KINGSTON, Jamaica – Two Vincentian parliamentarians are among others from across the region attending a two-day consultation on gender-based violence here.

Minister of Social Development Frederick Stephenson and opposition senator, Anesia Baptiste, who shadows minister for gender are attending the event, which ends today.

The consultation is being conducted under the theme “Building Political will to end Gender-based Violence.

It aims to raise awareness among parliamentarians about the problem of gender-based violence in the Caribbean and to build the capacity of parliamentarians to advocate and build political will to address and end gender based violence.

The gathering will also identify ways in which parliamentarians can contribute to efforts to end violence against women and provide them with the tools to do so and share best practices in gender-based violence prevention

This meeting targets the existing members of the Caribbean Network of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (CNPPD), as well as the newly co-opted members and will invite new members to join the CNPPD.

Yesterday, delegates focused on capacity building with emphasis on various aspects of violence against women in the Caribbean, approaches to ending violence against women – such as working with men, cultural artistes and other opinion shapers, capacity building among the judiciary; and other outcomes of UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign launched in 2008.

By 2015, UNiTE aims to achieve five goals in all countries, namely, adopt and enforce national laws to address and punish all forms of violence against women and girls, adopt and implement multi-sectoral national action plans, strengthen data collection on the prevalence of violence against women and girls, increase public awareness and social mobilization, and, address sexual violence in conflict.

Today’s proceeding will focus on highlighting ways in which parliamentarians can help to mobilize political will to end gender-based violence, and introducing some tools that they can use for advocacy.

The event is organized by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, along with partner agencies and organization, namely U.N. Women, Inter-American Parliamentary Group on Population and Development (IAPG), Caribbean Network of Parliamentarians and CARICOM Secretariat.

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