Intensifying efforts to promote gender equality and women's rights

'Gender equality and women's rights are key to promoting development. A new era requires new answers, and we are now modernising our approach to these issues. I am therefore pleased to present a new ambitious Action Plan for Women's Rights and Gender Equality in Foreign and Development Policy,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The new Action Plan gives priority to education for girls, women's political and economic empowerment, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. Progress in all these areas is crucial if girls and women are to have the freedom, power and opportunities to shape their own lives.

'The realisation of women's human rights is not only a goal in itself, it is also a driver of development and democracy. It is therefore fitting that the Sustainable Development Goals have put gender equality high up on the international agenda, and we intend to follow this up. Norway is a pioneer when it comes to gender equality, and our legitimacy in this area enables us to play a leading role globally,' said Mr Brende.

In connection with the Action Plan, Norway is establishing a new gender equality for development programme called 'LIKE'. Under the programme, Norway will provide expertise and promote cooperation in the field of gender equality, with a view to making aid in this area more effective.

'Norway has considerable knowledge of gender equality and experience of its implementation in practice. I have therefore also taken the initiative to establish an advocacy group for global gender equality, made up of representatives from the private sector, the academic community, civil society and the social partners. In this way, we are strengthening Norway's gender equality team,' Mr Brende said.