Image by Jessica Lea/Department for International Development
  • Report
  • 19 March 2020

Gender-based violence and the nexus: global lessons from the Syria crisis response for financing, policy and practice: Chapter 4



From the perspective of humanitarian agencies, a key reason for suboptimal responses to GBV in crisis is the failure to prioritise and mobilise sufficient funding for GBV. This funding gap overshadows other concerns over the nexus. The Syria case illustrates the importance of also addressing insufficient development funding for GBV in crisis contexts. In Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, the advances made in GBV prevention and services as part of the crisis response plans will be rolled back when humanitarian funding declines if governments and development donors do not step in to finance and sustain this work.

The 3RP framework has enabled humanitarian agencies delivering GBV services to take a longer term approach, including linking with and strengthening national systems. The main focus of the nexus revolves around how humanitarian agencies (or those agencies that operate in both humanitarian and development contexts) can transition from immediate relief to longer term, sustainable developmental approaches. There are fewer examples of efforts to strengthen partnerships and develop joint approaches between humanitarian and development actors or of development actors shifting their approach to pick up issues that are beyond the reach of humanitarian assistance.

The shift towards longer term, developmental approaches to GBV over the course of the crisis is clear in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, and it has been enabled by a number of other factors. These include: the relatively strong capacity of the government and civil society organisations; the availability of finance to the crisis response in general and for GBV in particular; significant progress in the localisation agenda, which has enabled stronger partnerships with women’s organisations and national NGOs; and the increase in multi-year funding, especially to UN agencies, enabling a longer term approach.[1]

The Lebanon and Jordan cases illustrate that crisis response plans can accelerate and strengthen national service provision for GBV prevention and response. In both contexts, humanitarian agencies working on GBV have worked in parallel to engage and strengthen the capacity of national organisations and national systems. However, GBV services in Lebanon and Jordan remain dependent upon humanitarian funding, development assistance targeting GBV remains very small, and government ownership and capacity to co-finance GBV services appears limited. Sustained effort is needed to continue to build national capacity and ownership, and to secure sustainable finance, if the same quality and coverage of services is to continue when humanitarian funding declines. In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the government is taking strong leadership of GBV, and the UN system has moved towards a model of co-financing for all aspects of its support, including GBV. However, declining humanitarian funding is also likely to impact the quality of services.