NATO officials attend workshop on women, peace and security
“Our men and women deployed to operational theatres can do a good job only if they are properly trained,” said Ambassador Stephen Evans, Assistant Secretary General for NATO’s Operations Division, adding that gender perspective should become a routine aspect of all operational requirements in order to improve operational effectiveness and contribute successfully to sustainable and lasting peace. These were the opening remarks of a two day workshop at the NATO Defense College (NDC) in Rome on UN Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
More than 100 participants including trainers, decision-makers, commanders and field experts from more than 30 ISAF- and KFOR-contributing nations gathered with NATO officials on 3 and 4 November to look at the training and education aspects of gender perspective.
Enhancing 1325 in NATO operations
The two-day workshop looked at current practices in training at national and international levels within NATO and in other international organisations such as the EU and the OSCE; getting feedback from field experts and commanders; and identifying successes and best practices to provide recommendations to further enhance the provisions of UNSCR 1325 training for NATO-led operations and missions.
One of the challenges identified by participants is that training for the implementation of the provisions related to UNSCR 1325 needs further improvement. Although a number of countries have been organising training courses on gender issues for a few years already, taking into account gender issues in operations and missions has not yet become routine. More systematic, institutionalised training is needed to change the mindset of those involved in operations and missions throughout the chain of command in NATO and in the nations. As Brig. Gen. Patrick Desjardins, Chief of the Academic Division at the NDC said, “We should never underestimate the capacity to resist change”.
Participants felt that this workshop provided an excellent forum to look at more opportunities to fill the current gap between what exists and what is needed. One suggestion that could help advance implementation of the UNSCR 1325 would be to involve more men in gender issues. Nations should be looking at including more training opportunities for senior male officers to make the most of the gender dimension when conducting operations.
Building on UNSCR 1325 recommendations
The discussions from the workshop will result in a set of recommendations for further improvement of the training aspects of UNSCR 1325 that will be shared with NATO Allies and ISAF and KFOR contributing countries for their consideration.
At the November 2010 Summit in Lisbon, NATO Allies, together with countries who contribute to operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo endorsed an action plan to mainstream the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and related resolutions in the planning and conduct of NATO-led operations and missions. UNSCR 1325 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 stabilization efforts. It calls for full and equal participation of women at all levels in issues ranging from early conflict prevention to post-conflict reconstruction, peace and security.