Project Factsheet
Tools for » Strengthening the capacity of UNOCI in collaboration with the UN Country Team to implement the conflict-related sexual violence mandate through the deployment of Women Protection Advisers over a period of 12 months
Project ID:00085352Description:UNA031 DPKO Streng. the
UN Action Agst Sexual Violence
Start Date *: 14 Feb 2013
UN Action Against Sexual Viole
End Date*: 31 Dec 2016
Country: United Nations Project Status: Operationally Closed
  Participating Organization:   UNDPO - UN Dept of Peace Operations

According to the most recent UN Secretary-General’s Report on conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), Côte d’Ivoire witnessed an increase in rape and gang rape targeting civilians during the recent post-elections crisis, tragically repeating what occurred during the country’s past decade. Sexual violence crimes were committed by all parties to the conflict, which included elements of: the former Forces de défense et de sécurité (FDS), the former Forces armées des forces nouvelles (FAFN), the Forces républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI), members of militia and associated groups, traditional hunters known as Dozos and members of the Fédération estudiantine et scolaire de Côte d’Ivoire (FESCI), either affiliated with former President Laurent Gbagbo’s coalition - La majorité présidentielle (LMP), or the ruling coalition party of President Alassane Ouattara, the Rassemblement des Houphouëtistes pour la démocratie et la paix (RHDP). These acts were politically or ethnically motivated and inflicted publicly or in front of family members by elements of armed groups or militias in order to humiliate men and women perceived as political opponents. An alarming trend in rape cases was also observed in western Côte d’Ivoire, where gang rapes committed by unidentified individuals believed to be members of militia groups frequently occurred during armed attacks against public transport vehicles or private homes. The perpetrators took advantage of the worsening security situation as well as the collapse of the judicial and corrections system, which led to the nationwide escape of almost 12,000 prisoners, including notorious repeat sex offenders. Since the end of the crisis, the prevalence of sexual violence in Côte d’Ivoire remains high and may be linked to persistent impunity that offenders enjoy.

Women Protection Advisers and MARA

Women’s Protection Advisers (WPAs) in peacekeeping missions are called for by the Security Council in resolutions 1888 (OP12) and 1960 (OP10). Security Council Resolution 2000(2011) calls upon UNOCI to “appoint Women Protection Advisers and to ensure gender expertise and training”.  Terms of reference for Women Protection Advisors (WPAs) have been jointly prepared by the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Office of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict (OSRSG-SVC), in consultation with members of UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict, and disseminated to peacekeeping operations.

The implementation of the CRSV mandate in peacekeeping missions requires a three-pronged approach in order to strengthen the work of the human rights and gender components in addressing CRSV. The focus is to mainstream and build the capacity of mission components to address CRSV, establish monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements (MARA) on CRSV and regular reporting in collaboration with members of the UN Country Team, address ‘commitments’ with all concerned parties, and strengthen coordination within the Mission, and with the UN Country Team and partners.

As proposed by the above mentioned Terms of Reference, a Senior WPA shall be located in the office of the SRSG/DSRSG and should work in close collaboration with designated WPAs located within the Human Rights and Gender Components (Gender WPA Focal Point). The roles of the respective WPAs shall be complementary and serve to strengthen the response of human rights, gender and other relevant UNOCI mission components to CRSV, in line with relevant Security Council’s resolutions. The role of the WPAs must be also viewed in conjunction with new arrangements proposed by the Security Council, in particular the establishment of a MARA.

According to the Terms of Reference, the Senior WPA shall coordinate among all relevant UN actors in order to strengthen monitoring and reporting, prevention and response to CRSV against women, girls, boys and men. The Senior WPA shall provide support as appropriate to the UN actors for the implementation of the Security Council mandate on CRSV and work closely with the Gender Based Violence (GBV) Advisor (UNFPA) to maintain linkages with the broader humanitarian community. Specifically, the role of the Senior WPA will focus on the implementation of the MARA; coordination of actors involved in dialogue with parties to conflict for commitments; and contribute to the integration of CRSV considerations in UN policies, planning, operations and training.

The WPA (Human Rights) shall, inter alia, lead the monitoring and reporting function of the MARA Working Group, coordinate the preparation of reports, undertake analysis of information to contribute to the understanding of the patterns and trends of sexual violence, and plan and coordinate multidisciplinary investigation teams.

The WPA (Gender) shall, inter alia, lead in mainstreaming, training, capacity building and response aspects within the mission. This includes working with Civilian, Police and Military components of peacekeeping operations to integrate sexual violence concerns in policy, activities, standard operating procedures, etc. The WPA (Gender) shall also ensure adequate training to all mission components on CRSV, and contribute to the development and implementation of protection plans and comprehensive strategies.

Following the finalization of the MARA Provisional Guidance Note and the WPA Terms of Reference, UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict decided to support the accelerated implementation of the MARA in four priority countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); Central African Republic (CAR); Côte d’Ivoire;  and South Sudan. Accordingly, the missions were requested to hold consultations regarding internal arrangements for the implementation of the MARA and deployment of WPAs and indicate the support required.

It is important to note that the Secretary-General has listed elements of various national forces and armed groups in  Côte d’Ivoire to be credibly suspected of having committed CRSV over 2011 (Annex to the Report of the Secretary-General on Conflict-related Sexual violence (S/2012/33). This listing makes it ever more urgent to ensure that the implementation of the CRSV mandate in Côte d’Ivoire is a priority for all concerned parties, in order to combat, prevent and respond to CRSV, and ensure justice for incidents of CRSV.

In order to ensure sustainability following the expenditure of funds, UNOCI will make all efforts to include the WPA posts in the annual budget (2013-2014).

Roll-out of MARA in Côte d’Ivoire 

In Côte d’Ivoire, several steps have been taken towards the implementation of the MARA. Internal consultations led by the Office of the DSRSG/RC/HC with key mission components, and UNCT actors have taken place on the general implementation of resolution 1960 and the MARA in particular. The establishment of the MARA technical-level Working Group under the leadership of the Human Rights Division (HRD) was however stalled due to the absence of dedicated resources and capacity, and strategic senior level guidance. Discussions regarding the implementation of the MARA were reinvigorated following the visit of SRSG Wallström to Côte d’Ivoire in November 2011 during which extensive discussions were held with SRSG and both DSRSGs. The discussions underlined the need to expedite action on the implementation of the MARA and the deployment of WPAs. A key conclusion of these discussions was that a Senior WPA (P5) should be placed in the office of the DSRSG/HC/RC. It was further agreed that a WPA (P4) should be deployed into the Human Rights component of the mission. Due to resource constraints it is proposed that the Gender Advisory Unit will mainstream the tasks of the WPA (Gender) throughout the work of the Unit, and identify a focal point to act as a WPA (Gender).

In order to ensure sustainability of these posts, UNOCI commits to including the two proposed WPA posts in the RBB request for the cycle beginning in July 2013. This request to the UN Action Multi-Partner Trust Fund for two WPAs will provide bridge funding to enable the immediate implementation of the MARA and other requirements regarding resolution 1960 in Côte d’Ivoire, until these posts are created in the regular budget.

A UNFPA GBV Adviser has been funded by the UN Action Multi-Partner Trust Fund to reinforce the work of the GBV Sub-Cluster in addressing CRSV among other GBV types (For responsibilities of this GBV Adviser, please see UNFPA Project Proposal titled ‘Supporting UN efforts to prevent and respond effectively to GBV, including sexual violence occurring in the context of on-going insecurity’, as funded by UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict MDTF). As previously agreed with UNFPA, some of the functions of this GBV Adviser may be handed over to the two WPAs and the Gender WPA Focal Point upon their deployment, according to respective roles, responsibilities and mandates in order to strengthen coordination and cooperation among the four positions.

WPA/Human Rights

A focal point on the MARA has been identified in the HRD, and the HRD’s field offices are already conducting monitoring and follow-up on CRSV. The HRD presently has a Protection and Documentation Unit at its headquarters in Abidjan, which receives, consolidates, and reports on information pertaining to all human rights violations which are monitored by the HRD’s 11 field offices that geographically cover all regions of Côte d’Ivoire. However, the Protection and Documentation Unit does not have dedicated capacity to monitor and report on CRSV.  The Human Rights WPA (P4) will therefore be instrumental in strengthening the reporting and analysis of CRSV - building on the work of the HRD, its network of partners and sources and its capacity to outreach.

The WPA/Human Rights would have two main areas of responsibility: (a) strengthening monitoring, reporting, and analysis on conflict-related sexual violence; (b) lead the monitoring and reporting function of the Working Group on CRSV through coordinating and conducting monitoring and verification on CRSV. Coordination will be carried out with UN Country Team members and relevant partners where necessary.

In particular, the WPA/Human Rights will, in coordination with the UN Country Team and mission components: (i) provide normative guidance to HRD field offices on standards and definitions pertaining to CRSV within the purview of UN Security Council Resolution 1960 (initial guidance will preferably be provided as a priority task after the WPA’s deployment and reviewed/updated progressively); (ii) advise and assist field teams concerning investigations into sexual violence and their follow-up; (iii) consolidate and analyse information and inputs on CRSV submitted by HRD’s 11 field offices and other HRD investigations; and (iv) feed consolidated information (i.e. aggregated and anonymous data and analysis), as appropriate, into the Working Group on CRSV, the “Joint Consultation Forum on CRSV” and the existing GBV coordination mechanism.

The WPA/Human Rights will also be expected to undertake a number of activities to strengthen the overall capacity of the HRD and the UN system in general concerning monitoring and analysing CRSV and appropriate referral for survivors. Proposed activities include:

In line with the Terms of Reference:

Activity 1:  Induction training on MARA and standards and definitions pertaining to CRSV within the purview of UN Security Council Resolution 1960 for the HRD field offices and referral pathways for sexual violence survivors;

Activity 2:  A joint Workshop organised by UNOCI with relevant UNCT counterparts on the implementation of 1612/1882 Monitoring Reporting Mechanisms to ensure regular information exchange and close coordination in monitoring, verification and reporting;

Activity 3: Awareness-raising activities of the network of information sources at grassroots level to encourage the transmission of information on CRSV in the areas where CRSV was and is still prevalent in cooperation with relevant UNOCI civilian, police and military components, and UN country team actors, with an emphasis on ethical information exchange.

Activity 4: Production/printing of documentation to support a national CRSV awareness-raising campaign (such as leaflets, posters and other sensitization materials etc.) for government officials, representatives of civil society, human rights NGOs and other key stakeholders;

Activity 5: In collaboration with the Gender WPA Focal Point, develop and deliver trainings on CRSV for the mission’s military, police and civilian components.

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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in United Nations or the lead agency for the programme. The MPTF Office Portfolio Manager (or Country Director with Delegation of Authority) for this programme:

The person with GATEWAY access rights to upload and maintain documents for the programme:

  • Laura Martin, Programme Analyst; Telephone: 1 914 924 4263; Email:
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