Lessons learned in preventing violence against women across Asia-Pacific

5 March 2018

Achievements and Lessons Learned from Primary Violence Prevention Programming in Asia and the Pacific

UN Joint Programme, Partners for Prevention


Opening remarks: Mr Bjorn Andersson, Regional Director, UNFPA Asia-Pacific


Ambassador Robilliard, UN colleagues, distinguished participants:

On behalf of UNFPA I am pleased and proud to be here with our UN partners and our donor and ally, Australia, at this closing workshop for the Partners and Prevention joint programme on primary prevention in Asia and the Pacific.

As we will hear over the next two days, this has been a very rich programme and learning experience for all of us, government, UN and civil society, who have been engaged in the initiative, at both regional and country level.  Rich in learning, and rich in experience which we hope can be applied in other country settings, as well as scaled up in the five countries involved in the programme.

Phase One of Partners for Prevention broke new ground, by looking at men’s use of violence and the risk factors that drive and can exacerbate this violence.  And Phase Two has also broken new ground, by adding to the evidence base for what works to prevent violence in the first place. 

Across our region, 15% to 68% of women have experienced physical and or sexual violence from a partner, usually their husband.  The social norms that underpin and perpetuate this violence are embedded very early in life. As P4P phase one research shows, experiencing or witnessing violence in childhood and growing with and adopting inequitable gender norms, are among the key risk factors for men’s use of violence in adulthood.  It’s these social norms and beliefs that P4P II set out to change.

As we will hear, the five country interventions have focused on engaging men and boys, as well as working with different parts of the community, including caregivers and young people, to break the cycle of violence.  At UNFPA we are very proud to have worked with our sister agencies on this important joint programme, and to have led two of the country initiatives which worked with both young people and their caregivers in Indonesia and Cambodia, as well as Generation Breakthrough in Bangladesh. 

These initiatives have taught us that it is possible to change the norms and beliefs that support violence, and promote healthier, happier, more equal and respectful relationships between men and women, and young people and their parents.  Young people and their parents in Cambodia and Indonesia reported having better, stronger relationships.  Young men who participated in Generation Breakthrough developed more gender equitable attitudes. And across P4P countries not only attitudes but also behaviours changed, with men and boys practicing gender equitable behaviours such as taking greater responsibility for unpaid care work.

P4P has demonstrated that working with young people, with their parents, and engaging men and boys in the transformative change that is required to prevent and end violence is effective.  It works.  And this is positive and beneficial not only for these individuals and their families and communities, but for all of us.

Looking forward, it’s the role of all of us here in this room – and beyond – to take this learning and evidence and use it in our work going forward to achieve a world where women and girls – and men and boys – can live free of violence and fear.  At UNFPA, we look forward to continuing to work with you and our partners to do so.


Thank you.