» Director-General and Special Coordinator discuss ending sexual exploitation and abuse
22.07.2016 - ODG

Director-General and Special Coordinator discuss ending sexual exploitation and abuse

On 21 July UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova held a meeting with Under Secretary-General Jane Holl Lute, Special Coordinator on Improving the United Nations Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, at UN Headquarters in New York.

Following the adoption of landmark Security Council resolution 2772 earlier this year, which – among other measures – requests the UN Secretary-General to replace peacekeeping contingents from countries failing to investigate allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, and/ or hold perpetrators accountable – the Director-General and the Special Advisor underlined that this was a key moment for the strongest possible action to end sexual exploitation and abuse, to implement a zero-tolerance policy against perpetrators, and to end impunity around severe human rights violations with devastating and immeasurable impact on victims’ lives.

Irina Bokova and Jane Holl Lute agreed that coordinated inter-agency cooperation was needed to fully incorporate and mainstream prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse in all UN system organizations, and that all UN personnel must become part of this agenda, based on unfailing standards, and clearly defined roles and responsibilities. It was therefore essential that tools be developed for Headquarters and field duty stations to track and manage performance against these standards.

As Chair of the High-Level Committee on Management (HLCM) of the Chiefs Executive Board for Coordination (CEB), the Director-General underlined her deep commitment to raising awareness of staff responsibilities and to reinforcing a culture of accountability across the UN system. The High-Level Committee on Management is in full support of the UN Secretary-General’s initiative to improve the system’s response to sexual exploitation and abuse. The Director-General informed that to this end, a strategic group led by the Department of Field Support had been established by the HLCM to review the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s report, and to decide how to best take them forward. The proposals will be tabled to the HLCM at its next session in October 2016.

This work will also be instrumental to an effective roll-out of the Human Rights Up Front Initiative, which underlines that UN staff must recognize prevention and protection as a core responsibility.

The Director-General and the Special Coordinator pledged to collaborate closely in this regard, including in preparation of the next session of the HLCM. 

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