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Joint Statement on the Australia-United Kingdom Strategic Dialogue on Gender Equality

International relations

The text of the following statement was released by the governments of Australia and the United Kingdom on the occasion of the inaugural Australia-United Kingdom Strategic Dialogue on Gender Equality (4-5 October 2023).

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At the inaugural Australia-United Kingdom Strategic Dialogue on Gender Equality (4-5 October 2023), Australia and the United Kingdom reaffirmed their commitment to achieving gender equality and the human rights of all women and girls, in all their diversity, including through collaborative global leadership.

The Dialogue occurred at a time of escalating global attempts to pushback on gender equality and regress on the human rights of women and girls. In this global context – with crises, conflicts, and climate change – both countries stressed the importance of protecting, promoting and fulfilling human rights at the core of international norms through partnership and collaboration that makes progress towards, and mitigates risks to achievement of, gender equality.

Australia and the United Kingdom are committed to global leadership and action on the related agendas of Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and ending all forms of gender-based violence. The discussion highlighted the value of national action plans for effective implementation of the WPS agenda, including on the four pillars of prevention, protection, participation and relief and recovery, and in relation to such contemporary challenges as climate change. Australia and the United Kingdom agreed to strengthen collaboration on prevention of and response to conflict-related sexual violence, including through the International Alliance on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict and the International Atrocity Prevention Working Group, as well as efforts to strengthen the international legal architecture.

Australia and the United Kingdom will drive evidence-based prevention and response to gender-based violence in the Indo-Pacific region, with knowledge-sharing and advocacy. Australia and the UK agreed to continue global collaboration and joint advocacy to address both sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, and technology-facilitated gender-based violence, including engagement on a safety-by-design approach. Both countries re-affirmed their commitment to the Global Partnership for Action on Gender-based Online Harassment and Abuse. Australia and the United Kingdom will pursue opportunities to tackle modern slavery, including through collaboration and joint advocacy in multilateral fora that integrates gender, as well as sharing lessons and good practices from regional programming and capacity-strengthening initiatives.

Related to health and wellbeing, Australia and the United Kingdom reiterated their commitment to the full realisation of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all persons, and to prevent, screen and treat cervical cancer, including efforts to accelerate uptake of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, including through the work of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

The centrality of gender equality to sustainable development, shared prosperity and political stability was considered in relation to gender-responsive social protection, trade and women's economic empowerment. Australia and the United Kingdom will maintain advocacy and action on gender-responsive social protection as an effective means of addressing poverty and supporting gender equality outcomes across the life course, including addressing gender-based violence and responding to the impacts of climate change. Both countries agreed to partner with diverse stakeholders on research and dialogues that centre gender equality in social protection, especially in Asia and the Pacific.

There was agreement to strengthen coordination and collaboration on advancing gender equality in international trade, including through the exchange of information and good practices, as well as in multi-lateral fora. Both countries recognised that international trade should reduce inequities and inequalities, and committed to action under the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement, particularly the Trade and Gender Equality chapter, and to the Buenos Aires Declaration on Trade and Women's Economic Empowerment. On women's economic empowerment, Australia and the United Kingdom agreed to explore opportunities in Southeast Asia, such as relating to gender-lens investing and climate-smart investments.

In pushing forward on gender equality, both countries concurred on strengthened engagement with other countries and civil society organisations, including women's rights organisations, across multilateral fora, informal working groups and broad coalitions in support of women's and girls' human rights. In coming months, Australia and the UK will work together in preparation for the 2024 sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Population and Development, as well as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings.

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