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World: Protection from sexual exploitation and abuse: UNICEF IASC championship 2018-2019, October 2019

Source: Inter-Agency Standing Committee, UN Children s Fund Country: World
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Women and children affected by crises - natural disasters, armed conflicts, and complex humanitarian emergencies - are particularly at risk of sexual exploitation and abuse because they are in need of humanitarian assistance. Sexual exploitation and abuse by humanitarian workers is an appalling protection failure and a violation of universally recognized international legal norms and standards. The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), the primary mechanism for inter-agency coordination of humanitarian assistance, holds a longstanding commitment to protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA), and in 2002 the IASC adopted Six Core Principles on PSEA as clear standards for humanitarian workers. The role of the IASC Champion on PSEA has served to keep the issue high on the agenda of humanitarian leaders. In 2018, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore took up the mantle of IASC Champion on PSEA and Sexual Harassment.
The IASC adopted a Champions Strategy on PSEA and Sexual Harassment, and UNICEF Executive Director focused on accelerating PSEA in countries facing humanitarian crises, a core contribution to the strategy. During 2018-19, the IASC invested in resourcing country-level PSEA systems and services, supporting senior leadership, and deploying technical specialists in order to accelerate protection from SEA in crisis-affected communities. Under UNICEF Executive Director Fore’s leadership, the IASC developed and endorsed the IASC Plan for Accelerating PSEA in Humanitarian Response at Country Level (“the IASC Acceleration Plan”), which commits to scale-up PSEA through collective action and investment by its members. The IASC Plan articulates three priority outcomes to be implemented as part of every Humanitarian Response Plan or Refugee Response Plan: 1) safe and accessible reporting mechanisms that can receive and respond to incidents of SEA; 2) quality assistance for survivors of SEA; and 3) the ability to offer survivors prompt, confidential and respectful investigations.
To support implementation of the Acceleration Plan, the IASC conducted a mapping of country-level PSEA systems in 2018 that identified critical capacity and resource gaps, while setting a baseline for progress. In 12 countries facing humanitarian crises, less than 25 per cent of the affected population had access to a channel for SEA reporting. Access to assistance for survivors of SEA was also limited, with only four out of 34 humanitarian country teams estimating that 75 per cent or more of women and children could access gender-based violence (GBV) services. Most humanitarian country teams could not indicate an approximate timeframe for triggering an investigation after a SEA allegation is reported. IASC members scaled up their investments in PSEA to deliver results in these three priority areas for communities affected by crises. ERC Lowcock created a $1 million fund for investigation capacity to strengthen accountability for PSEA. During 2018-19, UNICEF committed $21.6 million of internal resources to 32 countries facing humanitarian emergencies to accelerate PSEA. IOM, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, and WHO all committed to filling the gaps in PSEA Coordi as a result, 29 of 35 countries facing humanitarian crises are supported. Humanitarian Coordinators are actively engaged in leading the PSEA work at country-level.
With a clear results framework and a structure in place under the Resident Coordinator/ Humanitarian Coordinator’s leadership accountable for its implementation, Humanitarian Country Teams are tracking progress on PSEA. At country level, PSEA Coordinators will prioritize engaging government, civil society, and all partners to achieve the priority outcomes. IASC accomplishments for PSEA this year have taken root and will become integral to each humanitarian response.


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