SGBV response, risk mitigation and prevention in humanitarian crises: A synthesis of findings from evaluations of UNHCR operations 2019 (September 2019)

Evaluation and Lessons Learned
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This report is a synthesis of key findings from evaluations of UNHCR approaches to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in humanitarian crises with a focus on the years 2016-18.
Preventing, mitigating risks and responding to Sexual and Gender based Violence is a core component of UNHCR’s protection mandate. SGBV prevention, mitigation and response mainstreaming, as well as dedicated interventions, are lifesaving and must begin at the very outset of an emergency.

Since 2017, the UNHCR Evaluation Service in consultation with the SGBV Unit in the Division of International Protection, and concerned Bureaux and Country Offices, included in the annual Evaluation Work Plan a series of Decentralised Evaluations1 with a primary focus on evaluating SGBV prevention, mitigation and response in country and crisis specific settings. These included evaluations of UNHCR’s SGBV Prevention and Response in refugee populations in western Tanzania, Brazil, Lebanon as well as SGBV-related findings from the multi-sector evaluations of UNHCR response to L3 emergencies in Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The evaluations are the main documents used for this synthesis but in a few instances, examples outside this are referenced to further substantiate the finding.

Synthesis aims and scope

The synthesis looked across the evaluations and reviews as mentioned above to draw lessons and conclusions across the different contexts. The synthesis aims to identify:

  • recurrent issues, patterns and trends, and promising initiatives and lessons learned from existing programming including mainstreaming in how UNHCR prevents, mitigates and responds to the risks of SGBV;

  • institutional management and leadership for SGBV in UNHCR;

  • factors which are contributing to success, including sustainability of services, and those which are inhibiting it;

  • the extent to which questions on SGBV are part of UNHCR evaluations of emergency responses;

The synthesis included a review of UNHCR evaluation documents of its operations focusing on the time period 2016-182 . It also draws on a selected number of related documents such as lessons learning documents and case studies as well as a limited number of earlier evaluations and external reports related to areas where UNHCR operates. The full list of documents reviewed is attached.

The number of evaluations dedicated to UNHCR’s SGBV interventions in emergency operations is limited (see above). The related nature and scale of the evidence regarding UNHCR’s SGBV approaches used in this synthesis is insufficient to comment on overall operational effectiveness. The results from the evaluations are used to identify recurrent issues and trends and emerging promising practices.