UNHCR reaffirms its commitment to Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD)

UN Refugee Agency announces updated policy on AGD issues in all aspects of its work.

Members of a women's choir group meet at the Human Resource Development Foundation (HRDF) Refugee Support Office in Istanbul where they see for the first time, a CD they've recorded.  © UNHCR/Claire Thomas

With conflict, violence and human rights violations forcing record numbers of people from diverse backgrounds to flee their homes UNHCR’s international protection chief today renewed the UN Refugee Agency’s commitment to integrate age, gender and diversity factors in all aspects of its work.

On the margins of the 71st meeting of UNHCR’s Standing Committee, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Türk, formally presented the UNHCR’s updated policy on Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD).

Building on long-standing commitments and lessons learned, the policy aims to further enable displaced and stateless women, men, girls and boys to enjoy their rights on an equal footing, and to ensure that they are better able to participate fully in the decisions that affect them.  

 Türk noted that, over the last decade, significant progress has been made to address the unique experiences, protection challenges and risks which arise from the intersections of age, gender, and diversity in displaced communities. However, challenges still remain to achieving equality, including societal attitudes that are often difficult to change.

 “UNHCR’s updated policy brings together all the essential components for change: stronger and clear accountability, defined responsibilities across the organization, as well as consistent monitoring which can lead to evidence-based and regular reporting,” Turk said today at a panel including a representative of UNHCR’s partner CARE International, as well as talented and resourceful refugees.

This mandatory policy outlines 10 core actions that UNHCR will take to apply a Age, Gender and Diversity approach in its work. Among them is the desegregation by age and sex of all collected data, as well as the use of participatory methods in order to incorporate in UNHCR programmes the capacities and priorities of women, men, girls and boys.

All UNHCR operations will make sure that these displaced and stateless people will have access to timely, accurate and relevant information on their rights and on UNHCR’s work. They will also be able to systematically provide feedback and receive a comprehensive response. UNHCR’s operations will adapt their programs and strategies on the basis of their inputs.

The AGD policy also updates, deepens, and reaffirms UNHCR’s five Commitments to Refugee Women, which include provisions to support their economic empowerment or prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence.

The policy is in line with UNHCR’s Strategic Directions 2017-2021, which emphasize the need of “putting people first”.