Evaluations from the Executive Board of UNDP/UNPF/UNOPS: Plenary Meeting 6

The Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA, and UNOPS came together to reconsider revised points to UNFPA’s policy for the prevention, response to and elimination of gender-based violence and harmful practices. Both the Director of Evaluation Office representative and the Executive Director touched upon updating policies to specify definitions, principals, and standards that have been previously established within the UNFPA. Four established areas regarding transparency highlighted within the UNFPA Evaluation Policy were discussed, with emphasis on joint evaluation (assessment of UN agency inter-relationships, i.e, UNFPA and WHO) and system-wide evaluation (assessment of UN as a whole). The Executive Director emphasized on result based management to take lessons learned from prior experiences to implement into new policies locally, regionally, governmentally, and internationally.

Delegates agreed on the necessity of UNFPA and cooperation between countries as well as sectors within the UN as a whole. The delegate from Switzerland on behalf of 20 other countries raised general concerns on resource allocation as well as the idea of system-wide joint evaluations, which was countered by the Director of Evaluation in explaining that resource allocation protects funding for the centralized evaluation core. Transparency will be combated with continued annual budget reports. More details regarding gender and human rights updates were also requested. Mexico highlighted a demand in attention for sexual and reproductive health treatment, specifically in younger people to strengthen political, economical, and social ties while Belgium voiced concerns for budgeting issues.

Meeting: Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme/United Nations Population Fund/United Nations Office for Project Services – Plenary Meeting 6

Date/Location: 23 January 2019, Economic and Social Council Chamber

Speakers: Executive Board: Director of Evaluation Office representative; Executive Director of UNDP, UNFPA, UNOPS; Burkina Faso; Switzerland (on behalf of 20 other countries); Mexico, Botswana, Belgium, Sweden

Written By: WIT Representative Jessica Shi

Men and Boys Against Gender Stereotypes and Violence Against Women

genderequalityThe Commission on the Status of Women held a panel discussion on the active involvement of males in achieving gender equality. Kristin Hetle delivered an opening speech framing the difficulties in attaining equality. Often, gender-based violence (GBV) is considered the only hurdle left. Hetle asserted that, though violence is a serious matter, gender equality requires a more nuanced solution. It is crucial to target harmful underlying mentalities. In her home country of Norway, a university conducted a study in which participants were asked to choose between equally qualified male and female job candidates. Participants of both genders considered the male candidate as more qualified. Based on this, Hetle argued that our society is still subconsciously subject to gender inequality. She asked for men to not be silent bystanders to gender inequality.

Professor Hashimoto spoke briefly on the state of GBV in Japan, a country with notable levels of domestic violence. Luckily, there is significant progress0–more and more women report to domestic violence centers and do not suffer the blame for their abuse. However, Japan suffers from insufficient legal measures to rein in the sex industry, an area in which underage females may be at risk.

A representative from DIRE, a network of Italian equality organizations, asked whether gender-balanced panels were discriminatory for prioritizing gender over knowledge. She also asked about education practices used to instill values of gender equality. To answer, Sasdamoiden stated that, at least in the EU, there are consistent structural issues present in choosing panels, and skill is overshadowed by biases that see men as being more qualified than women. Gender-balanced panels thus adjust for this.

Meeting: #thingsmendo: Men and Boys against Gender Stereotypes and Violence against Women
Sponsor: Commission on the Status of Women (NGO CSW)
Date & Location: 11 March 2015, Conference Room 11, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Kristin Hetle, UN Director of Strategic Partnerships for Women; Giovanna Martelli, Gender Equality Advisor to the Prime Minister of Italy; Hiroko Hashimoto, Professor of Women’s Studies at Jumonji University; Polish Plenipotentiary on the Equal Status of Women; Sala Sasdamoiden, Representative of European Commission’s Gender Equality Strategy
Written By WIT Representative: Alis Yoo
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Environment and Humanitarian Action: Increasing Effectiveness, Sustainability, and Accountability

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Today an event was held which highlighted how environmental sustainability is an integral part in humanitarian aid effectiveness. The panelists in this meeting discussed the findings from a report entitled “Environment and Humanitarian Action: Increasing Effectiveness, Sustainability, and Accountability.”

The first speaker, Ms. Gebremedhin, the Director of Humanitarian Assistance and Foreign Affairs of Finland, began by addressing various environmental issues that need to be taken into account during humanitarian action, in order for it to reach its full potential. For example, management of solid wastes and hazardous materials and safeguarding natural resources are essential, and the reduction of deforestation, desertification, and pollution is necessary for sustained livelihoods in the aftermath of a disaster. Furthermore, efficient leadership and accountability are needed in humanitarian situations, and addressing environmental concerns is a shared responsibility between donors and humanitarian organisations.

Following, Mr. Khalikov, Director of OCHA Geneva, stated the effectiveness of humanitarian aid is dependent on environmental conditions. He cited floods and draughts as main environmental threats that can complicate an already existing humanitarian crisis, like a famine or armed conflict.

Ms. Anita van Breda from WWF USA spoke about combining climate change adaptation strategies with disaster risk reduction. She highlighted the Green Recovery Program – a partnership between WWF and the American Red Cross –, which works to sustain livelihoods, provide adequate water, sanitation, and shelter, and deals with disaster management. Her three key recommendations to take the environment into consideration when taking humanitarian action included: updating academic training and professional development, learning to manage change and developing new ways of learning, and ensuring that staff and volunteers have the necessary discipline, skills, and aptitude.

Concluding the meeting Ms. Costa, the Executive Director of the Women’s Refugee Commission spoke about the threat faced by women and girls when they have to leave their refugee camps to collect firewood for cooking and heating. Many have to travel 5 or 6 hours a day to collect enough wood to cook just one meal, and on the journey are raped, beaten, or killed. Ms. Costa emphasised the importance of shifting communities away from dependence on wood fuel and towards more environmentally friendly and sustainable options in order to decrease the threat of this gender based violence and to reduce deforestation and resource overconsumption.

Meeting Title: Environment and Humanitarian Action: Increasing Effectiveness, Sustainability, and Accountability
Speakers: Ms. Anna Gebremedhin, Director of Humanitarian Assistance and Foreign Affairs of Finland; Mr. Rashid Khalikov, Director of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Geneva; MS. Anita van Breda, Director of Humanitarian Partnerships, WWF USA; Ms. Sarah Costa, Executive Director of Women’s Refugee Commission
Location: Conference Room 5 NLB, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 23 June 2014
Written by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan
Edited by WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark