Today the European Union (EU) formally takes over the leadership of the global initiative 'Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies', from Sweden, at a handover event organised at the 2017 ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment in Geneva.
During its one-year leadership, the EU will focus on strengthening awareness and implementation of the Call to Action by the humanitarian community, in particular at field level. In line with the Call to Action Road Map 2016-2020, the EU will also advocate for the need to prevent and respond to gender-based violence during each phase of an emergency.
"Gender-based violence is a very serious issue in humanitarian crises across the world. It is a priority to tackle for the European Commission. We will use this role to focus on strengthening awareness and encourage the humanitarian community to take stronger action, particularly in crisis zones," said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides.
Monique Pariat, Director General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations represented the EU during the handover event at Palais des Nations in Geneva today. Other speakers included Ambassador Veronika Bard, Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Sweden in Geneva, and Melanie Ward, Associate Director for Policy and Advocacy at the International Rescue Committee.
The EU has been an active member of the Call to Action since its launch in 2013. The continued support to the Call to Action was an EU commitment at the World Humanitarian Summit and is reflected in the EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2018. The EU will be the fourth lead of the Call to Action following the United Kingdom, the United States, and Sweden.
Gender-based violence is a a priority for the EU. In 2016, the EU allocated more than €18 million in humanitarian aid for the prevention of and response to sexual and gender-based violence, reaching almost 3.4 million women, men, girls and boys through 84 different projects.
In addition, the EU also funds global capacity-building projects on gender and gender-based violence to support the implementation of the Call to Action Road Map. In 2016, €1.8 million was made available for this purpose.
The 'Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies' is a global initiative which brings together over 60 members, including states and donors, international organisations and NGOs striving to ensure that gender-based violence is addressed in humanitarian crises. Its goal is to drive change and foster accountability so that every humanitarian effort, from the earliest phases of a crisis, includes the policies, systems and mechanisms to mitigate gender-based violence risks, especially violence against women and girls, and to provide safe and comprehensive services for those affected by gender-based violence.
The 2013 EU gender policy outlines the European Commission's approach to gender and gender-based violence in humanitarian aid. To support policy implementation and coherence, the European Commission has also introduced a Gender-Age Marker, which applies to all projects funded since January 2014. According to the Gender-Age Marker, in 2015, 89% of all EU-funded humanitarian actions integrated gender and age considerations.