UN-Women has continued bringing the critical issue to the center of the normative agenda. This has been reflected in Agreed Conclusions of the 65th Session of the CSW. Available here
UN Women promulgated an update of its policy on the prevention of Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Abuse of Authority in May 2020. The policy has been revised to notably: (i) clarify the purpose of the policy (ii) incorporate elements of the CEB Task Force on Harassment Model Policy, including strengthened language on zero tolerance, victim-centred approach and updated definitions (iii) update roles & responsibilities Three specific role-based guidance in relation to sexual harassment for supervisors, affected persons and alleged perpetrators were developed in conjunction, providing clear and concise information.
The Procedure for Selecting Programme Partners was revised by UN Women to include a SEA assessment of partners in accordance with the UN Protocol on Allegations of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse involving Implementing Partners, and the corresponding ST/SGB/2003/13 provisions. As part of the implementation of the revised procedure, a new Partner Agreement template for contracting programme partners was developed. The Partner Agreement includes, inter alia, an outline of the standard of care expected of programme partners relating to SEA; an undertaking by the programme partner that they accept the standards of conduct set out in ST/SGB/2003/13; an acknowledgement that SEA are strictly prohibited and that UN Women will apply a policy of zero tolerance with regard to SEA; and the requirement that the programme partner investigate and report any allegations of SEA to UN Women and that personnel whom they engaged have undertaken training on prevention and response to SEA (including access via a link to the United Nations SEA online training for all implementing partners).
The study on “Prospects for Ending Child Marriage in Africa: Implications on Legislation, Policy, Culture & Interventions” undertook mapping of the legislative frameworks in 10 countries in Africa, which is also guiding the countries in strengthening the EVAW and Child Marriage legislations. The ESARO is supporting in the framing of bye-laws to harmonize the national laws with the customary laws in line with the international conventions. At least in 5 countries such initiatives are ongoing, these include, Malawi, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Liberia.
A study on “Mapping of Discrimination Faced by Women with Disabilities in ESAR” also highlighted the various forms of discrimination and violence faced by women with disabilities and will help advocacy with member states on enactment of legislation and policy in the 6 study countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Report: Regional Forum Promoting the Implementation of the Istanbul Convention in the Western Balkans and Turkey
This report presents a summary of the discussions held during the first Regional Forum on Promoting the Implementation of the Istanbul Convention in the Western Balkans and Turkey. Convened by the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, UN Women, the European Union, and the Council of Europe (CoE), in partnership with European Women’s Lobby, the regional forum reviewed progress in fulfillment of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention. The forum took place within the framework of the EU-UN Women regional programme “Implementing Norms, Changing Minds".
Report: Second Regional Forum Promoting the Implementation of the Istanbul Convention in the Western Balkans and Turkey
The report presents a summary of discussions and conclusions from the Second Regional Forum Promoting the Implementation of the Istanbul Convention in the Western Balkans and Turkey. Convened by the Government of Albania, UN Women, the European Union, and the Council of Europe, the Second Regional Forum reviewed progress in ending violence against women and girls and implementing the Istanbul Convention in the region. The forum took place on 9-10 October 2019 under the framework of the EU-UN Women regional programme "Implementing Norms, Changing Minds."
Mid-term review of the ASEAN Regional Plan for Action on EVAW
UN Women supported the mid-term review of the implementation of the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action for Ending Violence against Women. UN Women provided financial and technical support to facilitate the review, to draw lessons learned and recommendations from the review, which will be reflected in the next workplan of the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action.
UN Women promulgated an update of its policy on the prevention of Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Abuse of Authority in May 2020. The policy has been revised to notably:
(i) clarify the purpose of the policy
(ii) incorporate elements of the CEB Task Force on Harassment Model Policy, including strengthened language on zero tolerance, victim-centred approach and updated definitions
(iii) update roles & responsibilities Three specific role-based guidance in relation to sexual harassment for supervisors, affected persons and alleged perpetrators were developed in conjunction, providing clear and concise information.
UN Women revised its Procedure for Selecting Programme Partners to include a SEA assessment of partners in accordance with the UN Protocol on Allegations of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse involving Implementing Partners, and the corresponding ST/SGB/2003/13 provisions. As part of the implementation of the revised procedure, a new Partner Agreement template for contracting programme partners was developed. The Partner Agreement includes, inter alia, an outline of the standard of care expected of programme partners relating to SEA; an undertaking by the programme partner that they accept the standards of conduct set out in ST/SGB/2003/13; an acknowledgement that SEA are strictly prohibited and that UN Women will apply a policy of zero tolerance with regard to SEA; and the requirement that the programme partner investigate and report any allegations of SEA to UN Women and that personnel whom they engaged have undertaken training on prevention and response to SEA (including access via a link to the United Nations SEA online training for all implementing partners).
On 21 December 2020, in Kazakhstan UN Women conveyed the consultations to validate the findings of the analysis of a compliance of Kazakhstan national legislation with CoE/Istanbul Convention and discuss perspectives of Kazakhstan to join the Convention. This is now being followed-up within the Spotlight Regional Programme for Central Asia.
Sensitization of local stakeholders to the Istanbul Convention is one of the objectives of the Spotlight Programme in Tajikistan. It's also a regular topic at various relevant occasions.
Ending violence against women is at the core of UNFPA’s mandate, as reflected in the three transformative results to be achieved by 2030: ending the unmet need for family planning, ending preventable maternal deaths, and ending gender-based violence and all harmful practices against women and girls.
UNFPA is focused on accelerating and maximizing the positive impact of life-saving, gender-transformative GBV programming for women and girls in all their diversity, including escalating social norm change programme interventions to address the root causes of violence.
UNFPA contributed to the Generation Equality Forum from its outset, from advocating for the creation of a coalition on sexual and reproductive health and rights and becoming a co-lead in the Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, contributing to the GBV Action Coalition and providing technical contributions to the development of the Action Coalition Blueprint.
In October 2020, UNHCR released its first agency-wide Policy on the Prevention of, Risk Mitigation and Response to Gender-based Violence. The Policy institutionalizes the work on GBV through nine core actions that respond to its gaps and advance on quality programming and coordination across the organization, while consolidating the progress made to prevent, mitigate and respond to GBV in various operational contexts by UNHCR’s and partners. With this Policy, UNHCR reiterates that GBV as a serious human rights violation rooted in power imbalances, which disproportionally affects diverse women and girls around the world. It recognizes that the risk of experiencing GBV increases in situations of displacement and conflict and promotes gender equality in all aspects of its work, ensuring that all programming and coordination efforts contribute to strengthening efforts to respond to protection needs, promoting gender equality and the prevention of GBV.
The GBV Policy completes the UNHCR Policy on Age, Gender and Diversity, launched in 2018 and which has 5 actions on addressing gender inequality.
UNODC worked closely with the CECAW Committee to support the development of the General Recommendation no. 38 on Trafficking in Women and Girls in the Context of Global Migration (i.e. contributed significantly to consultations, organized the regional Expert Group Meeting for Europe, Central Asia and the Balkans, coordinated a separated joint ICAT submission).
Other activities included:
- Support to the 30th Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (May 2021), which adopted a resolution recognizing the "importance of eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation",
- Support towards organizing a Multi-stakeholder Hearing on implementation of the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons (GPA), on 13 July 2021, which discussed topics such as sexual exploitation of women and girls and the principle of non-punishment of victims of trafficking.
- UNODC also coordinated the preparation of a join ICAT submission to the GPA appraisal process, underlining the importance of integrating violence prevention measures aimed to tackle the social norms that promote the commodification of women and children and normalize violence against women and girls.
ESCWA, in partnership with UN Women, UNDP and UNFPA, held a special online meeting with its Committee on Women on “Policy Responses to Protect Women and Girls from the Impact of COVID-19” on 23 April 2020.
ESCWA, in partnership with UN Women, UNFPA, UNICEF, and UNDP, delivered online training for the National Family Safety Programme (NFSP) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on “Building and Delivering Effective Hotline Service Provision during the COVID-19 Pandemic” during May 2020.
ESCWA delivered an online workshop for the Republic of the Sudan entitled “Best Practices and Shared Experiences on Shelters for Women Survivors of Violence in the Republic of the Sudan” on 25-27 August 2020.
ESCWA, in cooperation with the Supreme Council for Family Affairs of Kuwait, organized a “Webinar Series on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in the State of Kuwait” on 28-29 September and 13 October 2020.
ESCWA, in partnership with UN Women, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP and UNODC, coordinated and delivered a series of 12 webinars on Violence against Women and COVID-19 for the National Family Safety Programme (NFSP) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, from October-December 2020.
ESCWA, in partnership with UN Women, the League of Arab States and the Arab Institute for Women at the Lebanese American University, organized a high level virtual meeting on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of UNSCR 1325 on 4 November 2020.
ESCWA, in partnership with UN Women, UNFPA, UNDP and the League of Arab States, organized and facilitated webinar sessions on gender justice and the law designed to better inform members of the subcommittee on gender equality and SDGs on tools to examine and align national legislation with international frameworks, most notably CEDAW, Beijing Platform of Action and SDG target 5.1 on 8-10 December 2020.
ESCWA, in partnership with the Arab Women Organization, facilitated “Sub-regional Training Webinars on Reporting to the Committee on All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)” on 12-16 January 2021.
ESCWA, with support from ABAAD, delivered an online workshop for the National Family Safety Programme (NFSP) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on “Supporting Women between Empowerment and Rehabilitation: Different Approaches” during March 2021.
ESCWA delivered an online workshop for the Sultanate of Oman entitled “Technical support in the field of combating violence against women in the Sultanate of Oman: Ensuring a comprehensive and holistic approach to addressing violence against women through legal/policy frameworks and service provision” on 22-23 June 2021.
ESCWA, in partnership with UN Women and WHO, delivered an online workshop for representatives from National Women Machineries and other relevant stakeholders who provide services for survivors of violence on “Services to Protect Women Survivors of Violence the Arab Region” on 26-29 July 2021.
UN-Women designed and facilitated a 3 half-day, scenario-based capacity building workshop specifically for its PSEA focal points from all regions. To additionally ensure alignment with the UN system wide PSEA strategy and its UNCT operationalization, UN-Women invited speakers from the Victims’ Rights Advocate, the UN Development Coordination Office, and the Office of the Special Coordinator for improving the UN response to SEA.
Scenario-based trainings for addressing SEA and SH were developed by UN Women to complement and contextualize the existing mandatory online training for both topics. The case scenarios used were specifically created for the UN-Women contexts to maximize relevance and relatability of the training. UN Women piloted the tow trainings in 4 country offices and is in the process of coordinating their rollout across the organization.
UN Women East and Southern Regional Office has organized a 4-day training for electoral management bodies, political parties, security institutions, and relevant women’s organizations who are major stakeholders in the conduct of elections, on Preventing Violence Against Women in Elections using the UN WOMEN Preventing VAWE in Elections Guide. The training aims to provide election stakeholders and relevant civil society organizations with in-depth knowledge on the nature and consequences of VAWE, and tools and good practices to prevent it and/or mitigate its consequences.
In Zimbabwe UN Women provided technical support and capacity building to key electoral stakeholders, including the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Zimbabwe National Police, to enhance institutional capacities to monitor VAWP. These initiatives include development of knowledge, capacity building efforts, development of partnerships with political parties and key state actors, creating avenues for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to work with institutions such as the Zimbabwe Republic Police and civil society to address the problem. UN Women trained 80 (45 women and 35 men) members of the police service and supported the development of the police strategic document for police 2021 to 2025. The initiative equipped the police with skills to monitor VAWP.
At the East & Southern African regional level, to bring the global commitments to the field and to create an enabling safe, secure and equitable environment in line with the UN Secretary-Generals guidance, a Training of Trainers program on “Gender Parity” and “Prevention of Sexual Harassment, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse” was organized in partnership with UN Women HQ with participation by 42 participants from 12 countries in the region representing UN Women, UNPFA, UNHCR, IOM, ICAO and UNDSS in Mombasa, Kenya. Following the training at least 5 countries have replicated the training in their countries and also took initiatives to establish and strengthen the PSEA task forces.
In Kenya, UN Women continued to play a key role in convening and leading stakeholders to demand accountability for ending violence against women and girls, while at the same time ensuring access to quality and essential services for survivors. As one of the key highlights, UN Women together with its’ partners convened a National GBV Conference in 2019 bringing together over 450 participants from across the country with the aim to harness accountability for GBV prevention and response. As a result of the Conference a communique with 27 recommendations articulating roles for each duty bearer was finalized.
Standardization of GBV training was improved through UN Women support in the development of the Safe Spaces and Applicability Manual, the GBV Service Providers Data Bank tools, and the Model Gender-Based Violence Recovery Centers Guidance Note. These tools are expected to provide a harmonized training curriculum for use by duty bearers while the guidance note will provide a framework for provision of GBV services within a multi-sectoral framework. The Harmonized GBV Training Manual was also finalized. Further KCO led in the development of the “Implementation Guide for the Global Women’s Safety Framework”. The guide to implementation provides a “how to” and a “step by step” guidance for tea chain producers who are keen to address sexual harassment. Prevention and response to GBV by the National Police Service was strengthened through KCO’s support in the development of a National Action Plan (NAP). The NAP provides for the creation of a special gender crimes unit within the policy system and provides opportunities for all actors to strengthen their partnership with the Police, by seeking to support different aspects of the action plan.
A number of capacity building and trainings were undertaken targeting law enforcement and other officials in the ESAR countries. Most significantly, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda and Zimbabwe also benefited from the Spotlight funding and undertook a number of initiatives aimed at training and capacity building of relevant actors in addressing VAW, HP and promotion of SRHR.
Roll-out of RESPECT
Together with the Prevention Collaborative and WHO, UN Women rolled out the RESPECT framework and Implementation Package in Bangladesh, India and Nepal in early 2021. The workshop series was attended by representatives from UN entities, civil society, academic and governments and resulted in national workplace to take forward initiatives to prevent VAW.
Webinar series on the use of technology for remote service provision to support survivors of violence
Frontline service providers who have been utilizing technology to deliver services to women migrant workers shared their lessons learned and tips to use technology safely especially in the context of COVID-19. The three sessions facilitated linkages between violence against women services and technologies by adapting remote methods used in service delivery to meet the survivor-centered principles of privacy, confidentiality and security. Two technical briefs were launched during the webinar: “Safe Technology for the Provision of Services to Women Migrant Workers at Risk of or Subject to Violence” and “Remote Service Provision for Women Migrant Workers at Risk or Subject to Violence” with the Action Cards: 10 Things to Know About Violence against Women Migrant Workers.
Responsible Representation and Reporting of VAW/VAC
The new Guidelines on Responsible representation and reporting of violence against women and violence against children, developed by UN Women, UNFPA and UNICEF, provide recommendations to media professionals to ensure that media coverage does not contribute to harm. This document offers guidance on interviewing survivors of violence, applying an intersectional and survivor-centered approach to reporting, avoiding victim-blaming or stereotyping, and using gender-responsive language. This guideline emerged from conversations within the regional UNITE Working Group during COVID-19.
Webinar Series on Violence against Women and Girls Data Collection and Use
The webinar series was organized to engage VAWG professionals, national statistics offices and service providers to deepen and exchange practices regarding the collection, analysis and use of data on violence against women with a specific focus on administrative data. The webinar series explored the main types of VAWG data – prevalence, costing data – and strengthen reporting on VAWG-related indicators. The webinar was based on the ASEAN Regional Guidelines on Violence against Women and Girls Data Collection and Use.
Addressing Violence and Harassment in the World of Work: Women migrant workers in ASEAN
A training tool to complement the ILO-UN Women “Handbook: Addressing violence and harassment against women in the world of work” was developed to be used in trainings on the continuum of violence faced by women and women migrant workers. The tool specifically targets CSOs and key government stakeholders. This tool focuses on addressing violence and harassment against women in the world of work, featuring examples from ASEAN and highlighting specific risks related to women migrant workers.
With UN Women Albania Support:
- Capacities of 231 service providers increased in ensuring familiarity and use of changes to legal framework on GBV.
- Capacities of 71 service providers from 4 municipalities of the country were increased to address cases of VAWG from vulnerable communities such as Roma women, women with disabilities, women from LGBTQI+ community.
- There is better coordination among actors of the referral mechanisms which address cases of violence against women was ensured through workshops in the municipalities of Prrenjas, Peqin, Cerrik, Belsh, Gramsh and Elbasan with a total of 69 CCR members.
- Staff of 27 administrative units of Tirana increased capacities to respond to violence against women and girls through 11 capacity building sessions.
With UN Women Bosnia and Herzegovina support extensive number of trainings was conducted resulting in: more than 190 individuals have better knowledge on gender equality and GBV including sexual harassment in public space; 21 teacher and 35 high school students have capacities to conduct advanced prevention activities in high schools; and 15 religious' leaders across BiH have in depth knowledge on violence against women and how this can be prevented; and finally, more than 20 media professionals have increased knowledge on responsible reporting on GBV.
As a result of UN Women Ukraine support: 36 (12 men and 24 women) representatives of local authorities and local legal aid providers from Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts increase their knowledge on applying a survivor-centred approach when developing policies and implementing services for gender-based violence victims/survivors; 37 persons (35 women and 2 men), Deputy Heads of communities and Heads of Social Protection Departments from target communities of Donetsk oblast and Luhansk oblast increased their knowledge on the international and national legal frameworks on the prevention and counteraction of domestic and gender-based violence, on effective coordination and referral aimed at ensuring quality protection and a coordinated response, through a two-day training; UN Women jointly with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and National Police of Ukraine developed the “Guidelines for police on prevention and response to domestic violence in Ukraine”; 60 (51 women, 9 men) of media representatives from Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts increased their knowledge on gender-sensitive and human rights-based reporting.
Pursuing the goal to increase police capacity to hold domestic violence offenders accountable and better protect the safety of victims and their children, UN Women Moldova CO supported various capacity building and as a result:
- 16 police officers, including 6 women and 10 men, representing different regions from Moldova are certified trainers and have knowledge and skills to deliver EVAW trainings for law enforcement officials, as part of the team of national trainers within Center for Integrated Application of Legislation (CIPAL) (2020).
- In 2021, UN Women CO is supporting a comprehensive capacity building in partnership with the General Inspectorate of Police, the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation, and the National Inspectorate of Public Security for the up 400 police officers. As result of the first phase - 8 two-day training activities 182 police officers, 93 from criminal investigative and 89 public security division, 75 women and 107 men from 36 different regions of the country acquired relevant knowledge and skills to respond promptly and in accordance with the provision of national law to cases of domestic violence.
In addition to that, to support the establishment of a specialist service for victims of sexual violence in Cahul and Ungheni, over 41 law enforcement representatives and medical staff, psychologists, and social assistants have acquired new knowledge and skills for a better response to cases of sexual violence to trauma-oriented approach and coordination of efforts of all specialists involved in response to cases of sexual violence.
In Tajikistan – series of training for WLWH have been conducted to build their leadership skills and adopt transformational leadership approach in advocating for the life free of violence and discrimination. Service providers in SPT pilot districts have been trained in localized case-management system.
25 participants, most of whom are lawyers of human rights organizations or individual practicing lawyers with more than 10 years of experience (68% of participants), have been trained and increased their knowledge and skills on International standards and procedures for the protection of women and girls from gender-based violence and procedures for filing complaints with CEDAW and other UN convention bodies on an online training which was held for lawyers and advocates in Dushanbe and Khujand.
Over 80 of experts, general public, community and beneficiaries in Tajikistan have strengthened their knowledge and understanding on mechanisms of legal protection and assessment of physical and psychological injuries resulting from violence and mechanisms of legal protection and medical documentation from impunity.
In the frames of the 16 Days campaign, the local UN Women partner, NGO Human Right Center, received technical and logistical support from UN Women to conduct two webinars "Mechanisms of Legal Protection and Assessment of Physical and Psychological Injuries Resulting from Violence" (November 25th) and "Mechanisms of Legal Protection and Medical Documentation from Impunity" (December 1st).
According to the report, in total, 84 women, girls, lawyers, health specialists, psychologists, etc. participated in the webinars and increased their knowledge and understanding on the topics and the ways to address violence and related issues. Notably, representatives of WLWH, one of the most marginalized and discriminated group of the Tajik society, have also participated in the webinars. UN Women contributed to this by supporting local NGO Human Rights Center in preparation of those webinars by provision relevant information and data. Several local gender activists and advocates contributed to the webinars by leading thematic sessions and answering questions from participants.
After launching the COVID-19 and EVAWG outreach campaign, the Red Crescent Society in Tajikistan encountered several challenges in capacity building and training of volunteers in EVAWG realm due to social distancing modalities and health-related issues which caused constant turnover of NGO staff and volunteers. The duration of the project was only 5 months and UN Women tried to come up with innovative, promising, and effective service delivery modalities, especially in conveying outreach and VAWG essentials to the volunteers, who have been mainly trained in disaster response and emergency. As a solution to face-to-face training, UN Women developed a digital tutorial for community volunteers and NGOs on outreach essentials, communication skills with the victims of violence and further referral of these victims to the local VAWG service providers. The digital tutorial was adapted to the mobile version and disseminated among volunteers. Volunteers had hands-on guidelines on communication modalities, identification of VAWG cases and referral mechanism in their mobile phones, which they used in a daily work in remote districts. According to the Red Crescent Society and NGOs, work efficiency and coverage have increased as newcomers among volunteers used the tutorial instead of face-to-face induction training.
15 professional lawyers, members of the Tajik Bar Associations enhanced their knowledge in mainstreaming gender in justice sector, criminal, and civil cases, considering a human rights-based approach and consequences of HIV/AIDS.
UN Women Tajikistan strengthened the capacity of NGO staff and volunteers through trainings on VAWG case management and referral mechanism, supporting 12-hour operation of 12 NGO staff for remote consultations and developed information materials on VAWG support services in 6 target districts (Isfara, B. Gafurov, Vose, Rudaki, Gissar and Yavan).
UNDP has organized a series of trainings on gender and GBV for local government officials including police and judiciary, CSOs, and survivors.
In Azerbaijan, UNDP trained local women-activists to provide rapid psychosocial support, safety plans, case management and referrals to assist GBV survivors of all genders.
With the support of the Johns Hopkins University, the Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA), a trans-diagnostic mental health intervention developed for delivery by non-professionals, is being implemented in Moldova. CETA is also an evidence-based programme demonstrated to significantly prevent intimate partner violence.
UNDP Iraq , Fiji, Maldives, Serbia, Ukraine, Brazil, Peru and others also provided training on GBV prevention for judges, prosecutors and police officers to end gender-based violence.
The office in Somalia supported a SGBV programme in Mogadishu and Puntland starting in 2020. A fully functional SGBV Unit was established and staffed in Mogadishu. UNDP also worked with Office of the Attorney General in Puntland, with the aim of providing technical support and building the capacity of the institution to promote access to justice for survivors/victims of sexual and gender-based violence
A three days’ workshop, providing Libya law enforcement with information related to offenses that constitute gender-based violence (GBV), was organized by UNDP Libya.