UN to increase women’s participation in peace operations

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In Focus by: Carla Leonetti; Editor: Eleonora Gonnelli

The Under-Secretary General for Peace Operations (DPO), Jean-Pierre Lacroix, has spoken at the launch of the UN Elsie Initiative, announcing that Liberia, Mexico, Niger, Senegal, and Sierra Leone will receive financial support to increase the participation of women in peace operations, defining the issue as a “key priority” for the organization.

Increasing women’s participation in peacekeeping and conflict prevention is one of the core objectives of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, adopted in 2000 under the Security Council Resolution 1325. In 2018, the United Nation adopted the Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy 2018-2018 for the creation of an adequate environment that would encourage the participation of uniformed women in UN peacekeeping. Since the launch of the strategy, the number of women as Staff Officers, Military Observers, Police Officers, and women in Formed Police Units has substantially increased. However, as outlined by the Executive Director of UN Women and Fund Co-Chair Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, it will take years to reach gender parity for these positions, and “women cannot afford to wait this long”.

Mr. Lacroix emphasized the necessity for the contribution of both women and men in diverse teams which could reflect the variety of the communities where they operate, in order to increase the effectiveness of the operations. To maintain the UN commitment of increasing women’s participation in peace operations, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka underlined the need for an institutional reform driven by leaders able to create a safe environment for women, with zero-tolerance for sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation, and committed to end impunity for perpetrators of such crimes.


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