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Gender issues in UN peacekeeping focus of New York gathering

Gender issues in UN peacekeeping focus of New York gathering

Gender advisers and focal points from all United Nations peacekeeping missions are meeting at the world body’s Headquarters in New York on issues related to the specific needs of men and women in post-conflict situations.

Addressing participants yesterday, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno noted the progress made in integrating gender issues more systematically in peacekeeping.

Advances have been made in increasing the numbers of women elected to office; supporting the adoption of gender-sensitive laws on rape, domestic violence and inheritance rights; and supporting national police in recruiting more women to security services.

There has also been modest progress in appointing women to senior roles in peacekeeping, as well as increased deployment of women by troop and police contributing countries, he noted.

Nevertheless, challenges remain in translating the growing body of policies and guidelines into practice, as well as in confronting passive resistance to gender issues among peacekeeping personnel.

Topics being discussed at the annual training and strategic planning workshop include best practices, gender mainstreaming, and other global priorities.

The sharing of best practices and lessons learned in UN operations is also the subject of a new report by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in which he emphasizes the importance of having a comprehensive body of accessible and updated guidance for the Organization’s peacekeeping activities.

“It is essential that we build upon the experiences arising from the scale of current deployments and ensure that today’s peacekeepers receive the best possible support from their colleagues around the globe,” Mr. Ban writes.

He states that in modern peacekeeping, support is no longer measured only in terms of the timely provision of personnel, funds and materiel. “Today, it also includes the capacity to apply institutional knowledge to help solve new challenges and avoid any recurrence of problems of the past.”

The Secretary-General notes that more than 100,000 young men and women will rotate through UN peacekeeping operations this year as soldiers, police and civilians, many of whom have never served in the world body’s missions.

“They come from diverse backgrounds with legitimate expectations that the institution that has deployed them into difficult post-conflict environments will furnish them with access to the knowledge and guidance they need to do their work,” Mr. Ban points out.

He also evaluates the methodology and tools used to manage best practices in peacekeeping operations since the introduction in 2005 of a new system for these activities.