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Female Empowerment Should Guide All Aspects of Humanitarian Efforts, Says Deputy Secretary-General at ‘Call to Action’ Event

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the World Humanitarian Summit side event on “Call to Action for Addressing Gender-Based Violence”, in Istanbul today:

I welcome the initiative to hold a side event on gender-based violence at the World Humanitarian Summit.  I also commend the efforts made by partners in the Call to Action initiative which seeks to transform the way this issue is addressed in humanitarian operations.

It is time for the humanitarian community to focus better and earlier on this important area.  Gender-based violence is frequent in all humanitarian emergencies.  Yet, preventing and responding to it is still not treated as a priority in the early stages of an emergency.

It is time that all humanitarian assistance interventions include a gender perspective and address gender-based violence from the beginning.  This World Humanitarian Summit will generate a number of political commitments.  I welcome that the Call to Action provides a framework to follow up these commitments.  It is a tool for humanitarian actors to make sure that pledges are translated into concrete and targeted actions on the ground.

The United Nations will also lead by example.  Gender-based violence interventions are to be mainstreamed across humanitarian actions by all actors.  The gender-based violence guidelines launched in 2015 are the tool for this. 

We also need to ensure we get data disaggregated by sex and age.  Further, sexual and reproductive health services are a basic right and should be provided in emergencies.

Gender-based violence is a structural problem, rooted in gender inequality.  Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls should guide all work and aspects of humanitarian action.  I call on all States and organizations to join the Call to Action so that we can eradicate the scourge of gender-based violence.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.