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IASC Vision and Strategy: Protection from sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment (PSEAH) 2022-2026

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VISION

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) supports a vision of a humanitarian environment in which people caught up in crises feel safe, respected, and can access needed protection and assistance without fear of sexual exploitation or abuse (SEA) by any aid worker and in which aid workers themselves feel supported, respected and empowered to deliver assistance free from sexual harassment.

APPROACH

The IASC is the mandated global forum that facilitates coordination among humanitarian actors, bringing together United Nations agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement and non-governmental organizations. The IASC will support scaled-up, predictable and accountable protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) to amplify prevention and response at community level.

The IASC upholds a policy of zero tolerance of SEA and sexual harassment. The IASC recognizes that PSEAH activities and investment may not lead to zero cases of SEA and sexual harassment, but IASC members will demonstrate zero tolerance of inaction on PSEAH. The IASC will always exhibit respect for victims/survivors, complainants, and whistle-blowers.

The IASC affirms that SEA and sexual harassment are driven by many of the same underlying causes, including unequal power relations, lack of gender parity, disrespect and hierarchical organizational structures. The IASC will drive and support change in organizational culture to address these issues.

Humanitarian Coordinators (HCs) and Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs) are committed to ensuring protection from sexual exploitation and abuse. The most senior representative of the UN at country level holds the primary accountability, decision-making, and oversight authority. The HC provides the overall direction, reviews progress, addresses barriers, engages stakeholders, and provides the support and resources needed to implement PSEA effectively. These activities are supported by a dedicated PSEA Coordinator, reporting directly to the HC.

The IASC will monitor whether capacity is in place in all humanitarian responses to meet these commitments at country level, that models are adapted to context, prevention and response are in accordance with agreed victim-centered approaches, and following investigation, leaders and managers are provided with appropriate, timely information to support management decisions on accountability in accordance with guidance provided.

This multi-year Strategy articulates the IASC ambition and expected results. It sets out the change required, reaffirms earlier commitments of the IASC, sets targets and determines how results will be monitored and measured. From 2022, a SEA risk index will be available to the IASC to support it to identify high-risk contexts and evidence-based decision-making. Enhanced monitoring will ensure that HCs will have the information and evidence they need to fulfil their responsibilities at country level and will make global prioritization more effective.

The IASC will drive change in organizational culture and attitudes. IASC Principals will clearly, and continuously, communicate their collective and individual commitments for increased accountability. Realising the IASC vision will be the responsibility of all levels of management within IASC member organizations. All humanitarian actors will share responsibility for implementation of IASC PSEAH commitments, particularly the personal responsibility of ‘speaking up’ when aware of any act of sexual misconduct.

Securing and retaining the trust of affected people are critical to the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance. The IASC will listen to victims/survivors and affected communities and ensure their experience informs PSEAH priorities and will monitor feedback provided.

The IASC will dedicate resources to meet agreed strategic outcomes and commitments. IASC members will deploy global level PSEA expertise, including from the PSEA Field Support Team to support interagency activities in prioritized high-risk contexts.