women in knowledge management which includes research, evidence generation and production of data and statistics which transforms policies, programmes and investments on gender in the region. It is only through this that stakeholders can develop and sustain targeted interventions, aimed at ending various inequalities facing women and girls in the region, in Africa and globally and in Kenya specifically. The importance of engaging women in our research, data generation and knowledge management cannot be gainsaid, and it is time that they got involved even in the implementation of the findings and recommendations of these studies to transform policy and decision-making processes. This can only happen by the empowerment of women in all aspects, including their access to appropriate data, information, skills and adequate resources, as well promoting the inclusion of women in leadership, to guarantee their participation in the decision-making processes. This should be at local, national, regional and international levels – both in terms of the numbers of women participating as well as the quality of that participation to address and overcome gender biases in interventions and ensure that strategies are informed by and benefit from women’s knowledge and experiences. It is also important to enhance women’s access to new technologies, as knowledge and training are part of coping mechanisms in the context of ending violence against women as well as other gender-related threats to help secure their livelihood and reduce risks of being further impoverished. That said, I now wish to declare the Knowledge Fair officially open. I encourage all delegates to have a tour of the exhibition panels and scan the various QR codes to access the various knowledge interventions listed by UN Women.

Thank you all.