Statement on Agenda Item 114: Report of the Secretary-General on Implementation of the UN Strategy on Assistance and Support to Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN Staff and Related Personnel

Laura G. Ross
Senior Advisor 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
November 16, 2009


Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States welcomes this important report of the Secretary-General.  We are gratified to note that the UN system is taking action to institutionalize implementation of this important pillar of the Organization’s response to sexual exploitation and abuse by UN staff and related personnel.  The victims of such abuse are beginning to receive the assistance they need to address the very real needs arising out of these reprehensible acts.

We appreciate the frankness on how the Strategy is being implemented in practice by humanitarian and peacekeeping missions that are operating in often difficult circumstances.  We welcome the recognition that while such misconduct is the exception, as it should be, it is committed by all categories of personnel, and that therefore measures to prevent and address sexual exploitation and abuse must be taken throughout the UN system and should include clear standards of conduct for contractors and other partners.

We note that the report indicates varying levels of coordination among UN agencies at the country level on implementing measures to assist victims of sexual exploitation and abuse.  The work already being done to use existing legal, medical and other community programs is very useful.  We would also like to call attention to other practical steps being taken to strengthen implementation of the Strategy.  For example, the report notes that the UN Development Group has approved revised job descriptions for managers that include responsibility for coordinating implementation of the Strategy.  This is exactly the kind of measure that ensures that busy leaders see this as a priority.  Another such example is the inclusion of clauses in contracts that would establish for such contractors appropriate standards of conduct. 

The United States believes that there is a clear need for continuing reporting on the implementation of this strategy.  In this regard, we look forward to exploring what additional measures might be needed to strengthen and institutionalize application of the Strategy.

In conclusion, we would like to express both our appreciation of the work that has already been done and our recognition of the enormous challenges ahead.  The United States reiterates its support for the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy and calls on all Member States to strengthen their resolve to change the culture of impunity that allows such reprehensible acts to take place. 

Thank you, Mr. President.


PRN: 2009/272