Canada hosts seminar to promote dialogue on women, peace and security

Panellists discuss United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.

The Canadian Embassy in Sweden recently hosted the seminar “Implementing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 – challenges and outlook.”

Passed by the Security Council in 2000, Resolution 1325 is the first instrument of its kind to call for consideration of the impact of conflict on women and men, girls and boys. It affirms that women’s participation and the inclusion of gender perspective at all stages of peace operations are integral to the development and maintenance of sustainable peace. 

Yvette Chesson-Wureh and Jenny Rönngren discussing the seminar.

To highlight Canada’s continuing support of UN Resolution 1325, the Embassy partnered with Swedish organizations Operation 1325, Kvinna till Kvinna and InDevelop to promote dialogue and the sharing of experiences related to women, peace and security.

Counsellor Patrick Hébert, the Embassy’s representative at the seminar, stated that “Countries simply cannot develop politically, economically or socially when the contributions of women and girls are not permitted to flourish because of discrimination and sexual violence.”  He outlined Canada’s international efforts to enhance the role of women within the UN system and to provide financial assistance to organizations which take a gender-based approach to peace and security interventions.

In addition to relating the perspective of the Government of Canada and Swedish NGOs, the seminar invited participants to provide insights as stakeholders and implementers of the Resolution. They suggested that, apart from financial support, they would like to see Western countries, such as Canada and Sweden, providing more capacity building with practical examples for implementation of the Resolution.

Counsellor Hébert concluded his remarks by quoting Margot Wallström, the Swedish UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence: “As we look back on the adoption of Resolution 1325, we also look forward to a time when women’s inclusion in peace and security will be not a novelty, but normality.

Canada announced its Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security in October 2010. It provides further guidance and focus on the Government of Canada’s continuing action to implement UNSC Resolution 1325 (and subsequent resolutions) on Women, Peace and Security in policy, doctrine, programming, operations and training for peace operations, fragile states and conflict-affected situations.

The Action Plan emphasizes participation by women in peace processes, the protection of human rights of women and girls, and seeks to ensure their equal access to humanitarian and development assistance.

As one of many initiatives under the Action Plan, Canada is funding projects with the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) in Nepal, Burundi and Sierra Leone for projects such as developing guidelines to integrate the UN Security Council Resolutions in local development plans and capacity-building workshops to develop local legislation. These projects assure the full and meaningful participation of women in security sector reforms and peace processes, and enable them to move from being victims of violence to becoming actors in their own reconstruction.

Through voluntary contributions to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)/ Department of Field Support (DFS), Canada has also contributed to a Train-the-Trainer program for Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Investigation. The program has trained 6,064 UN certified Sexual and Gender Based Violence investigators in 25 countries.