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"If you get it right for girls and women, you get it right for humanitarian action”

18 Mar 2016

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The World Humanitarian Summit will provide an opportunity for leaders and stakeholders from all sectors to make firm commitments to enhance gender equality in humanitarian action, says USG O'Brien.

OCHA co-hosted this high-level round table on 17 March to highlight the importance of women’s and girls’ rights, resiliency and leadership roles in humanitarian action, including concerted steps to address gender-based violence.

High-level UN officials and representatives from the Governments of Australia and Mexico, UN Women, Oxfam, ActionAid, Member States, NGOs and civil-society groups also addressed how stakeholders from all over the world can be part of the launch of the commitments for the empowerment of women and girls at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), taking place in Istanbul in May 2016.

The Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O’Brien, opened the round table, emphasizing that OCHA remains deeply committed to working towards a future in which humanitarian action lives up to the needs and expectations of women and girls, and is firmly guided by their priorities and voices. The USG highlighted that we are now just two months away from the WHS, which will provide an opportunity for leaders and stakeholders from all sectors to make firm commitments to enhance gender equality in humanitarian action. He stated: “Your ideas, your vision, energy and leadership are crucial to making this a success.”

The USG reiterated the importance of promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment: “If you get it right for girls and women, you get it right for humanitarian action.”

At the Summit and beyond, we must heed the call of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda to leave no one behind, including women and girls. We must also prioritize women’s voices and leadership in vulnerability reduction and humanitarian action; improve accountability to reaching gender equality across the system; and ensure that women and girls are protected from sexual and gender-based violence.

The commitments made at the WHS must be translated into action. The Summit presents the perfect opportunity to “turn words and meetings into action.”