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Peacekeeping missions and UN Country Teams

  • In multi-dimensional UN peacekeeping operations, the UN has adopted an ‘integrated approach’ for all parts of the UN system that are active in that country.  This means the UN peacekeeping operations and UN Country Team should work towards the same strategic vision.  A Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSDG)—who is sometimes the Humanitarian Coordinator/Resident Coordinator of the UN Country Team—ensures effective coordination and integration of efforts.  Additionally, in emergencies where there are clusters, peacekeeping and civilian personnel sometimes (depending on the mandate of the mission and various components) participate in cluster meetings to make sure that their work is coordinated properly with the work of humanitarian actors in a manner that ensures neutrality, impartiality and independence of humanitarian operations. 
  • In countries with peacekeeping missions, actors working on VAWG will interact with the relevant protection actors within the mission. Improved and enhanced interaction between Protection Clusters including their AORs with UN mission is important for achieving better protection outcomes. This interaction may cover joint planning and assessment, information exchange, advocacy and border coordination. Protection Cluster members should formulate and implement common and coordinated approaches in their interaction with UN missions. A desk review of mission coordination mechanisms working on Protection of Civilians can be found here.   
  • UN missions can support GBV sub-clusters’ activities in countries where they exist. Relatively large logistical assets, alongside the existence of advisors on Gender and/or Women’s Protection and coordination mechanisms on Protection of Civilians, make missions a natural partner for GBV actors. To date, however, much coordination between partners has been ad hoc and based on the will of partners to cooperate and share information.
  • The absence of effective interaction between peacekeeping departments, the full range of UN entities and humanitarian response actors is one of the reasons why UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict was launched in 2007, and this coordination between GBV actors and missions has been called for in different normative documents. For example, SCR 1888 calls for peacekeeping departments to engage with protection actors at both the global and field levels to establish a more formal relationship with humanitarian response actors. The Global Protection Cluster has developed a Guidance Diagnostic Tool to improve coordination and interaction between protection Clusters including AORs and UN missions, and can be requested at gpc@unhcr.org.
  • Peacekeeping missions’ use of Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) to provide seed money and targeted support for addressing VAWG has also been useful in building partnerships and facilitating coordination amongst different actors. The mission’s Office of the Gender Adviser, often with the collaboration of UN agencies, regularly work with women’s groups to organize trainings, meetings, and events on VAWG-related issues. Finally, the police component of the mission frequently works on prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence with the local and national police. For this reason, the UN Police Division has developed an extensive toolkit for missions’ police components’ work on sexual and gender-based violence, which can be requested here. This inventory summarizes the different ways in which missions work on VAWG, mainly in collaboration with UN agencies and NGOs.  
  • In addition, international and local non-governmental organizations and other UN agencies, particularly those providing health and humanitarian services, may participate in mission-led Joint Protection Teams (JPTs). These teams, often deployed to remote areas to survey protection needs, issue recommendations, and take required action, typically draw members from mission staff in Political Affairs, Human Rights, Child Protection, Gender Affairs, and Public Information. A JPT may also include UN Police personnel and military observers.

 

Example:  In DRC, from February 2009 to July 2010 around 60 Joint Protection Teams (JPT) were set up and deployed by MONUSCO to conflict-affected areas to make assessments and provide better protection to local populations. The JPTs involve civilian, police and military peacekeepers of whom, to date. Local populations, particularly women, report that JPTs have reduced the number of attacks on women when they go to the fields, markets and wells. Click here for more information.

 

  • Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) provides another area of common concern for mission and UNCT actors and anyone working on VAWG. Humanitarian Coordinators/Resident Coordinators are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that an in-country network or task force on PSEA, composed of PSEA focal points, is operational and supporting the development and implementation of a country-level PSEA action plan in their respective countries. Unfortunately, there are many humanitarian settings in which there are no PSEA in-country networks. In these settings, it sometimes falls to the VAWG coordination mechanism to undertake PSEA activities. 
  • It is nevertheless important that the GBV Coordinator knows and promotes the key principles and standards of conduct outlined in the SGB to all coordination partners.  GBV Coordinators must be apprised of local reporting procedures and processes related to addressing SEA allegations, and this information should be included in any SOPs. 
  • Perhaps most importantly, the GBV coordination mechanism must work with the PSEA in-country network to ensure that survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse have access to services.  The PSEA network has a responsibility to ensure that a ‘victim assistance mechanism’ is in place for those who have experienced SEA; this mechanism should build upon existing GBV services in the setting rather than create parallel SEA-specific services.

For additional information, see Section II: Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.