United Nations: Invest-In-Women Global Summit Mobilizes Millions, Ushers in New Milestone for Local Women’s Organizations on the Front Lines

31 October 2023

(New York) – Government, private sector and civil society leaders convened at the Invest-In-Women Global Summit at UN Headquarters last week to announce new financing for local women’s civil society organizations working to build peace and respond to crises across the globe.

“We are the front liners, and there cannot be peace without us,” said Sudanese activist and WPHF-supported partner Salwa Elsadik in her powerful intervention. “But we also have to fight every day to be heard, to be seen, and to be taken seriously in humanitarian response and peace and security matters.”

Sudanese activist and WPHF partner Salwa Elsadik at the opening of the High-Level Pledging Event of the Invest-In-Women Global Summit, held on 25-26 October 2023 at UN Headquarters. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Held on the sidelines of the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, the two-day summit organized by the United Nations Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) ushered in a new milestone towards WPHF’s #InvestInWomen Global Campaign goal to accelerate financing for local women’s organizations working in fragile settings by the end of 2025.

“Funding for women’s organizations in humanitarian crisis has decreased for two years in a row and we must reverse this alarming trend,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in his opening remarks. That is why I support the #InvestInWomen campaign and I reiterate my call to raise 300M USD for women’s organizations in crisis situations by the end of 2025.”

UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous (right) and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman (second to the right) attended the Invest-In-Women Global Summit, where they were joined by civil society, government and private sector leaders to scale up support for local women’s organizations in fragile settings. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

The Summit’s High-Level Pledging Event and Cocktail Reception on Wednesday evening culminated in 14 UN Member States – including Germany, the United States, Italy, Norway, Austria, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, Iceland, Cyprus, Slovenia, Malta, Belgium and Spain – alongside the Starbucks Foundation representing the private sector – unveiling a total of 56 Million USD in new financing for frontline women’s groups against WPHF’s $300 Million USD #InvestInWomen Campaign Goal and the UNSG’s Transformative Measures on Women, Peace and Security.

“The Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund is providing support to local groups from Ukraine to Afghanistan, Haiti and Sudan,” said Guterres. “I thank donors for their pledges and urge others to contribute. By investing in women, you are investing in global peace and security. Let us stand together with women working to build a better future for all.”

Joining online, First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska highlighted the key role women’s organizations play in responding to crisis and building peace. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

The event, moderated by Zahra Rasool of Al Jazeera, also featured the spirited live performance of Sudanese singer and songwriter Alsarah, who closed the evening in celebration of and solidarity with the local women peacebuilders, humanitarians and human rights defenders who WPHF supports in 41 countries around the world.

The Global Summit culminated on Thursday with a series of Interactive Civil Society Dialogues, where local women’s civil society activists engaged with INGO and government partners to underscore the critical needs and central roles that local women’s organizations play in peace and security and humanitarian settings and strategize how to actively support their transformational work on the front lines.

“Women’s organizations are very fast in recognizing and addressing urgent needs in times of war because we have the connections, resources and knowledge. That’s why it’s so critical to support our work with flexible, agile and sustainable funding – like the one WPHF provides,” stressed WPHF-supported partner Oksana Nechyporenko from Ukraine.

Colombian activist and WPHF partner Bibiana Peñaranda during her intervention at the Interactive Civil Society Dialogues of the #InvestInWomen Global Summit. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown