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A. OVERVIEW 1. The Global Protection Cluster (GPC) brings together UN agencies, NGOs and international organizations1 working on protection-related themes in humanitarian response, including those working on human rights and in child protection, gender-based violence, mine action and housing, land and property rights2. These last four areas of work are organized in Areas of Responsibility, led by designated agencies working in concert with the broader cluster. In view of the evolution of the cluster approach and the challenges in ensuring that global clusters are responsive to the needs of the eld, a visioning exercise was initiated at the beginning of 2011 to re-orient the GPC towards a strengthened operational support. The visioning revisited the scope and focus of the GPC to ensure that support is better targeted to the needs of the eld, that the GPC capitalizes on its wide participation, that it is leaner in structure and quicker in responding to the eld and that this informs priority setting at the global level. It took place at the same time as a re-orientation of the cluster approach in general: the IASC Principals3 have made a number of recommendations with regards to clusters, including a return to the original purpose of the clusters, refocusing them on strategic and operational gaps analysis, planning, assessment and results. As an outcome of the visioning exercise, in November 2011, the Global Protection Cluster agreed that it needs to develop the present strategy to set out the broad framework under which it should operate and to highlight the overarching objectives of its work. It provides an overview of protection concerns, the clusters agreed strategic priorities in response and the approach the cluster intends to take over the coming three years. In addition, the GPC agreed that it should develop an action plan with indicators to show how time bound concrete tasks and outcomes to implement the strategy translate into practice4, with further areas elaborated in the work-plans of the Child Protection, GBV, Mine Action and HLP AORs. These work-plans should converge to strengthen the agreed priorities of the GPC as a whole and will be annexed to this document.




A World in which boys, girls, women and men affected or threatened by humanitarian crises are fully protected in accordance with their rights.5

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Including the International Committee of the Red Cross as an observer Lead agencies for these Areas of Responsibility have equivalent accountability to cluster leads, including as provider of last resort for their area. Revised Action Points of the IASC Principals Meetings, 13 December 2011, PR/1112/3946/7 Report of the GPC visioning meeting, November 2011 Report of the GPC visioning meeting, June 2011

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Strategy Framework 2012-2014

C. GPC MISSION 4. States have the primary responsibility to protect all persons within their jurisdiction in line with international human rights law, international humanitarian law and refugee law. In this context, the mission of the GPC is to facilitate a more predictable, accountable and effective response by humanitarian, human rights and development actors to protection concerns within the context of humanitarian action in complex emergencies, disasters and other such situations. Established primarily to support the implementation of the cluster approach, the GPC is also ready, within the limits of its capacity, to support protection coordination mechanisms and country teams in all complex emergencies, disasters and other such situations.

D. LEADERSHIP AND PARTICIPATION 5. As Global Lead of the Protection Cluster, UNHCR is responsible for ensuring protection sector-wide preparedness and technical capacity to respond to emergencies and for ensuring greater predictability and more effective inter-agency responses in protection activities that the GPCs participants carry out. The GPC is guided by the Principles of Partnership, which underscore that participants respect each other as equal partners, undertake tasks with transparency, adopt a results oriented approach, show responsibility in the implementation of activities, and ensure complementarity of participants activities.


E. SITUATION ANALYSIS 7. Some one billion people, including about 340 million of the worlds extreme poor, are estimated to live in fragile states.6 Fragile states are often characterized by ongoing violence and insecurity, a legacy of conict, weak governance and the inability to deliver the efcient and equitable distribution of public goods. Fragile states are behind in meeting all the Millennium Development Goals and fragility most negatively affects the poorest and most marginalized in society, including women and children, people with disabilities and older persons. In countries affected by conict, civilians continue to face insecurity and serious risk to their lives. Civilian loss of life due to conict is of serious concern in many contexts around the world. For example, in Afghanistan 3,021 people lost their lives in 2011 as a result of conict. Countries falling behind in their development achievements are also more vulnerable to natural disasters. Countries with low GDP and weak governance tend to have drastically higher mortality risks than wealthier countries with stronger governance.7 As a global average, 387 disasters were reported each year between 2000-2009. In 2010, disasters killed


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DfID Topic Guide on Fragile States, October 2010; IPCC, 2012: Summary for Policymakers. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea,K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, pp. 1-19.

Global Protection Cluster

more than 297,000 people worldwide and affected over 217.0 million others,8 including over 42 million people who were displaced from their homes by sudden-onset natural disasters.9 9. There are several cases where without action to tackle the causes of displacement -persecution, violence, authoritarian rule, failures of governance, economic collapse and natural disasters- people remain in ever more protracted displacement, while at the same time the patterns of displacement are changing and the scale of displacement is also growing.10 At the end of 2010, 27.5 million people were displaced internally, experiencing insecurity, human rights violations and discrimination in access to services, including access to justice. Urban displacement is a growing trend as is the number of people in protracted displacement.11

10. It is against this background that the humanitarian system is called upon to support states when these are overwhelmed by the challenges confronting them. Humanitarian crisis, both conicts and natural disasters, almost invariably result in or exacerbate human rights concerns. At the same time, it is also true that pre-existing human rights concerns often either trigger or exacerbate the impact of the crisis on the affected population-Humanitarian action is no substitute for development that alleviates poverty; but it is unconscionable to fail to act to save lives and to help people regain decent living conditions in any cases, whether the root causes of a crisis come from extreme chronic vulnerabilities and accumulated stresses or a sudden extraordinary event.12 Most conicts are characterized by large scale or systematic international humanitarian law and human rights violations. . Experience has also shown human rights challenges to be widespread in natural disaster situations, while relatively less attention to the need for human rights protection has been given to responses in these contexts. Natural hazards are not disasters, in and of themselves. They become disasters depending on the elements of exposure, vulnerability and resilience, all factors that can be addressed by human action. A human rights based approach must be fully integrated by different clusters in planning, preparedness, response and recovery efforts for all crises. 11. While a crisis can affect any country at any time there are situations of chronic instability, which even over several decades have not improved. At the same time, increasingly diverse and unexpected situations requiring intervention have been noted, with unpredictability becoming the name of the game At the beginning of 2012, there were 33 countries with Humanitarian Coordinators and 120 where inter-agency contingency plans have been developed to respond to potential crisis. In the eld, 28 protection clusters are currently active,13 19 in complex emergencies characterized by extensive violence and loss of life, displacement, widespread damage to social and economic life, the need for large-scale, multi-faceted assistance and the hindrance of assistance, including risk to relief workers- and nine in natural disaster situations. In these countries, the right to life, the right to security of person, the enjoyment of economic and social rights, constraints on humanitarian access and space coupled with a lack of local protection response capacity, displacement and the protection of civilians in conict are all signicant concerns.

Guha-Sapir D, Vos F, Below R, with Ponserre S. Annual Disaster Statistical Review 2010: The Numbers and Trends. Brussels: CRED; 2011. IDMC. Displacement due to naturalhazard-induceddisasters: Global estimates for 2009 and 2010, June 2011 Statement of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to the Security Council, New York, 23 November 2011 IDMC Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2010, Geneva, March 2011 Humanitarian Appeal 2011, New York, November 2010 Figure correct as of February 2012

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Strategy Framework 2012-2014

12. Looking to the future, three megatrends have been identied as likely to shape humanitarian action: changes in the dynamics and means of conict, urbanisation and climate change.14 To this, others have added economic crises, the serious humanitarian consequences of situations of violence other than armed conict15 and population shifts.16

F. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES 13. The GPC adopts the IASC denition of protection which states that protection is all activities aimed at ensuring full respect for the rights of the individual in accordance with the letter and spirit of the relevant bodies of law (i.e. human rights law, international humanitarian law and refugee laws). 14. While noting that an analysis of cluster strategies in the eld17 reveals that recurrent themes cover a range of human rights issues, protection of civilians in conict, response to genderbased violence and child protection the GPC will always aim for a comprehensive protection response. 15. With that aim, the GPC adopts as strategic objectives over the period of this framework: 1. increased support to the eld 2. global engagement on protection issues

Strategic Objective 1: increased support to the eld 16. Field protection clusters and coordinators have certain key responsibilities for example assessment and analysis, strategy development and implementation; performance monitoring and evaluation; advocacy; training, technical assistance and local capacity strengthening; information management and contingency planning. It is the GPCs role to ensure that the eld has the necessary support and capacity to implement those responsibilities in a timely and comprehensive manner. However, its role in this respect has been uneven and in some cases not felt at all. To increase the effectiveness and relevance of its support to the eld the GPC will: Develop and disseminate a Protection Cluster Toolbox to include such key essential tools as contingency planning and protection assessment tools. Establish a GPC help desk to consist of a team of technical experts to provide guidance and assistance to protection actors in the eld, particularly focussed on specialised areas. Strengthen rapid deployment capacity by building on existing available standby arrangements, including those within the AORs. Strengthen training of Cluster Coordinators and protection cluster members on coordination skills and technical aspects of protection.
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The Politics of Protection, Elizabeth G. Ferris, Brookings Institution Press, 2011 Also noted by the IDMC in its Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2010, Geneva, March 2011 and in Armed Non-State Actors and Displacement, IDMC & Geneva Call, Geneva, June 2011 International Crisis Groups Strategic Framework 2011-2014, Brussels, May 2011 ProCap analysis of protection cluster strategies, UNHCR IDP Operations Consultations, October 2011

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Global Protection Cluster

Strategic Objective 2: global engagement on protection issues 17. Advocacy is an identied responsibility of global cluster lead agencies and clusters,18 and is seen as a priority for the GPC in the future. Advocacy is among the activities recently identied by the IASC Principals as critical to improving the humanitarian system as a whole. Independent of advocacy in specic complex emergencies, protracted situations and natural disasters, in New York, Geneva, Addis Ababa and elsewhere, policy discussions on humanitarian action have implications for protection in the eld and the GPC must engage in them, specically to bring operational perspectives on protection to bear. To increase global engagement on protection issues the GPC will: Clarify the role of the GPC in engaging with donors, as well as States more broadly, and map issues, outcomes and stakeholders for this engagement. Undertake global level advocacy to highlight key protection concerns with an emphasis on neglected or marginalised groups and context specic advocacy in support of eld protection actors. Mainstream protection in the humanitarian response is the responsibility of all clusters. The GPC will support Protection Clusters in the eld to carry out advocacy with the humanitarian community and provide advice to ensure this is done at eld level. To this end the GPC will also work with other global clusters to further this objective.

G. COMMITMENT TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STRATEGY 18. All GPC partner agencies, which include the Cluster Lead Agency and the AOR Focal Point Agencies, commit to the implementation of this strategy and the highest standard of collaboration and coordination to ensure efcient use of resources, greater accountability and transparency and, as a result, a more effective provision of operational support to eld based protection actors. All GPC partner agencies have common responsibilities to each other and the cluster to reach the objectives contained in this strategy, to this end, each partner agency commits itself to undertake measurable actions pursuant to its implementation and in accordance with agreed workplans. 19. UNHCR, as the Cluster Lead Agency, has a responsibility , actively supported by all GPC partner agencies, to ensure the strongest possible leadership and coordination of the GPC, including the provision of core capacity in the Operations Cell. UNHCRs contribution to the Operations Cell will be complemented by that of AOR focal point agencies and other GPC partner agencies. 20. All GPC partner agencies will demonstrate an understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the cluster, as dened through the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Terms of References and Guidance Notes and any guidance specic to the GPC itself. All GPC partner agencies will also demonstrate capacity and willingness to concretely contribute and

IASC Guidance Note on Using the Cluster Approach to Strengthen Humanitarian Response, Geneva, 24 November 2006. The IASC Guidance Note on Using the Cluster Approach to Strengthen Humanitarian Response (November 2006).


Strategy Framework 2012-2014

participate in activities within the GPC and commitment to consistently engage in the clusters work. This commitment will also include willingness to take on lead responsibilities on activities to ensure equitable and decentralised responsibility sharing in the implementation of the priority focus area activities.

Implementation 21. In order to achieve the strategic objectives identied above and in line with the Principles of Partnership, the GPC will implement a number of changes to its structural organization and working methods: Ensure greater integration of and coordination between constituent parts of the GPC. Establish a GPC Operations Cell to act as a catalyst and provide traction for key GPC activities and ensure secretariat functions l: Revise structure of the GPC to be commensurate with tasks: all existing GPC task forces20 will be reviewed against stated deliverables and work within the GPC will be reorganized around the key outputs that have been identied under the strategic objectives and taken up by task team. The Rule of Law AOR has been phased out already and rule of law issues will be taken up directly within the GPC with the support of key agencies. Improve coordination through strategy, work-plan, communication and meetings: communication and information ow within the GPC will be improved by more strategic use of meetings and electronic communication, including a well-functioning website and social media.

H. MONITORING AND IMPACT EVALUATION 22. In order to monitor performance and measure the impact of its work in meeting the strategic objectives outlined above, the GPC will hold more regular monthly meetings at which action points will be taken and reported and participants, AORs and task forces will report on the achievement of time-bound tasks. 23. Field clusters will call into the monthly meetings and operational support will be considered as the priority agenda item. A survey will be undertaken among eld clusters to assess the impact of the GPCs work in supporting them. 24. The GPC, including its AORs and task forces will report in a trafc-lights format on progress in implementing work-plans. The GPC Coordinator will produce an annual report on the progress of the GPC. 25. The strategic objectives set out in this framework will be revisited at appropriate intervals to ensure continuing relevance.


GPC task forces include: learning, protection mainstreaming, good practices, information management, and natural disasters.

Global Protection Cluster