Every individual is unique. The actual or perceived differences between us shape our opportunities, capacities, needs and vulnerability; and perceptions of difference can influence how we are treated by others.
Conflict and displacement affect individuals differently, depending on their age, gender, disability, and other diversity characteristics. UNHCR's age, gender and diversity (AGD) policy seeks to ensure that all forcibly displaced and stateless persons fully participate in decisions that affect them and enjoy their rights on an equal footing with others.
Age denotes the different stages in a person's life cycle. It is important to know where people are in their life cycle, because their capacities and needs change over time. Age influences and can enhance or diminish people's capacity to exercise their rights, and must be considered in all protection, assistance and solutions programmes.
and adolescents can bring unique and valuable perspectives and solutions to problems that confront them and their communities.
Youth are frequently overlooked as a social group, When given the opportunity to develop their talents and skills, youth have the potential to make important contributions to protection and to solutions, for themselves and for their communities.
may face heightened protection risks, due to the negative interaction of ageing with barriers in the environment, including ageist attitudes, and other personal characteristics. When supported, they can play vital roles in their households and communities.
Gender denotes the socially constructed roles of women and men, which are often central to the way in which people define themselves and are defined by others. Gender roles are learned, may change over time, and vary within and between cultures. Gender often defines the duties, responsibilities, constraints, opportunities and privileges of women, men, girls and boys in any context. The principle of gender equality affirms that all individuals regardless of their gender should enjoy rights, responsibilities and opportunities on equal terms. It implies respect for the interests, needs and priorities of all genders. Combating discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is inextricably linked to gender equality, since it challenges negative gender stereotypes and systemic discrimination arising from prejudice.
Women and girls fill important roles in their communities and families and wider society and contribute in various ways to strengthening protection and solutions. Supporting the empowerment of women and girls is vital for dismantling gender barriers and reducing inequalities.
Men and boys can be agents of change in favour of rights, and can work to increase gender equality and prevent gender-based violence (GBV).
Persons with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and/or sex characteristics (SOGIESC), including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) persons face complex challenges, threats, and barriers and often experience discrimination, abuse, and violence.
Diversity denotes the different values, attitudes, cultural perspectives, beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, sexual orientations, gender identities , disabilities, health, social and economic status, skills and other specific personal characteristics that people possess. Diversity characteristics vary from person to person and intersect with age and gender, making each person unique. UNHCR undertakes to recognize, understand, respect and value these differences in each specific context and operation, to ensure that all forcibly displaced and stateless persons are protected appropriately. Respecting diversity means recognizing and valuing those differences and creating a protective, inclusive, and non-discriminatory environment in which every person's rights are upheld. The general concept of diversity is also a call to not restrict ourselves to pre-defined groups which may be marginalized or need specific responses, as this may also be highly context-specific.
experience physical, attitudinal, information and communication barriers to access services and assistance. As a result, they may be excluded from programmes, denied participation in decisions that affect their lives, and lack support networks.
M are often marginalized or excluded from participation in socio‑economic life, rarely have access to political power and frequently encounter structural obstacles to manifesting their identity. These obstacles are multiplied for minorities and indigenous peoples during forced displacement and statelessness, and increase protection risks.
UNHCR Policy on AGD (2018)
In 2018, UNHCR revised its AGD Policy. The updated policy consolidates and updates UNHCR's commitments to inclusive AGD programming, to accountability to affected people (AAP) , and to women and girls. These commitments complement and build on one another. The AGD Policy sets out ten minimum core actions that are mandatory for all UNHCR operations in all contexts, including emergencies
For purposes of analysis and programming, all data collected by UNHCR will be disaggregated, by age, sex, and disability at minimum, and by other elements of diversity where contextually appropriate and possible.
PARTICIPATION AND INCLUSION
At a minimum, country operations will employ participatory methodologies at each stage of an operation's management cycle, and will incorporate the capacities and priorities of persons of all ages, genders and diverse backgrounds into protection, assistance, and solutions programmes. In an emergency, this may include organizing focus group discussions with diverse groups as soon as possible to ensure the response provided is adequate and identify potential adaptations.
COMMUNICATION AND TRANSPARENCY
At a minimum, all country-level protection and solutions strategies will detail the operation's approach to communicating with persons of diverse age, gender and diversity backgrounds, using means that are appropriate and accessible to all groups in a community. In an emergency, access to information and communication can be promoted by using multiple channels, including radio messaging, audio and printed information, and community volunteers, among other.
FEEDBACK AND RESPONSE
At a minimum, all UNHCR operations will establish and operate feedback and response systems, including for confidential complaints. Channels can be adapted for emergency response, including the use of digital and in-person mechanisms.
ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING AND ADAPTATION
At a minimum, UNHCR operations will adapt programmes and strategies in response to input from forcibly displaced and stateless persons, and document this in country operation plans and annual reporting. In emergencies, use feedback collected through focus group discussions and feedback channels to adapt programming and document lessons learned as soon as possible.
ADVANCING GENDER EQUALITY
a. At a minimum, UNHCR operations will ensure that 50% of those who participate in management and leadership structures under UNHCR's authority are women. UNHCR will encourage partners, including Governments, to do the same.
b. At a minimum, UNHCR will provide forcibly displaced and stateless women and girls with individual protection documentation and will encourage partners, including Governments, to do the same.
c. Depending on the context, UNHCR operations will increase the percentage of women who are the primary recipients of assistance in households that receive material or cash-based assistance.
d. At a minimum, UNHCR will ensure that women and girls have equal access to livelihood, education, and health programmes it delivers, and will work to persuade partners, including Governments, to give them equal access to public services.
e. At a minimum, UNHCR operations will adopt and apply GBV standard operating procedures; operationalize the four main referral pathways for all survivors (safety/security, legal, medical, and psychosocial); and encourage partners, including Governments, to do the same.