NATO and NCGM hosting NATO Political-Military Seminar

Over 50 nations were represented at the Swedish National Defence College when NATO in liaison with the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations (NCGM) organized a seminar on UNSCR 1325 in NATO-led operations and missions. The target audience was set to political and military high level representatives gathered to discuss how the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and an integrated gender perspective in planning, execution and evaluation can increase operational effect and become more successful.

The overall aim was to bring down the decisions affecting implementation of UNSCR 1325 in NATO-led operations and missions to a more amenable level. The participants are working with policymaking and are members of, or advisers to, the NATO Operations Policy Committee (OPC). An increased awareness of what expectations to have and what efforts it might take to put UNSCR 1325 in to practice on an operational and tactical level could improve the outcome.

The Swedish Minister of Defence, Karin Enström, mentioned in her opening speech that Sweden as a nation carry out a valuable work for gender related issues. She also spoke of the demand for education provided to all military levels and pointed out the need to discover how men, women, boys and girls are affected differently in conflict and peace support operations.

Discussions in Working Groups

The seminar contained three sessions, starting with speeches from high ranked, respected and experienced speakers. The speeches were followed by working groups enabling the participants to discuss the current situation, how to measure success and what to focus on in the future. The result was to give a direction in the progress how to implement gender perspectives and integrate UNSCR 1325 further to NATO-led operations. 

A few of the key outcomes was the agreed understanding that women need to be part of all branches within the armed forces and on all levels. But it’s not quantity that is the main key to success, rather quality in terms of right education, training and expertise.  Women in conflict areas need to be empowered to become actors because without the full perspective, seen from different views, we miss out on important information and will struggle achieving our aims with operations and missions.  Gender is not an asset to be singled out from other military capabilities and resources, and it’s not supposed to be seen upon as an additional task. If fully integrated and part of the mindset, a gender perspective will increase the operational effect and long term stability in conflict areas.

Review team

Another aim for the seminar was to promote the official Review Team initiated by NATO and led by the NCGM to examine the progress of implementing UNSCR 1325 into the NATO-led missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo. The review team is going to gather its research through fieldtrips to the mission areas and will be supported by several partners and experts. The results will be presented to NATO OPC in May 2013.