Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ms. Ursula Mueller, Remarks at ECOSOC High-Level Side Event, ‘A Collective Effort of leaving no one behind’

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 21 Jun 2018

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ms. Ursula Mueller, Remarks at ECOSOC High-Level Side Event, ‘A Collective Effort of leaving no one behind: strengthening gender equality programming in humanitarian action.’

New York, New York, 21 June 2018

As delivered

Excellencies, distinguished guests, colleagues,

It is a pleasure to be here. I want to extend a warm thank you to our co-hosts: UN Women, who also here on behalf of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Gender Reference Group; the IASC GenCap Project, Women’s Refugee Commission, the Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations and the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations.

We are here today to discuss our achievements and ongoing challenges as we work together to enhance gender equality programming in humanitarian crises.

The need for this is all too clear:

Globally, 75 per cent of the more than 130 million people around the world who need humanitarian assistance, are women and children.

Some 45 per cent of newborn deaths occur in humanitarian crises or fragile contexts.

And three in five maternal deaths take place in these same contexts.

Humanitarian response can only be effective if it delivers equally for women and men, girls and boys, and empowers women and girls at every opportunity.

There has been growing momentum since the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit around the need to deliver better for women and girls.

Since the Summit, Government leaders, humanitarian actors and NGOs have made progress on delivering on the commitments they made to promote gender equality programming.

Policies and tools such as the IASC Policy on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls in Humanitarian Action; the IASC Gender Handbook – a great milestone; and, another great milestone, the IASC Gender with Age Marker; have been updated to reflect the changes in the humanitarian landscape. Some of these tools will be highlighted in our panel discussion today.

Gender equality is central, not only for delivering on promises made at the World Humanitarian Summit, but also for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

OCHA plays an important role in strengthening the coordination of gender programming in the humanitarian system. Working together with a wide array of partners, we support efforts to ensure that gender equality is integrated into all stages of humanitarian action.

But still, we all need to do more, and better. In some corners of humanitarian response, gender equality programming is still considered an extra, or even a burden.

Gender inequality in humanitarian action—whether in service provision, protection, decision-making or any other area—is not an option.

Today we aim to do a few things: We will hear more from the GenCap Project, the Women’s Refugee Commission, and KEEP Liberia, on how they are operationalizing gender programming on the ground.

We will look at how we have put policy into practice, to ensure we progress on leaving no one behind. After all, policies are important, but what counts, is how they are operationalized.

And we will exchange insights and build on lessons learned, as we work to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment in humanitarian action. We must continue to maximize our efforts to build on the momentum we have created.

With that, I hand the floor to Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Programme for UN Women, Mr. Yannick Glemarec.

Thank you.

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