The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) was established in 1991 through General Assembly Resolution 46/182 in an effort to enhance the UN’s response to humanitarian crisis situations. The resolution outlines the United Nations’ responsibility to those exceptionally affected by environmental or political crisis and outlines the legal guidelines under which humanitarian assistance must function. In order to alleviate human suffering, OCHA develops prevention and preparedness policy both with national and international actors.
Protection of Women and Gender Equality
In 2011, OCHA aims to ensure that key field-based tools such as contingency plans, consolidated appeals and situation reports, use sex- and age-disaggregated data more consistently to highlight the respective needs of women, men, boys and girls, throughout the humanitarian programme cycle. OCHA pays special attention the issues surrounding gender equality in crisis situations, specifically focusing on violence against women. Each field and regional office of OCHA is assigned with creating ad implementing individual Gender Action Plans (GAP). It ensures that gender equality is integrated in all relevant activities and in all areas of the work programme.
Since 2013, OCHA has focused much of its attention to gender equality and has since published a toolkit to build capacity of OCHA Staff in how to mainstream gender. In the document, seven minimum commitments are outlined:
1. Apply the ADAPT and ACT C Framework in all programming areas, ensuring, at a minimum, the following three elements are addressed, as they are fundamental to an effective humanitarian response:
- Routine analysis of gender concerns to inform humanitarian programming and policy processes.
- Regular and timely collection and analysis of sex- and age-disaggregated data.
- Support to coordination of gender programming in the response.
2. Integrate gender issues into preparedness and resilience processes from data collection, assessments, planning and capacity-building for national partners.
3. Support the application of the IASC Gender Marker into OCHA-managed appeals and funding mechanisms.
4. Ensure that monitoring and evaluation mechanisms can ascertain if the different needs of women, girls, boys and men have been met in the humanitarian response.
5. Develop communication and advocacy products that capture the different needs, capacities and voices of women, girls, boys and men.
6. Provide support to humanitarian country leadership, including cluster leads, to effectively integrate gender within humanitarian programming.
7. Put in place necessary actions to protect women, girls, boys and men from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse by OCHA staff, in line with the Secretary-General’s bulletin on protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (ST/SGB/2003/13).
Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
For more information, please visit the official OCHA website.
Latest update: 29 August 2014