The seminar was attended by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, who highlighted the necessity of using a gender perspective in armed conflicts. All participants agreed upon the importance of integrating gender perspectives in military and security operations, as they all agreed to make the seminar an annual event.
This was the first international flag officer seminar arranged by the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations (NCGM), gathering a number of experienced officers, university doctors as well as NATO- EU- and UN representatives to discuss how working with gender perspectives in a military/security environment contributes to the overall political, military strategic and operational objectives. In order to achieve a long term solution on gender implementation in security operations the seminar presented several highly respected guests and lecturers who shared their experiences and lessons learned. It was addressed in what way the military part of the strategic and operational environment is part of the solution. The main purpose of this seminar was to raise the shared knowledge on how gender perspectives can be integrated into daily work as well as in operational planning, execution and evaluation at strategic and operational levels, by using a comprehensive approach as the model to fully integrate gender perspectives into military operations.
During the first day the fundamental groundwork was placed in order to understand the function of UNSCR 1325 and this was completed by a lecture and discussion with Ms Margot Wallström, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Ms Wallström is finishing her mission in the upcoming days and told the audience that she will leave her post with a heavy heart but hope for the future.
The second day was introduced by Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Abrial (FR A), who addressed the seminar by video from his Head Quarters in Norfolk USA. General Abrial explained the effort ACT put into the implementing of a gender perspective at all levels within NATO Forces and Command structure.
After the two day flag officer seminar participants had received general knowledge about gender in relation to related documents, policies, guidelines and directives, as well as gained understanding of using a gender perspective as an operational tool and force multiplier. This was completed by the ability to use a comprehensive approach and a gender perspective, how to cooperate in the arena between civilian, humanitarian, military and other security actors.
The working process during the seminar consisted of several methods, from lectures to syndicate working groups. The lectures were finished with a possibility to debate around the brought up issue. This created an environment for interaction between the audience and the lecturer, and since the gathering only consisted of 25-35 participants, it contributed to an easygoing ambiance in the room. Dr Magnus Norell put focus on the postmodern conflict threats occurring in mission areas, where using a gender perspective is as far as rocket science can be. When observing women as non-actors is not only excluding them from the peace process but also creating a threat as we have failed to see female insurgents several times throughout history.
Many fruitful discussions were held and conclusions were drawn, encouraging the visitors to enhance their ability to implement a gender perspective in their daily work as well as in the planning process.