United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

UN Women
United Nations, New York, NY 10017. USA



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). 

Areas of Focus

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. 



IASC Guidelines for Integrating Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action. 2015. https://gbvguidelines.org/en/home/.

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