WPS Achievements in Contingent Owned Equipment Manual Negotiations

Flickr/UN: The only female peacekeeper, Captain Nampuelelo Nteo, in the United Nations Organisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo in her team of nine, 2006
May 12, 2023

The United Nations (UN) Contingent Owned Equipment (COE) Manuel has been revised after negotiations in January. There were a number of small changes that are expected to make peacekeeping missions a more receptive environment for women peacekeepers.

The first revision to the manuel was to the design of accommodations at peacekeeping missions. According to the new COE, missions will be expected to account for "gender parity considerations to increase the number of women peacekeepers." This includes sufficient privacy in laundry facilities, ensuring dignity and hygiene in ablution facilities, and equal access to recreational activities.

The requirement for the Formed Police Unit (FPU) kits have also been updated. FPUs will now have to be compiled taking into account the "physiological differences" between male and female personnel. Sizing, especially of armour, will no longer be considered unisex. In the past, unisex armour was typically based on male sizes, making it uncomfortable for women peacekeepers.

The language detailing medical care for peacekeepers in the COE has also been amended. It now makes specific references to "drugs for common gynaecological conditions" and "menstrual products."

Lastly, amendments have also been made to the MOU between the UN and troops- and policing- contributing countries (T/PCCs). While the MOU previously stated that peacekeepers were not to harm members of the local population or be abusive or uncivil to any member of the public, it made no mention of fellow peacekeepers. The latest revisions to the MOU now include codes of conduct towards fellow peacekeepers, bringing it closer to preventing sexual assault and discrimination against women serving in peacekeeping forces around the world.

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