At a police station in Kazakhstan, a report of domestic violence comes in, and a police officer is immediately dispatched. In earlier days, the response might have been to simply calm the situation or even ignore it all together. But now, the officer will take along tough new legal tools to protect survivors, including provisions to remove perpetrators from the scene, and link survivors to legal and other help they need.
The changes result directly from UN Women's mandate and ability to forge high-impact partnerships across the United Nations and beyond. Recent collaboration between UN Women and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe helped bring together national authorities, civil society groups, women's advocates and other UN entities such as UNFPA and UNICEF to strengthen laws against domestic violence. Changes expanded the definition of domestic relationships, increased the duration of protective orders and enlarged the role of local governments in beefing up public services.
UN Women and UNFPA are working to implement the new provisions. Training for police and judicial officials supported by UN Women has already encouraged a substantial jump in the number of protective orders. UNFPA is assisting with improved health services and campaigning against harmful practices such as early marriages. Both organizations are engaged in helping the national statistical agency conduct a national survey-the first in Central Asia-on the prevalence of various forms of gender-based violence. Initiated by the Government, it will provide the most accurate picture to date of the scope of the problem, information vital to choosing the most effective prevention and protection strategies. To be a girl in Malawi is to face the very high probability of being married before age 18. This typically ends schooling and produces high-risk pregnancies-consequences that echo through a lifetime. To help uproot this harmful practice, UN Women has drawn the UN country team together for joint advocacy that contributed to passage of the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill in 2015-it stipulates 18 as the minimum marriageable age. A second new law, supported by UN Women, combats trafficking in persons-previously, Malawi was the only country in southern Africa without legal punishments for this crime.
As part of global mobilizing around Beijing+20, UN Women encouraged other UN entities to join in a successful push for a joint commitment from leaders of all major UN development organizations to ramp up investment in gender equality, increase results and deepen accountability for progress. Over a dozen workshops helped UN organizations build capacities to improve gender mainstreaming. For the third year, 62 organizations have reported on the UN-SWAP, a UN system-wide monitoring tool measuring progress on gender equality. Progress has been demonstrated on 14 of the 15 UN-SWAP performance indicators. Significantly, almost 60 per cent of UN organizations now have gender policies, the first requirement of the UN-SWAP, up from 20 per cent in the 2012 baseline.
In 2015, dozens of countries will approve new UN development assistance frameworks, which guide all UN activities in a given nation. UN Women supported the establishment of a roster of over 30 experts, on call to help integrate a full range of gender equality provisions. A gender scorecard in Cambodia proved a pivotal tool in shaping a UN plan with an unprecedented commitment to equality and empowerment.