Women, peace and security
NATO, UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions
NATO and its partners are taking action to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325. This Resolution recognises the disproportionate impact that war and conflicts have on women and children, and highlights the fact that women have been historically left out of peace processes and stabilisation efforts. Adopted in October 2000, UNSCR 1325 was followed by six additional Resolutions (1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106 and 2122). These Resolutions call for full and equal participation of women at all levels in issues ranging from early conflict prevention to post-conflict reconstruction, peace and security. Together, they frame the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
- NATO and its partners are committed to removing barriers for women’s participation in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building.
- They are also committed to reducing the risk of conflict-related and gender-based violence.
- To achieve these goals, NATO and its partners work with other international organisations – in particular the United Nations – and civil society.
According to the United Nations, before the Second World War, 90 per cent of casualties in conflicts were combatants. Today, the majority of casualties are civilians, especially women and children. The continued under-representation of women in peace processes, the lack of institutional arrangements to protect women and the widespread use of conflict-related sexual- and gender-based violence as a tactic of war, remain major impediments to building sustainable peace.
NATO Allies working with their partners in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) responded to UNSCR 1325 by adopting their first policy in 2007. The document has been reviewed every two years, and in April 2014 an updated overarching policy was adopted.
On the tenth anniversary of UNSCR 1325 in 2010, NATO leaders adopted an action plan for the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions in NATO-led operations and missions at the Lisbon Summit. This document was replaced in June 2014 with an overarching action plan aimed at implementing the most recent policy on Women, Peace and Security.
Ms. Marriët Schuurman is the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security at NATO Headquarters. The Special Representative helps reinforce and promote the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions, supporting the Alliance in continuing to advance the Women, Peace and Security agenda at every level though its policies and activities. Work is also done to make greater use of the potential that women offer in the political and military ranks, as well as to improve cooperation with partner countries and other international organisations, including the United Nations (UN), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU).
NATO and its partners’ active commitment to UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions resulted in a formal NATO/EAPC Policy on implementing the Resolutions, first issued in December 2007. The Policy was reviewed every two years and the Secretary General issued annual reports on its implementation.
The basis of the policy: UNSCR 1325 and the Strategic Concept
The Policy is based on the key pillars of UNSCR 1325: participation of women in conflict prevention, management and resolution; women’s participation in peace-building; protection of women’s and girls’ rights; and prevention of conflict-related sexual- and gender-based violence. The policy draws on both internal and external NATO resources for implementation.
Based on NATO’s fundamental and enduring purpose to safeguard the freedom and security of all its members by political and military means, the Policy aims to ensure that a gender perspective is mainstreamed into policies, activities and efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts. Due regard will be given to the social role of both men and women and how this may lead to different risks and security needs. And attention will be paid to how these roles may translate into different contributions to conflict prevention and resolutions. In accordance with NATO’s Strategic Concept, this will be done through its essential core tasks, and therefore the Policy focuses especially on cooperative security, crisis management and NATO-led operations and missions, and national contributions.
Other cross-cutting aspects, such as human resources policies, education, training and exercises and public diplomacy are also addressed and play an important role in enhancing the Policy’s implementation within the Alliance.
Working with partners
The adoption of the updated overarching policy on 1 April 2014 by NATO and its EAPC partners opened the way for more practical cooperation with NATO’s broad partnership network. For the first time, Afghanistan, Australia, Japan, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates participated actively in the development of the Policy. New Zealand later associated itself with this effort too.
Work with partner countries focuses on reinforcing political dialogue and practical cooperation in the security and defence fields. To this end – in the context of their various partnership programmes with NATO – partners are encouraged to adopt specific goals related to UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions. They are also encouraged to make use of the training and education activities developed by Allied Command Transformation (ACT), which has ensured that a gender perspective is included in the curriculum of NATO Training Centres, Centres of Excellence and in pre-deployment training.
Though the Alliance has no influence on measures or policies taken at national levels, it is required that personnel deployed in NATO-led operations and missions and serving within NATO structures are appropriately trained and meet required standards of behaviour. Several countries have initiated gender-related training for subject matter experts and raised general awareness on UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions ahead of national force deployments.
Women, peace and security issues are also regularly raised during staff talks between NATO and the UN, the OSCE, the EU as well as the African Union.
Gender perspective in operations
UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions are also being implemented in crisis management and in NATO-led operations and missions. The Alliance nominated gender advisers at both Strategic Commands – ACO and Allied Command Transformation - as well as in Afghanistan and Kosovo. They advise commanders on how best to conduct operations so as to limit their impact on women and girls.
Along with having more female personnel on the ground, these measures have had a positive effect on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in theatres of operation. For instance, in Afghanistan, female soldiers are able to connect with members of the population otherwise closed off from their male colleagues. Gender advisers have also sought to promote public awareness and ensure that the gender perspective has been incorporated in operational planning documents throughout the chain of command, as well as in documents outlining NATO’s current and future partnership with Afghanistan.
In addition, NATO’s next Crisis Management Exercise in 2015 will include – for the first time ever – a gender perspective as one of its objectives. These annual exercises are designed to practice the Alliance’s crisis management procedures at the strategic political level, and involve civilian and military staffs in Allied capitals, at NATO Headquarters, and in both Strategic Commands.
A first NATO Action Plan to mainstream UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions into NATO-led operations and missions was endorsed at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010 on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of UNSCR 1325.
Following the adoption of NATO’s revised policy in April 2014, a new overarching action plan for supporting the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions was endorsed in June 2014. Like the policy, the action plan was developed by Allies together with their EAPC partners, plus Afghanistan, Australia, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates. It also focuses on the same areas of intervention, namely cooperative security, crisis management and NATO-led operations and missions, and national contributions. It is structured into 14 outcomes and several actions, whose implementation and responsibility are shared between NATO International Staff, NATO Military Authorities and relevant national authorities.
This Action Plan covers a two-year period and will therefore be revised in June 2016.
A progress report on the implementation of NATO’s policy and Action Plan was adopted by NATO leaders at the Wales Summit in September 2014.
The implementation of UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions cuts across various divisions and governing bodies within NATO Headquarters, as well as in the Strategic Commands. All these entities together are responsible for monitoring and reporting the progress made by the Alliance. For this purpose, a Women, Peace and Security Task Force was established under the guidance and responsibility of the Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, who represents the highest focal point for the implementation of this agenda within the Alliance. A specific body was also set up to advise the Military Committee.
In sum, the mechanisms at NATO’s disposal to implement the UNSC Resolutions are:
- The Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security at NATO Headquarters. This position was newly created in 2012, following an offer made by the Norwegian Government, and the post was made permanent from September 2014;
- A task force bringing together civilian and military staff across the Headquarters;
- A gender office (NATO Office on Gender Perspectives) and an advisory committee of experts (NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives) on the military side, tasked with promoting gender mainstreaming as a means of making the concerns and experiences of women and men alike an integral dimension of the design and implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies, programmes and military operations;
- A working group led by ACO to assess means to further incorporate UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions into operational planning and execution;
- Gender advisers deployed at different levels of NATO’s military command structure, including operational headquarters;
- A number of relevant committees that develop and review specific and overall policy.