Since it was published for the first time in 2004, the Atlas has been an effort to contribute to transparency and confidence-building in the Hemisphere, as well as institution-building in defence. It has established itself as the regional source of data for understanding the reality of regional defence. It offers practical and comparative information, highlighting legal frameworks, budgets, organisational structures, political concepts and the armed forcess.
RESDAL undertook an extensive gender program that at first focused on Latin America only but has since moved to the global stage. Its objective is – from the starting point of specific cases observed in the field – to encourage international operations to collaborate effectively to develop a gender perspective in post-conflict societies that will sustain the peace beyond the short-term, with emphasis placed on sharing experiences and lessons learned to achieve this end. The program seeks to produce practical information and encourage reflection and recommendations on matters such as the following
- The role of national and international military and police forces.
- The most effective ways of providing protection in the face of wide-scale violations of the rights and dignity of the population, (such as the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war).
- The behavior of international military and police personnel and their interaction with the local population.
- How to contribute to the effective inclusion of a gender perspective in security sector reform, or the formation of local security forces, when it may be treated as a ‘delicate’ issue by those involved.
- The promotion of greater South-South cooperation, evaluating and developing links between experiences that– albeit different in many ways –share the highly challenging experience of trying to overcome a conflict and develop democratic practices that promote social inclusion.
Given the size of the region’s contribution to peace operations, it aims to support UN efforts in implementing Security Council resolutions on Women, Peace and Security. This project also documents and analyses, in a systematic manner, recruitment processes and the current situation of women in the police and armed forces, thus producing information that may help foster the debate at the various national levels, particularly to leverage the region’s involvement and help it adapt to the new international trends on peace operations for the coming years.
In 2010, RESDAL began a sustained effort in the field of public security, which is a central theme on the regional agenda as a consequence of the rise in criminality. The program deals with institutional problems and the key aspects of state capacities to provide security in the region. Based on our vocation of working towards the building of democratic institutions, we combine the capacities of state actors, academics and civil society.
We developed an internship program to offer new professionals practical training as well as a working experience at the Executive Secretariat. The introduction of younger generations to political and/or academic settings is essential for building new democratic institutions, which they will work with or lead in the future. This program is a significant tool to include the new generations in the discussion and decision-making spheres.
The Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas (CDMA) is the main forum for the hemisphere’s defence sector. It has been conceived as a space for dialogue which convenes senior representatives to discuss defence guidelines and criteria within the democratic framework. We have participated in the forum since 2004, in the VI meeting held in Quito, when admission was opened for the first time to non-governmental observers. Various RESDAL delegations have been present since then at the VI, VII, VIII and IX CDMA.
RESDAL carries out assistance visits to provide advice upon the request of state institutions, particularly ministries responsible for security and defence matters. It is frequently called upon by the OAS and the UN to make presentations and share information. We support the growth of academic centres and civil society organisations by linking them to our activities, welcoming students and researchers at the Executive Secretariat’s office for internships, generating training tools and actively participating with the Network’s experts in regional and international events organised by other institutions.
Seeking to contribute to transparency and the promotion of confidence-building across the region, this program is constantly analysing defence budgets as well as military spending in Latin American countries. Production includes national studies on decision-making processes, evaluating the quality and efficiency of the State’s resource management, training tools for civil society organisations aimed at promoting citizen involvement in this matter, and providing elements for the design of an advocacy strategy using the budget research work as the basis.
At an institutional level, we have worked on the study of the organisational structures and operation of security sector institutions, producing diagnoses and recommendations to advance in the area. We have also worked in conjunction with parliamentary committees with the purpose of raising awareness on parliamentary oversight.
2019 / RESDAL / Security and Defence Network of Latin America /