Women must be at ‘centre of peacekeeping decision-making’, UN chief tells Security Council

MINUSCA/Hervé Serefio Zambian female peacekeepers provide medical support to the local population in Birao, Central African Republic.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Women’s rights, voices and participation must be at “the centre of peacekeeping decision-making”, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council on Thursday, describing them as “central to sustainable solutions” to challenges facing the Organization worldwide.

Through its landmark resolution 1325 on women and peace and security, the Council reaffirmed the participation and involvement of women, which the UN chief hailed as “a key element in the maintenance of international peace and security”. He also noted the UN’s “essential system-wide effort” to enhance women’s representation at all levels and in all arenas, through his Strategy on Gender Parity.

“This is not just a question of numbers, but also of our effectiveness in fulfilling our mandates”, he stated, citing evidence that more women peacekeepers lead to more credible protection responses that meet the needs of all.

In patrol units women can better access intelligence to provide a holistic view of security challenges, and at checkpoints they promote a less confrontational atmosphere, he said.

Within troop contingents they lower incidences of sexual exploitation and abuse; yield greater reporting of sexual and gender-based violence; and can access local women’s networks, leading to more inclusive peace processes.

‘Step towards parity’

The Secretary-General thanked the more than 150 Member States who have signed on to his Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative, which calls for women’s participation in every stage of peace operations, and integrates a gender perspective into all analysis, planning, implementation and reporting.

And he was grateful to the States who, at last week’s Ministerial on Peacekeeping, launched the Elsie Initiative to break down barriers to increasing women’s participation in peace operations.

In support of the UN’s commitments in these areas, Mr. Guterres noted a range of actions, including the Gender-Responsive Peacekeeping Operations Policy, which “commits us to promoting leadership and accountability both for gender equality and for the women, peace and security agenda”.

Flagging that since December 2015, the number of women in uniform has increased by only around one per cent, he spelled out that “this is clearly not enough”.

“This year”, he informed the Chamber, “we rolled out the Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy”, which, among other things, targets by 2028 a range of 15 to 35 per cent of women’s representation, including military, police and justice and corrections personnel.

While acknowledging that it “has been more challenging”, Mr. Guterres vowed “to press ahead”, adding that “keep on track, we need assistance from you, the Member States”.

He asked for a greater focus on women in battalions and formed police units and for the sustained recruitment and deployment of women within national services.

Noting that for the first time in UN history the senior leadership is close to achieving gender parity, Mr. Guterres reiterated his commitment to sustaining that progress: “We need to bring the same spirit to our peace operations”, he stressed. “This is crucial for our effectiveness, credibility and reputation”.

‘Pushing gender equality’

The first female Force Commander and current Head of the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) mission, Major General Kristin Lund told the Council that the “momentum of pushing gender equality must be kept”.

As Force Commander of the UN mission in Cyprus, she teamed up with Lisa Buttenheim, the Special Representative at the time. “For once I did not need to convince my boss that gender was important” she said. “Both of us had gender equality in our spine”.

The Major General enumerated some examples of her work in increasing the number of women, helping them in missions and reaching out to local communities.

Noting many reasons why the armed forces have a difficulty keeping women in the ranks, she outlined frequent obstacles thrown up by male culture in military settings, giving the example of how “posters with half naked women” hang in mission gyms.

“How many women do gym in bikinis?” Ms. Lund asked rhetorically, saying that under her command in Cyprus “womanized posters vanished”.

She also mandated that the all-male teams in military skills competitions had to have females.

“Gender is on the top of my agenda”, she said, adding that she initiated a female military network, engaged women to become more visible and increased the number of female observers.

Troop and police contributing countries “must do more” she said.

“We, out in the field, need to be able to reach out to the whole society. Only you can make that happen”, the Force Commander concluded.

Diversity is a strength

Chairing the meeting, German Federal Minister of Defense, Ursula von der Leyen said: “Women are no better peacekeepers than men, but they are different. And this diversity is a strength”.

Pointing out that Resolution 1325 has been in effect for almost 20 years, she maintained that it is “still far from full, effective and meaningful participation of women in peace operations”.

To change that, Ms. von der Leyen suggested, among other things, to have successful female mentors to share their stories to younger women; have more women in national forces for deployment to international peacekeeping missions; and assess national barriers that keeps more women from joining peace operations.

“The peacekeeper’s blue helmet symbolizes protection and security”, she said. “Let us make this helmet be worn by more women. For the sake of peace”.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Poor Greeks, Irish and Spaniards still pay for the faults of German and French banks

Putting a price on carbon will help New York state achieve a clean energy future

Parliament backs new CO2 emissions limits for cars and vans

Germany caught with selfish double standards in euro area policy

5 inventions that could transform the health of our ocean

Insecurity and violence turn Nigeria into a ‘pressure cooker’ that must be addressed, says UN rights expert

JADE President opens JADE Spring Meeting 2014

UN food aid to Yemen will fully resume after two-month break, as Houthis ‘guarantee’ delivery

Coronavirus could trigger a hunger pandemic – unless urgent action is taken

Antitrust: Commission provides guidance on allowing limited cooperation among businesses, especially for critical hospital medicines during the coronavirus outbreak

EU-India summit: Will the EU manage to sign a free trade agreement with India before Britain?

The rise of alternative medical practices in modern sports

In Venezuela, Bachelet calls on Government to release prisoners, appeals for ‘bold steps towards compromise’

UN recorded 64 new allegations of sexual exploitation or abuse in the past three months

Why it’s time to take central banks’ digital currencies seriously

How did Facebook fool the Commission that easily during the WhatsApp acquisition?

How the EU’s new data-sharing strategy could benefit companies

Why skills are keeping CEOs awake at night

Countries must make teaching profession more financially and intellectually attractive

Data capture, not disclosure, is the way to meet our climate goals

Venezuela: Parliament calls for urgent EU help for people fleeing the country

A third of young people polled by UN, report being a victim of online bullying

Can the whole world live in peace?

UNcomplicating the UN: a new podcast is born over coffee in New York

More funds needed to counter ‘persistent and multi-faceted humanitarian problems’ in Ethiopia

Weak growth of G20 international merchandise trade in third quarter of 2018

Remarks by Commissioner Lenarčič on the deployment of EU Medical Teams to Italy

Workplace risks: Final vote on protection from carcinogens, including diesel fumes

Is history a new NATO weapons against Russia?

Commission steps up EU action to protect and restore the world’s forests

Devastating storms like Hurricane Florence ‘unusual this far north’: UN weather agency

Women lose most from the climate crisis. How can we empower them?

The DNA of the future retail CEO

Security Union: political agreement on strengthened Schengen Information System

The EU responds to US challenges by fining Apple with €13 billion

EU funds must reach media and creative sector, say MEPs

Facilitating the access to finance and risk capital for SMEs and midcaps

The 28 EU leaders care more about fiscal orthodoxy than effectively fighting youth unemployment

European values must prevail, even in a state of public emergency, MEPs say

How can we regulate disruptive technologies?

Smart devices must come with trust already installed

This German supermarket’s shelves are filled with food other stores won’t sell

Is this a turning point in the fight against slavery?

TTIP wins first crucial EU test: MEPs give in to the trade agreement

We need to bin disposable items for good. Here are 5 ways to do it

OECD leading multilateral efforts to address tax challenges from digitalisation of the economy

EU-Ukraine Summit: moving forward together in solidarity

Western Sahara: a ‘peaceful solution’ to conflict is possible, says UN envoy

Coronavirus: EU grants €314 million to innovative companies to combat the virus and support recovery

Work to make the world a better place: 5 things you need to know about ‘green jobs’

EU steps up its strategy for connecting Europe and Asia

UN rights experts call on Philippines Government to halt ‘unacceptable attacks’ on Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

How fixing broken food systems can help us meet all the SDGs

For how long and at what cost can the ECB continue printing trillions to keep euro area going?

The European Parliament double-checks the EU 2014-2020 budget

Ship Recycling is the Commission’s Titanic

8000 young people in the EP in Strasbourg: “a breath of fresh air for EU democracy”

What you need to know about 5G

Mental and comportamental health in the pandemic context

Third Facebook-Cambridge Analytica hearing: data breach prevention and cures

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s