Put one more item on Hillary Clinton’s agenda for her remaining time as U.S. Secretary of State: She and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah will co-chair a new interagency working group designed to prevent and respond to gender-based violence on a global scale. Clinton and Shah will have 120 days to convene the first group meeting, and three years to evaluate the U.S. government’s progress.
The working group, which was created via an Aug. 10 executive order, includes representatives from government agencies such as the Peace Corps and the Millennium Challenge Corp. and government departments from Treasury to Defense. It will implement the just-released Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender Based Violence Globally, co-published by USAID and the State Department.
First order of business: setting benchmarks, and then a timetable for reviewing those benchmarks. After 18 months, the group will complete a progress report for Clinton and Shah to review and evaluate how well the government is implementing the strategy.
The strategy will see USAID putting more funding toward gender-based violence programs, in part by creating an incentive fund, according to press officer Annette Aulton. Although she did not mention a specific amount, Aulton said the agency hopes additional funding for gender-based violence will encourage missions and bureaus to do more work in this area. By integrating gender-based violence into sectoral work, a higher number of programs and projects that address GBV would be supported, she said.
The Department of State and USAID requested $147.1 million for fiscal 2013 programs addressing gender-based violence worldwide — an increase of approximately $30 million over last year’s $117.2 million, according to the strategy.
The request was pulled from several accounts, including Food for Peace, global health accounts of the USAID and the State department, and even the International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement account.
Although USAID does plan on training staff, the new strategy does not change the procurement process by demanding additional impact statements or other nods to gender-based violence. There were no other internal changes related to the new strategy, according to Aulton.
USAID Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg wrote in a blog post that he hoped to help translate the strategy into meaningful action that incorporated women, men and children worldwide. To achieve the goals set forth in the strategy, he said USAID would work not just across government agencies but with civil society, faith-based communities and the private sector as well.
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