The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) is a unique inter-agency forum for coordination, policy development and decision-making involving the key United Nations and non-United Nations humanitarian partners. Together with the Executive Committee for Humanitarian Affairs, the IASC forms the key strategic coordination mechanism among major humanitarian actors.
According to General Assembly resolution 46/182, the IASC is intended to be composed of all operational organizations and with a standing invitation to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the International Organization for Migration. Relevant non-governmental organizations can be invited to participate on an ad hoc basis.
In December 2006, the IASC Principals converted the IASC Gender Task Force into a Sub-Working Group on Gender and Humanitarian Action and agreed to support the strategy for integration of gender as a crosscutting issue into the Cluster Approach and into other elements of the humanitarian reform. The IASC Sub-Working Group addresses gender-based violence in conflict and post-conflict situations, and in humanitarian settings. It is co-chaired by OCHA and WHO. The members of the Task Force are: CARE, FAO, INEE, ICRC, IFRC, IMC, IOM, IRC, NRC, OCHA, OHCHR, Office RSG/IDPs, OSAGI, OXFAM, UNDAW, UNDESA, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, UNMAS, WFP, WHO, and the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children. Attempts will be made to broaden partnerships and expand membership.
The IASC was established in response to United Nations General Assembly resolution 46/182 on the strengthening of humanitarian assistance. General Assembly resolution 48/57 affirmed its role as the primary mechanism for inter-agency coordination of humanitarian assistance.
The work of the IASC Sub-Working Group on Gender and Humanitarian Assistance focuses on the implementation of a 5 point strategy which is reviewed yearly and revised as needed.
The 5 key objectives for 2008 were to:
*Implement gender and gender-based violence (GBV) standards contained in guidance documents produced by the SWG.
*Build capacity of humanitarian actors on gender issues including gender-based violence (GBV) and deploy experts on gender and GBV in emergencies.
*Get the right data by encouraging the collection and use of sex and age disaggregated data for decision-making.
*Build partnerships with NGOs for increased and more consistent gender equality programming in crises.
*Strengthen accountability systems on gender and GBV in humanitarian action.
The following key objectives were identified for the work of the IASC SWG in 2009:
*Continuation of roll out of key Sub-Working Group Documents, including the “Women, Girls, Boys and Men, Different Needs – Equal Opportunities” Handbook and Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings in a coordinated manner and in several languages.
*Build capacity of humanitarian actors on gender issues, including gender-based violence.
*Support collection and use of sex and age disaggregated data (SADD) for decision-making.
*Build partnerships with non-governmental organizations for increased and more consistent gender equality programming in crises.
*Strengthen accountability systems on gender and gender-based violence in humanitarian action.
*Strengthen mechanisms for integrating gender and gender-based violence into the work of relevant clusters and other coordination mechanisms including at the regional level.
Inter-agency regional workshops were held in Bangkok, Nairobi, and Johannesburg to facilitate roll-out of the Gender Handbook. The Gender-Based Violence Guidelines were translated into Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Spanish and Portuguese. In June 2008, the IASC Sub Working Group on Gender released a SOP template for prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence in IDP settings, based on the UNHCR template.Hide
The IASC Task Force on Gender and Humanitarian Assistance issued a statement of commitment on actions to address gender-based violence, re-emphasizing members’ individual and collective responsibility to undertake concerted action aimed at preventing gender-based violence, ensuring appropriate care and follow-up for victims/survivors of sexual violence and working towards holding perpetrators of sexual violence accountable. In 2005, the IASC Task Force on Gender and Humanitarian Assistance published Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Emergencies: Focusing on Prevention and Response to Sexual Violence. The Guidelines are a tool for actors in the field to establish a multi-sectoral coordinated approach to gender-based violence programming in emergency settings. OCHA’s role has been to provide support for the development and use of the IASC Guidelines.Hide
The IASC Gender Sub-Working Group (SWG) on Gender and Humanitarian Action, in collaboration with InterAction, developed an e-learning course for humanitarian workers to teach them how to develop programming that ensures that the needs and capacities of women, girls, boys and men are met in humanitarian situations. This course draws on important IASC handbooks, including: - Women, Girls, Boys and Men, Different Needs – Equal Opportunities - Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian SettingsHide
The Gender Capacity Standby Roster (GenCap) Steering Committee held its annual planning and strategy meeting in October 2009. It decided to increase the number of deployments from 120 months in 2009 to 170 months in 2010 and to recruit more members to the GenCap roster. The IASC Gender Sub-Working Group (SWG) on Gender and Humanitarian Action, in collaboration with InterAction, developed a certificate-based online course on gender in humanitarian action. The target audience is humanitarian field workers, and prevention of gender-based violence in a key facet of the course.Hide