Prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse leads GA discussions

Monday, 02 October 2017

Worldwide  | DPI

The Secretary-General placed the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse at the top of his agenda for discussions with world leaders during a high-level meeting held expressly on this issue, which took place on the eve of the opening of the 72nd General Debate.

In his introduction to the high-level meeting, the Secretary-General reiterated that, “It is a moral and organizational imperative to put an end to sexual exploitation and abuse”.

The purpose of this meeting was to invite world leaders to sign onto a Voluntary Compact between the United Nations and Member States, which includes specific commitments to combat and prevent sexual exploitation and abuse in operational areas. The Secretary-General also encouraged civil society and humanitarian organizations to work more closely with the United Nations. Seventy-two countries already signed the Voluntary Compact. In addition to these countries, 19 other Member States have formally indicated their intention to sign it in the near future.

One of the difficulties the Organization faces in combatting sexual exploitation and abuse is the lack of jurisdiction it has over uniform personnel. With this Voluntary Compact, the Secretary-General will work with member states to end impunity for charges of sexual exploitation and abuse against all personnel serving under the UN flag. He will also engage with the civil society community to establish an advisory panel and ask them for advice.

Also addressing the high-level meeting was Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare, who recognized the commitment of Member States to the Trust Fund in support of Victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. With the most recent contributions, the total amount available to the Trust Fund from voluntary contributions by Member States will rise to approximately $1.5 million dollars.

As of 18 Sept 2017, 57 Heads of State or Government have accepted the Secretary-General’s invitation and have joined the Circle of Leadership on the prevention of and response to sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations operations.

Following the high-level meeting, the Department of Field Support announced ten new contributors to the Trust Fund in support of victims of sexual exploitation and abuse.