Towards the Elimination of Gender-Based Violence

21 September 2013
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, New York – Representatives of UN Member States, UN agencies and NGOs met to receive an update on UNFPA’s flagship programmes targeting gender-based violence in development and humanitarian contexts, and to learn about new plans to scale-up the organization’s interventions.

For sustained change, gender equality must be upheld, the status of women and girls elevated, and violence rendered socially unacceptable.” - UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. Photo © UNFPA

Gender-based violence is the most pervasive yet least reported human rights abuse globally. It undermines development, generates instability and makes peace harder to achieve.

Globally, 35 per cent of women have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. The issue is significantly exacerbated in conflict and disaster contexts, where the peacetime risks of violence are compounded not only by the realities of armed conflict but also by displacement, breakdowns in social norms and limited access to formal systems of protection and justice.

Scaling up interventions to combat gender-based violence

In his opening remarks, UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin outlined the leadership role the organization has taken towards the elimination of gender-based violence in all forms.

“We know what to do to eliminate gender-based violence: rapid response to crisis; specialist service providers; integration with sexual and reproductive health care; comprehensive sexuality education; rights-based legal environments; mobilizing men and boys; robust data gathering, and evidence-based policies,” said Dr. Osotimehin. “Only a multi-pronged, multi-stakeholder approach will work.”

He added that UNFPA plans to scale up its engagement on mandated areas of gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health, and data by increasing investments on preparedness, advocacy, capacity-building and service delivery in 50 countries at high risk of disasters.

Public Service Announcement against gender-based violence in Jordan

At the global level, UNFPA is the co-lead agency on the Gender-Based Violence Area of Responsibility and the Joint Programme on Ending Female Genital Mutilation, and is a founding member of UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict. At the national level, 93 per cent of UNFPA country offices include gender-based violence in their programmes and the organization provides services to combat gender-based violence in 87 countries.

UNFPA Deputy Executive Director (Management) Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen announced the organization’s plans to increase financial and human resources in the gender-based violence programming area and encouraged Member States and donors to support this effort in scaling-up for larger impact.

New tools, better data

Collecting reliable data can be one of the most complex aspects of addressing gender-based violence, a challenge UNFPA has tackled with the introduction of the new Gender-Based Violence Information Management System (GBVIMS).

This new online system aims to improve the quality and availability of gender-based violence data by standardizing incident classifications and consent forms, and providing an incident recorder that improves data analysis and the ethical sharing of reported GBV incident data.

The intention of the GBVIMS is both to assist service providers to better understand the gender-based cases being reported, as well as to enable data sharing internally across project sites and externally with agencies to broaden analysis and improve coordination.

Learn more about the new Gender-Based Violence Information Management System in the video below:

Presentations at the roundtable also included briefings on UNFPA's flagship gender-based violence programmes in Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the need to effectively engage men and boys to put an end to the violence, and the complex challenges of preventing gender-based violence in humanitarian settings.