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    • The Women, Peace, Security Agenda - An Important Policy Priority in NATO Member and Partner Nations

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    • Date: 27 May 2014
      The "Gender Mainstreaming: Indicators for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 and its Related Resolutions" conference, held in Belgrade from May 26 to 27, 2014, brought together some of the top researchers, practitioners, and policymakers who work in the field of women, peace, and security, in which they exchanged ideas and best practices on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and its related resolutions. This diverse and dynamic group of speakers and panellists offered new perspectives on how best to increase implementation and learn from the experiences of others.

      Participants and organizing team of the conference
      Participants and organizing team of the conference

      “The implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325 affects us all and needs to be seen as a matter of human rights; not only as a women’s issue. Therefore, we should move beyond simply counting women in the security sector and start actively changing people’s mindset in addressing the UNSCR 1325 - Women, Peace and Security Agenda,” pointed out the BCSP director Sonja Stojanovic Gajic in her welcoming speech.

      The State secretary in the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia, Zoran Djordjevic, emphasized that, due to the efforts of the MOD, women have become more visible in the Serbian Military. He promised that his Ministry would continue to be an active partner in improving the role of women in Serbia’s security sector, as well as adhering to and promoting women’s rights.  Similarly, Marija Obradovic, the Chairwoman of the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee in National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, concluded that the participation of women in the security sector has significantly increased and that all institutions must use their full capacity to continue the realization of the NAP and work towards mutual cooperation.

      Mari Skère, the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace, and Security, gave a keynote speech in which she noted the importance in acknowledging the different security needs of both women and men. This can be achieved only through cooperation and engagement with civil society.  Moreover, she remarked that it is in the interest of society that women participate and bring their unique experiences in order to increase the legitimacy of any peace process or international peace operation.

      It remains necessary for government and civil society to work together in the endeavour to strengthen the implication of women in peace processes and security related matters”, said Skère.

      The aim of the two-day conference was exchanging experiences on translating UNSCR 1325 in the practical state measures
      The aim of the two-day conference was exchanging experiences on translating UNSCR 1325 in the practical state measures
      Main Challenges in Translating the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda at National Levels

      During the conference, it was noted that it is essential for all countries that have still not adapted the National action plans to do so, otherwise it will curbing the state's power to work effectively on the "Women Peace Security" Agenda. Where states have adopted the NAP, aspirational rather than operational plans have been put into effect. However, an unfortunate lack of coordination has incapacitated state bodies from developing monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for implementation of NAPs for UNSCR 1325. 

      It was concluded that most countries in the process of NAP implementation used a quantitative approach in which increasing the number of women in public institutions (e.g. national parliament, military, and other such bodies) was done without paying much attention to comprehensively mainstream gender. Therein, many actors in this process insist on qualitative criteria, albeit they may be far more difficult to develop and assess.

      In the process of establishing, monitoring, and evaluating the NAPs, a plan has to be realistic, resources must be well defined, and political efforts needs to be straightforward”, highlighted one participant at the conference.

      The conference was organized by BCSP in partnership with SIPRI - North America and Women In International Security
      The conference was organized by BCSP in partnership with SIPRI - North America and Women In International Security
      Weak Implementation of the Conflict Prevention Pillar

      The Conference saw many references to the UNSCR Resolution pillars. In the core of the UNSCR there are four pillars that support the goals of the Resolution: Protection, Participation, Prevention of Conflict, and Relief and Recovery. NATO member and partner nations have invested much effort in increasing the participation of women at all levels of the decision-making process, including national, regional, and international institutions. However, not enough has been done for the Conflict Prevention Pillar.

      “Governments still need to mainstream gender perspectives into all conflict prevention activities and strategies”, said Chantal de Jonge OudraatPresident of WIIS and Executive Director of SIPRI-NA.

      Given the fact that violations of women as an instrument of war continue, Angelic Young, Senior Coordinator of Resolution to Act at Institutes for Inclusive Security,concluded that “If you want to end sexual violence in conflicts, end conflicts first.’’ By addressing the main goal of the WPS Agenda, she vocalized the significance of the paradigm shift as a change from depicting women as passive victims to women as agents of change.

      “The creation of a new pillar on raising awareness of the role of women would help to challenge and confront prejudice against women in the security sector, which would have positive implications on prejudices that exist in society as a whole”, stressed out Young.

      The conference involved over 140 participants from more than 20 NATO and partner states.
      The conference involved over 140 participants from more than 20 NATO and partner states.
      Gender Perspective in Military Operations, Planning, and Leadership

      The anchoring point of the Workshop on Gender and Military Operation, Planning, and Leadership was to attest to the fact that leadership is crucial for the 1325 Implementation and a main agreement found was that transformative leadership can change attitudes and behaviour.

      Participants concluded that current leadership is not sufficiently trained and, therefore, there is still need for gender sensitization of military personnel to be developed and implemented.

      Defence ministries need to broaden their approach from focusing on recruiting more women for the armed forces to emphasizing integration of gender perspectives in the planning, execution, and evaluation of all operations and engagements. The integration of gender perspectives, in fact, increases operational effectiveness and enhances the ability of the armed forces to carry out their mandates in the service of conflict prevention and peacekeeping.

      The conference is organized by Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP), in partnership with Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI - North America) and Women In International Security (WIIS), and supported by an Advanced Research Workshop award from the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme.

       

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