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The Whistler Declaration on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in International Assistance

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Sexual exploitation and abuse cannot be tolerated, including in the development and humanitarian assistance sectors. These malign practices amount to a flagrant abuse of trust and power and undermine the efforts and legitimacy of international assistance and cooperation and can also violate human rights. While we recognize that the recent cases of sexual exploitation and abuse do not represent the conduct of the vast majority of aid workers, nevertheless, in recent months, G7 members have communicated their expectation that partners adhere to the highest ethical standards in numerous international fora and called for concrete actions to keep people safe from this harm. Addressing these instances of sexual exploitation and abuse requires a system-wide approach that tackles deep rooted gender inequality and power imbalances, prioritizes transparency and accountability, and meets the needs of beneficiaries and survivors, recognizing the particular challenges faced by certain individuals including those with a disability and persons belonging to minorities who are often marginalized in society . There is a pressing need to lead a step change on tackling sexual exploitation and abuse, building on previous efforts to strengthen safeguarding policies and procedures to drive positive change; recognizing we must also address closely-related issues of sexual harassment.

We welcome the UN Secretary General’s zero tolerance approach to sexual exploitation and abuse across the UN system and the Voluntary Compact on Preventing Sexual Abuse and Exploitation. We recognize efforts over the last decade by international agencies and partners, including through the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), to systematize protection from sexual exploitation and abuse within the humanitarian architecture, such as the IASC’s Six Core Principles of Codes of Conduct and IASC’s Eight Minimum Operating Standards on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

We, the G7 Development Ministers commit that our Governments will work together and with our partners to strengthen our national and international system’s ability to protect individuals from, and respond to, sexual exploitation and abuse in international assistance.

Our Governments will:

G7 Ministers will continue their collaboration to advance these commitments, including through the participation of their governments at the upcoming international conference on tackling sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, to be held in London, UK on 18th October 2018.

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