NATO and partners focus on strengthening gender perspectives
The annual conference of the NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives (NCGP) took place from 29 May to 1 June 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. This year’s theme was “A 360 degree approach to gender”. The conference aimed to raise awareness of gender initiatives across the political, military and social domains in NATO, the United Nations (UN), the European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and their respective nations and partners.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg opened the event, which brought together more than 140 participants from 43 NATO member and partner nations. Discussions focussed on progress, challenges and the way forward in the integration of gender perspectives in NATO’s framework, armed forces and military operations.
Secretary General Stoltenberg stressed the importance of gender perspectives for NATO and Allies, saying that the topic would also be discussed in the margins of the Summit in July. He also stated that NATO’s pre-deployment training, the deployment of gender advisors and the recruitment of women in the armed forces were essential to strengthen national armed forces. Referring to his meeting with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Special Envoy Angelina Jolie earlier this year, he emphasised the need to raise awareness regarding conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence and its monitoring and reporting.
Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Lieutenant General Steven M. Shepro stressed the relevance of the conference. “Meetings like this one, with national representatives, NATO and other international organisations’ subject matters experts, academia, and civil society, provide a necessary forum to gauge the progress made in integrating gender perspectives into daily work,” he said. “Protecting and empowering women needs to be a common endeavour and should not be neglected because diversity of qualifications and resources are primordial to ensure that peace and security are achieved and maintained,” he continued.
The Committee welcomed for the first time special representatives of international organisations, including NATO Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security Claire Hutchinson, OSCE Senior Advisor on Gender Issues Amarsanaa Darisuren, Head of the UN Liaison Office for Peace and Security in Brussels Rory Keane, and European External Action Service Principal Advisor on Gender and UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security Ambassador Mara Marinaki.
A second panel discussion focused on the conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence with the representatives on NATO, UN Women, NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security and UN Office of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Other small working groups concentrated on specific gender-related topics.