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Part Six of Code Blue’s Overview series.

For more on Code Blue’s Overviews CLICK HERE.



The position of Special Coordinator on Improving the United Nations Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, at the Under-Secretary-General level, was created by then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in February 2016.

Mr. Ban was acting on the recommendations of the December 2015 report of the High-Level External Independent Review Panel on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by International Peacekeeping Forces in the Central African Republic, commonly known as the CAR Review Panel. Ms. Jane Holl Lute of the United States was named to the post for a one-year assignment. Secretary-General Ban said Ms. Lute would ensure “that the systemic issues, fragmentation and other weaknesses identified” by the CAR Review Panel would be “fully addressed in a timely manner” to “uphold the trust that must underpin all international engagements.”

When António Guterres became Secretary-General in January 2017, he extended Ms. Lute’s appointment and asked her to convene a high-level task force to outline what would become his New Approach. Mr. Guterres reported to Member States that the Special Coordinator—i.e., Ms. Lute—was responsible “to me, through the Chef de Cabinet, to follow up on the recommendations” outlined in the New Approach.

Ms. Lute, who carries out her Under-Secretary-General coordinating and other functions from a remote home office in Washington D.C., currently works part time as the UN’s highest-ranking official dedicated to addressing sexual exploitation and abuse. In July 2018, she was also named by Mr. Guterres to simultaneously fill the position of Special Envoy to Cyprus.

In September 2017, the Secretary-General chaired the General Assembly’s first-ever High-Level Meeting of heads of state and government on Combating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. Immediately following, Ms. Lute hosted a separate meeting for the key civil society organizations involved in the issue. She reported to those present that invitations would be forthcoming to the Secretary-General’s planned Civil Society Advisory Board. The membership of that Civil Society Advisory Board was announced a year and a half later; none of the meeting participants are included.

Ms. Lute has overseen an update of the "No Excuses Card," the pocket-sized card distributed to peacekeeping and non-peacekeeping personnel as a reminder to refrain from sexual exploitation and abuse.