HNPW Session: Strengthening Inger-Agency Efforts to Prevent and Address Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) Across the Humanitarian Response
In recent years, the humanitarian community has taken a series of significant steps to prevent and address sexual exploitation and abuse. These include the longstanding commitments taken by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) to strengthen the humanitarian sector’s approach to preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and sexual harassment (SH).
Humanitarian organizations are obligated to implement mechanisms to prevent and respond to SEA including effectively assisting victims, in line with the Secretary-General’s Bulletin on special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (ST/SGB/2003/13; 2003),
Despite a sector-wide focus on the issue, the level of SEA reporting remains low. A GBV/PSEA mapping research conducted by UNFPA in 2020, identified alarming gaps to be addressed. The main gaps are: GBV programming including GBV support services is grossly underfunded, nonexistent in some contexts, and may not meet the needs of survivors of SEA. Survivor-centred approach may exist in theory but often not in practice within the contexts of SEA mandatory reporting, investigations, community based feedback mechanism and SEA survivor assistance. GBV referral pathways often do not include explicit information on SEA survivor assistance, including how to safely report an SEA incident.
The role of the IASC Champion on PSEAH has served to keep the issue high on the agenda of humanitarian leaders. The IASC Champion on PSEAH supports the vision of a humanitarian environment in which people affected by crises are safe and respected, and can access the protection and assistance they need without fear of exploitation or abuse by any aid worker.
Last year, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees took over the role of IASC Champion on PSEAH from UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore pushing forward three priorities: 1. Bolstering prevention, 2. expanding safe spaces and 3. promoting a respectful use of authorities.
Effective January 2021, UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem took over the IASC Championship on PSEAH from Mr. Filippo Grandi the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Over the course of the year, UNFPA will focus on three core priorities: 1.Bolstering PSEA country mechanisms, 2. Improving access to quality assistance and 3. Strengthening coordination and coherence. Building on the work of previous Champions, UNFPA this year will focus on strengthening a survivor-centered approach to preventing and addressing SEA.
Additional efforts have been made to strengthen the survivor-centred approach to prevent and address SEA such as the United Nations (UN) Victims Assistance Protocol which builds upon the United Nations Comprehensive Strategy on Assistance and Support to Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by United Nations Staff and Related Personnel (A/RES/62/214) adopted by the General Assembly adopted on 21 December 2007. The Protocol aims to provide consistent direction across the United Nations system on the provision of assistance and support to victims.
Technical exchange on assistance and support to victim of sexual exploitation and abuse will enhance coordination and commitment towards a system-wide survivor-centred approach.
The objectives of the session are:
1.Raise awareness on the PSEAH Championships; Where do we stand on PSEA? What have we learned from the 2020 Championship? What lessons can be drawn from collective efforts to prevent and address SEA at the country level.
2.UNFPA presentation of the GBV/PSEA mapping analysis on linkages to existing inter-agency GBV referral mechanisms highlighting a number of gaps and challenges related to improving safe and ethical access for SEA survivors to GBV support services.
3.Presentation on the UN Protocol on Victim Assistance and associated efforts to address implementation of the protocol.
4.Understanding the mechanisms of collaboration between PSEA networks, GBV sub-cluster coordination with a focus on Victim Assistance and linkages with GBV support services.