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The Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies

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Executive Summary

The Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies, a multi-stakeholder initiative launched in 2013 by the governments of the United Kingdom and Sweden, aims to fundamentally transform the way gender-based violence (GBV) is addressed in emergencies, so that every humanitarian response provides safe and comprehensive services for those affected by GBV and mitigates GBV risk from the earliest phases of a crisis.

In 2015, Call to Action partners launched a Road Map that outlines concrete steps all humanitarian stakeholders can take over the next five years to support needed changes in humanitarian policies, systems, and mechanisms. By coordinating action and working together under the Call to Action, all stakeholders can support effective action to address GBV and improve protection for the people we serve.

In 2016, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) undertook three field assessment missions to test the soundness and initial impact of the Call to Action Road Map. WRC investigated the degree to which the Road Map’s priority actions are being implemented in humanitarian efforts to prevent and respond to GBV. The analysis from these assessments, presented in this report, reflect the relevance and utility of the Road Map, offering practical guidance for the next steps for the Call to Action.

One year into the implementation, progress on the Road Map is uneven and varied across all three contexts assessed. It will take a sustained, multi-year commitment to collective action to begin to see the gains envisioned by the Road Map. But in the locations where the key action areas of the Road Map have been implemented, the humanitarian response to GBV is stronger. The Road Map is a useful tool to guide humanitarian action.

An essential next step is to launch the Call to Action at the field level. The initiative was largely created at the global level. Field staff are generally unfamiliar with the Road Map and the framework that it offers to guide their sectors of work. When presented with the Road Map, field staff expressed genuine interest to engage with the Call to Action. Some, after reviewing the Road Map, immediately saw avenues to use it to support their efforts to prevent and respond to GBV.

The field assessments have reaffirmed the value of the Call to Action and its Road Map framework as a tool to achieve the change we wish to see in humanitarian response. Now is an opportune moment to robustly roll out the Road Map at the regional and national levels, sharing its ambitious objectives with current and new partners. It is only through the meaningful engagement of humanitarian actors at both the headquarters and field levels that we will achieve our goal to drive change, and foster accountability within the humanitarian sphere on gender equality and GBV.