The United Nations (U.N.) system supports a number of programs that address international violence against women (VAW). These activities, which are implemented by 36 U.N. entities, range from large-scale interagency initiatives to smaller grants andMoreThe United Nations (U.N.) system supports a number of programs that address international violence against women (VAW).
These activities, which are implemented by 36 U.N. entities, range from large-scale interagency initiatives to smaller grants and programs that are implemented by a range of partners, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), national governments, and individual U.N. agencies. U.N. member states, including the United States, address VAW by ratifying multilateral treaties, adopting resolutions and decisions, and supporting U.N. mechanisms and bodies that focus on the issue.Many U.N.
activities and mechanisms address VAW directly, while others focus on it in the context of broader issues such as humanitarian assistance, U.N. peacekeeping, and global health. U.N. entities do not specifically track the cost of programs or activities with anti-VAW components. As a result, it is unclear how much the U.N. system, including individual U.N. agencies, funds, and programs, spends annually on programs to combat violence against women.The U.S.
government supports many activities that, either in whole or in part, work to combat international violence against women. Some experts argue that when considering the most effective ways to address VAW on an international scale, the United States should take into account the efforts of international organizations such as the United Nations. Were the 112th Congress to decide to use U.N.
mechanisms to combat VAW, a number of programs and options might be considered. Congress has appropriated funds to the U.N. Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women, for example, as well as to U.N. agencies, funds, and programs that address types or circumstances of violence against women and girls. These include the U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), World Health Organization (WHO), U.N. Development Program (UNDP), U.N.
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The Senate has also provided its advice and consent to U.S. ratification of treaties that address international violence against women and girls—including the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.At the same time, however, some policymakers contend that U.N.
anti-VAW activities may not always align with U.S. foreign assistance priorities. They emphasize that rather than focusing on multilateral efforts, the U.S. government should focus on its own anti-VAW activities. Additionally, others may suggest that the U.S. government reconsider its efforts to combat international VAW in light of the global economic crisis, economic recession, and consequent calls to lower the U.S.
budget deficit.This report provides an overview of recent U.N. efforts to address VAW and highlights key U.N. interagency efforts. It also discusses selected U.N. funds, programs, and agencies that address international violence against women. It does not assess the extent to which VAW is directly addressed or is part of a larger initiative or program.For information on international violence against women, including its causes, consequences, and U.S.
policy, see CRS Report RL34438, International Violence Against Women: U.S. Response and Policy Issues.