OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat that is responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors for a coordinated and coherent response to emergencies. OCHA integrates gender equality programming into all areas of its core mandate, and is guided by its Policy Instruction on Gender Equality (2016-2020) as well as other relevant internal and inter-agency frameworks.
As a humanitarian coordinating agency, OCHA is responsible for promoting that sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) prevention and response are prioritized as immediate life-saving priorities across all sectors and clusters. One of the Priority Commitments in the OCHA Policy Instruction on Gender Equality (2016-2020) is for OCHA to leverage its leadership in humanitarian action to strengthen collective efforts to prevent and respond to SGBV.
OCHA supports various Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) processes and tools, such as the Gender Reference Group, the Gender Handbook, the IASC Gender and Age Marker and the IASC Guidelines for Integrating GBV Intervention in Humanitarian Action. In 2013, OCHA became a signatory to the global Call to Action on Protection from GBV in Emergencies, including implementing actions in the five-year road map. OCHA commits to ensuring that the prevention and mitigation of and the response to violence against women and girls are incorporated into humanitarian response plans, and that humanitarian leadership strengthens SGBV programming. OCHA is a member of the multilateral Real-Time Accountability Partnership with UNFPA, UNICEF, IRC, USAID and UNHCR. The partnership promotes initiatives to strengthen system-wide accountability and recognition of the prevention of and response to SGBV as life-saving actions at the outset of emergencies. OCHA is also a member of the UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict initiative. It works with other agencies on knowledge- and evidence-building, protection of civilians, strengthened response, and targeted advocacy to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence. OCHA also initiated and continues to guide and host the IASC Gender Standby Capacity Project (GenCap).
Coordination: OCHA contributes to the prioritization of SGBV prevention and response through support to Humanitarian Coordinators, Humanitarian Country Teams and inter-cluster/sector working groups. All sectors/clusters are required to incorporate concrete actions into their plans to prevent and respond to SGBV in emergencies. OCHA is strengthening partnerships with women’s organizations, specialized agencies and other actors, such as the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Gender Standby Capacity Project (GenCap) to promote the achievements of these objectives.
Advocacy: OCHA leverages its inter-agency role to advocate for the prioritization of gender equality and women’s empowerment, the prevention of and response to SGBV, and women’s and girls’ participation in humanitarian action.
Information Management: OCHA strives to ensure that information management highlights SGBV trends as well as prevention, mitigation and response actions in humanitarian reporting. OCHA requires all partners to apply a meaningful gender analysis, including the collection and use of sex- and age-disaggregated data (SADD) in cluster programming.
Humanitarian Financing: OCHA advocates for gender-responsive projects, including through OCHA-managed Country-Based Pooled Funds and the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). It ensures the systematic inclusion of SGBV programming through the mandatory use of the Gender Marker in funded initiatives, and in reports on how gender and SGBV were addressed during project implementation.
Policy: OCHA refers to and disseminates key guidelines of the IASC, such as the IASC GBV Guidelines. OCHA also participates in coordination mechanisms such as the GBV Area of Responsibility, and in global policy processes such as the global Call to Action on Protection from GBV in Emergencies. OCHA also systemically promotes the inclusion of gender and GBV in intergovernmental policy processes and normative frameworks for humanitarian action, including relevant reports of the Secretary-General and the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs segment.
The Gender Handbook for Humanitarian Action. 2017. Inter-Agency Standing Committee. https://reliefweb.int/report/world/iasc-gender-handbook-humanitarian-action-2017.
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee Gender and Age Marker (GAM). 2017. https://reliefweb.int/report/world/iasc-gender-age-marker-gam-2018
The IASC Policy on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls (GEEWG) in Humanitarian Action. 2017. https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/gender-and-humanitarian-action
Different Needs - Equal Opportunities: Increasing Effectiveness of Humanitarian Action for Women, Girls, Boys and Men. 2010. https://www.interaction.org/resources/training/iasc-gender-elearning
OCHA Gender Equality Programming. https://www.unocha.org/themes/gender-equality-programming
OCHA Policy Instruction: Gender Equality: A gender responsive approach. 2010. http://www.unocha.org/sites/dms/Documents/OCHA%20Policy%20Instruction%20on%20Gender%20Equality%202016-2020.pdf
OCHA on Message: SGBV. https://www.unocha.org/publication/ocha-message-sexual-and-gender-based-violence
IASC Gender Standby Capacity Project (GenCap). https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/coordination/gencap/gencap-where-we-are.
Call to Action on Protection from GBV in Emergencies Road Map 2016-2020. https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Call-to-Action-Roadmap.pdf
UN Action Against Sexual Violence. http://www.stoprapenow.org/.
Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Task Force. http://pseataskforce.org/.
The Real-Time Accountability Partnership Framework. https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/RTAP_mockup_FINAL.7Sept2017.pdf
OCHA staff is sensitized on the prevention of gender-based violence, and all partners and staff are informed about applicable codes of conduct. The Office implements confidential complaints mechanisms on gender-based violence, including sexual violence against women and is responsible for managing the sexual exploitation and abuse focal point network.Hide
The project “Strengthening prevention of sexual violence in conflict with parties to armed conflict (phase I)” was submitted for funding to UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict in December 2009. The project, in which UNICEF, UNFPA, DPA and OCHA have partnered up, aims to develop a set of tools and approaches for engaging parties to conflict, and calling on them to respect international law and to stop using rape and other forms of sexual violence as a weapon of warfare.Hide
On behalf of the IASC Sub-working group on Gender, in November 2009 OCHA facilitated a workshop in Panama on gender equality and gender-based violence programming in humanitarian settings for the Central American region. The workshop aimed to roll out the Gender Handbook in Humanitarian Action and the Guidelines for gender-based violence interventions in humanitarian settings.Hide
OCHA’s Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) has produced a number of publications and videos on violence against women in war, and on female genital mutilation. OCHA contributes to awareness-raising and outreach by informing communities about the availability and value of support services for victims of gender-based violence, including sexual violence. It disseminates information on international humanitarian law to arms bearers.Hide
OCHA is the co-chair of the Executive Committees on Humanitarian Affairs and Peace and Security (ECHC/ECPS) UN and NGO Taskforce on protection from sexual exploitation and abuse. It led the development of field-guidance for the implementation of a victim’s assistance programme in accordance with GA resolution 62/214. Since 2008, 25 OCHA advisors have been deployed through GenCap to 18 humanitarian emergencies.Hide
OCHA’s Policy Development and Studies Branch organized an experts meeting to review current research on, and identify gaps in relation to: 1) Sexual violence in armed conflict: understanding the motivations; and 2) The nature, scope and motivation for sexual violence against men and boys in conflict. Key outputs of the meeting were: 1) Identification of research priorities in order to design more effective strategies for preventing sexual violence in armed conflict; and 2) Identification and agreement on next steps to build on the current knowledge-base and establish communities of practice.Hide
A 2011 study “Sex and Age Matter” produced by the Feinstein International Center and sponsored by OCHA and CARE International demonstrates that the humanitarian community needs to greatly increase its collection and use of sex and age disaggregated data (SADD) to better inform programming. Researchers thoroughly reviewed numerous published reports from academia, the UN, non-governmental organizations on the effects of natural disasters and armed conflict on civilian populations, with a focus on publications that used SADD, gender and generational analyses to document and analyze those effects. The report can be found at: http://www.unocha.org/what‐wedo/ policy/thematic‐areas/gender‐equality.Hide
OCHA supports the Gender Standby Capacity Project (GenCap), in collaboration with the Inter‐Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), aimed at building the capacity of humanitarian actors at country level to mainstream gender in all sectors of humanitarian response. From June 2007 to April 2011, 54 GenCap Advisers have supported 30 Humanitarian Country Teams. A Gender-Based Violence (GBV) window has been established in the GenCap Roster. In August 2011, the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPI) embarked on an evaluation which was commissioned to inform the decision over whether the GenCap Project should be phased out, maintained or expanded, in addition to providing concrete suggestions for change. In mid‐September the evaluators interviewed a broad spectrum of stakeholders in Geneva. Field visits included South Sudan, Sudan, Pakistan and Zimbabwe. Two learning workshops were conducted to verify findings and refine recommendations. The evaluation found that GenCap advisers have made an effective contribution to raising awareness and increasing the understanding and acceptance of gender among humanitarian actors. It concluded that the GenCap project remains highly relevant and should be continued in the medium‐term future.Hide
UNICEF and OCHA completed phase 1 of a joint project to prevent use of sexual violence by armed groups. In October 2011, UNODA New York provided expertise to a meeting of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) on ‘Why Women? Effective Engagement for Small Arms Control’ that launched a report on why it is important to include women in small arms control and disarmament initiatives.Hide
OCHA is a founding member of the IASC Steering Committee for the Gender Standby Roster (GenCap) which deploys senior gender advisors to work in humanitarian situations. OCHA supported the GenCap Standby capacity to deploy nine senior gender advisers to the offices of Humanitarian Coordinators to ensure strengthened coordination on programmes to address gender-based violence in conflict and displacement. OCHA participated in inter-agency efforts to develop a standard gender-based violence incident reporting system. OCHA spearheaded efforts along with other members of UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict to pay special attention to gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as to the follow-up to the UN Action mission to Darfur, Sudan.Hide