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Our policies


Six Core Principles Relating to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse*

1. “Sexual exploitation and abuse by humanitarian workers constitute acts of gross misconduct and are therefore grounds for termination of employment.

2. Sexual activity with children (persons under the age of 18) is prohibited regardless of the age of majority or age of consent locally. Mistaken belief regarding the age of a child is not a defence.

3. Exchange of money, employment, goods, or services for sex, including sexual favours or other forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour is prohibited. This includes exchange of assistance that is due to beneficiaries.

4. Sexual relationships between humanitarian workers and beneficiaries are strongly discouraged since they are based on inherently unequal power dynamics. Such relationships undermine the credibility and integrity of humanitarian aid work.

5. Where a humanitarian worker develops concerns or suspicions regarding sexual abuse or exploitation by a fellow worker, whether in the same agency or not, he or she must report such concerns via established agency reporting mechanisms.

6. Humanitarian workers are obliged to create and maintain an environment which prevents sexual exploitation and abuse and promotes the implementation of their code of conduct. Managers at all levels have particular responsibilities to support
and develop systems which maintain this environment.”

Please refer to the following statements:

  • Secretary General's Bulletin Special Measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (ST/SGB/2003/13)
  • Secretary General's Bulletin Prohibition of discrimination, harassment, including sexual harassment, and abuse of authority (ST/SGB/2008/5)
  • Statement of Commitment on Eliminating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN and Non-UN Personnel

* The 2002 Report and Plan of Action of the IASC Task Force on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Humanitarian Crises established six core principles relating to sexual exploitation and abuse, to be incorporated into the codes of conduct and staff rules and regulations of member organizations.

For further information please contact: UNICEF and UNFPA, Philippines

Natalie McCauley Lamin nmccauley@unicef.org
Silvia Pina spjuste@unicef.org
Telephone (+63 2)901-0129


Why is gender important?

Traditional roles dictated by society too often limit or hinder the potential of girls and women.  Discrimination denies them health care and education and hides information they can use to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. Discrimination robs girls and women of the power to make decisions, to earn a living and to be free from violence, abuse and exploitation. Often it deprives them of any legal protection.

By recognizing and addressing discrimination against girls and women, success in the fight against all forms of discrimination -- class, race, ethnicity and age -- will become more likely, and more lasting. We have learned that entire societies develop when girls and women are enabled to be fully contributing community members.

Main problems

The Philippines has made significant progress in enhancing the opportunities and welfare of its women and men. The Government’s Framework Plan for Women emphasizes women’s economic empowerment, women’s human rights, and gender responsive governance as the keys to gender equality and the empowerment of women. The country scores well on international gender equality standards, but there is still much to be done:

1. Promotion of gender-fair participation, retention and achievement in education. More boys than girls drop out from school because they need to work to augment the family income.

2. Stop sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and children.

3. Give access to pre natal care services to reduce the prevalent high maternal mortality rate.

What UNICEF does

UNICEF builds the capacity of local governments in coming up with local ordinances and allocated budgets for women and children.  Tools such as Crafting a Children’s Code and Moving Forward with Gender and Development (GAD) are used by local councils that enact local laws and budgets. Currently, UNICEF is providing technical assistance in the development of a GAD Code for the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao.

UNICEF provides orientation to local officials on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). UNICEF also builds their capacity to respond to these two international instruments through planning, budgeting, legislation and reporting.

1. UNICEF has scaled up gender-sensitive capacity building for day care workers and teachers to guarantee effective and gender-fair teaching-learning practices in day care centers and schools.

2. UNICEF designs recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration services for abused children to address the special needs of girls.

3. UNICEF builds the capacity of health sector workers, male and females to provide women access to prenatal care and health facilities with more skilled birth attendants.

4. UNICEF’s communication strategy is focused on youth participation, which addresses the specific barriers that girls children face from participating actively at home, in school, in the community and in the larger society

UNICEF’s policy on Gender

UNICEF undertakes internal Gender Audits to adapt to evolving gender policies. The gender review ensures that gender is mainstreamed in all UNICEF’s projects and programs as well as in its work with partners. UNICEF also ensures that the monitoring and evaluation tools are gender sensitive and that every staff is aware of the UN Code of conduct.

UNICEF also uses the Harmonized Gender and Development Guidelines (HGAD) as a tool to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the development and implementation of projects.



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