Top UN Officials Call for Better Action Towards Preventing GBV in Humanitarian Emergencies

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Top UN officials meeting at the 76th General Assembly have issued a strong call to action against gender-based violence (GBV), following a rise in forced displacement and other humanitarian emergencies around the world.

Addressing the leaders, the Executive Director of the UNFPA, Natalia Kanem, noted that peace, justice, and dignity are the ‘birthright of every woman and girl’ in the world. She revealed some of the agency’s clear and ambitious Roadmap for 2021-2025 which reflects a shared vision and underscores the need to create new pathways towards ensuring those rights.

Kanem emphasized the need for accountability between nations, while she gave assurances that as the lead UN agency on the issue, the UNFPA is committed to standing strong. As part of efforts from the Organization, she pledged to funnel 43 percent of UNFPA’s humanitarian funding to national and local women’s organizations as is necessary now more than ever.

Referring to Afghanistan, the Emergency Relief Coordinator of the UN, Martin Griffiths, noted that the situation in the country is an important reminder of the primary vulnerability of women and girls in crises. He highlighted the vital role of women-led local communities, pointing out that they act as first responders to crises. He noted that the protection of women is one of the least-funded parts of the humanitarian programme which has to be reviewed.

Henrietta Fore, the Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on her part, explained that to deliver on the ambitious call to action, it is important to get the word out to the girls and women on the ground about the services available. To do this, she advised that there should be better financial support for local women’s groups.

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