OREANDA-NEWS. EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, made the announcement at the ''Women Deliver'' Conference in Copenhagen today, one of the world's largest events on women and girls' rights, health and well-being.

Commissioner Neven Mimica, said: ''The Commission is fully dedicated to ending all forms of violence against women and girls, including early or forced marriages, which not only constitute a violation of their human rights but are blatant examples of discrimination rooted in gender inequalities. Put simply, gender equality and global development cannot be achieved until all forms of gender-based violence are ended. Today's EU contribution of 19 million will further support this aim.''

The European Commission's new financial contribution is aimed at strengthening women's empowerment and will benefit women and girls in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The envisaged grants will provide support to three projects implemented with the help of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and theUnited Nations Children's Rights and Emergency Relief Organisation (UNICEF), targeting the sustainable end to child marriage, improving the sex ratio at birth and fighting female genital mutilation (FGM).

Some 700 million girls and women alive today were married as children, and a further 280 million girls alive today will be married by age 18 if this issues is not tackled with urgency. This is one of the reasons forced child marriage was included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under goal number 5 on gender equality, on which the EU is a fierce defender and supporter together with many international partners.

In addition, gender equality is at the heart of the EU's development cooperation policy. To address this complex issue the EU adopted in autumn 2015 a new Gender Action Plan ''Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women through EU External Relations'' (GAP) for 2016-2020. The financial support announced today is fully in line with the new Gender Action Plan (GAP) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The European Commission is committed to the idea of building and strengthening existing partnerships in achieving all the targets by 2030.

During the Women's Deliver Conference, Commissioner Mimica will take part in a discussion entitled ''Men with Power: Delivering for Girls and Women”, which looks at the role of men and boys on achieving gender equality and eliminating gender stereotypes.