Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations: Baseline Study

November 5, 2018

The Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) recently reported the results of a study commission by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) on women's participation in police and military peacekeeping. The methods and objectives of the study are stated in its abstract:

The proportion of female police and military peacekeepers remains well below UN targets. Research suggests that the main reason behind the small numbers seems to be a variety of challenges and barriers to uniformed women deploying to PKOs. This baseline study compiles and analyses research published to date on the topic.

The study was commissioned by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) in the framework of the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations. The main objectives of this study are to describe the current situation as concerns women’s participation in military and police roles in United Nations peacekeeping operations, document international good practice to increase such participation, and identify challenges and barriers to the recruitment, training, retention, deployment and promotion of uniformed women in peacekeeping operations.

See the full study: Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations: Baseline Study

Agents of Change? Gender Advisors in NATO Militaries

September 3, 2018


This paper is about the experiences of Gender Advisors in NATO and partner militaries, and the question of whether militaries can contribute to a feminist vision of peace and security. Gender Advisors are increasingly being adopted as a mechanism to help militaries to implement commitments under the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Based on semi-structured interviews and a workshop with individuals working as Military Gender Advisors from 2009 to 2016 in Afghanistan, Kosovo and in NATO and national military commands and headquarters, this paper explores their own perceptions of their work, its goals, shortcomings and achievements. It highlights Military Gender Advisors’ strong commitment to Women, Peace and Security aims, but the resistance their work faces within their institutions, and challenges of inadequate resourcing, preparation and contextual knowledge. Military Gender Advisors’ experiences paint a picture of NATO and partner Militaries having in some places made progress in protection and empowerment of local women, but fragile and partial. These findings speak to wider debates within feminist security studies around whether and how militaries achieve human security in peacekeeping operations, and the risks of militarization of the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

Authors: Megan Bastick and Claire Duncanson

Journal of International Peacekeeping, Volume 25, 2018 - Issue 4

Communiqué Signatures on Women, Peace and Security during the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial, London September 2016

September 11, 2017

The Governments of Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Finland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uruguay, Vietnam and Zambia jointly declare their support for the following:

“We remain committed to increasing the participation of women in uniformed roles, and we want to see the integration of women’s needs and gender perspectives into all aspects of peacekeeping.

We urge the Secretary General to prioritise the appointment of more women in senior UN leadership positions and to double the numbers of women in military and police contingents of UN peacekeeping operations by 2020.

We call on all Member States to increase the number of women as individual police officers as part of specialised teams and formed police units, as well as in leadership positions and professional posts to reach the target of 20 percent launched through the Global Effort initiative in 2009. Member States should also prioritise the nomination of more female correction officers.

We further call on all Member States to develop and implement National Action Plans on Women, Peace, and Security, and to increase the number of women officers serving in missions as Staff Officers and Military Observers, and attending UN Staff Office and Military Observer Training Courses. We aim for 15% of such roles being filled by women by December 2017.

We also ask Member States to ensure all their training is gender-sensitive and where necessary includes training to advance specific skills of women officers in relation to the role of Military Observer. Every UN peacekeeping mission should have the ability to engage with women as well as men in UN mission areas. We urge the Secretary-General to work with Member States to increase the number of UN women mediators. We support Military Observer Team sites including Mixed Engagement Teams with multiple women officers and mixed Formed Police Units of at least one platoon of women officers. We call for Military and Police Gender Advisers in both Field Mission Headquarters and within each self-sustaining formed unit.

We encourage the Secretary-General to continue to take steps to strengthen the accountability of senior leaders for mainstreaming gender and improving gender balance in their respective missions and departments and welcome the introduction of gender targets as performance indicators in all compacts with senior managers at United Nations headquarters and in the field.

We call on all Member States to take substantive measures to increase gender balance in peacekeeping; there are a variety of ways to support this action, including appointing Gender Champions in their national systems, taking steps to increase the number of women in their national militaries, and providing the UN with information on what military roles are open to servicewomen alongside a breakdown of the proportion of male and female officers by rank.

These measures should act as a stepping stone to fulfilling the Security Council’s request in resolution 2242 to, as a minimum, double the number of women peacekeepers by 2020.”

UN Peacekeeping Summit 2016: How can peacekeeping contribute to peace?

September 11, 2017

International Alert has posted a comment on the outcome of the UN Defence Peacekeeping Ministerial 2016 in London in September 2016 and highlighted the need for changes in operational behaviour as the demands on peacekeeping operations grow. In seeking to maintain peace in areas such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), new ways of working are sought which include a specific focus on the participation of women. As stated, the UN’s High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations Report, which under the declaration coming out of the 2015 Summit, states acknowledge as an important road map for more effective peacekeeping operations.

See: International Alert article

UN Resolution on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Peacekeeping

September 11, 2017

A Resolution was adopted by the General Assembly on 10 March 2017:

71/278 United Nations action on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA)

The UN Sec Gen announced the comprehensive approach to tackling SEA in peacekeeping, noting that ‘exploitation was ….. deeply rooted in gender inequality and discrimination…. That promoting gender equality throughout the UN system, including its missions and peacekeeping forces, would help advance parity and at the same time decrease incidents of abuse.’

See Resolution:

Restoring Peace in Central African Republic

September 11, 2017

United Nations – For decades, the Central African Republic has been plagued by instability and conflict. But in the small Western town of Bouar, ex-combatants are handing over their weapons in favour of working on community projects. With support from the UN peacekeeping operation called MINUSCA, Multidimensional Integrated Stabilized Mission in the Central African Republic, these former fighters are now focused on peace and stability to advance their country.


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