From paper to practice, a guide to the actors who seek to implement a gender perspective into peace operations.
Gender and the United Nations: The view from New York.
The promotion of gender in contexts of conflict resolution, peace-building, and sustainable development has a cross-cutting nature. Implementing gender promotion is not just a question of numbers. As a matter of fact the amount of women represented at national, international, UN and peacekeeping decision-making levels increased, yet the cornerstone of gender promotion is an integral understanding of gender equality. It is a far-reaching vision that considers the progressive interiorization of a gender perspective at both work and policy levels: from prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence, to women’s engagement in mediation and peace-building, to improvement of women’s education opportunities, economic capacities and employment, and to the presence and role of female staff in UN system and peacekeeping operations.
All actors need to be involved, in a coordinated and responsible manner, in this process. Among them, there are specific actors that, at headquarter and field levels, lead the path towards gender promotion. Some of them directly dealing with the spectrum of security threats faced by women in conflict situations, some others in charge of ensuring overall coordination strategies. And all together stimulating all the other actors to be actively engaged in doing their part in women, peace and security framework.
This section presents the main actors involved in the women, peace and security framework in peacekeeping operations: their mandates, how they are organized and their interactions at headquarters and field missions levels.
The Secretary-General (SG) is the Head of the United Nations Secretariat, and as such embodies the United Nations ideals. The SG is empowered by the UN Charter to "bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security".
The SG is supported by the Deputy Secretary-General, currently Mr. Jan Eliasson, the Special and Personal Representatives, Envoys and Advisers of the Secretary-General, and the whole Senior Management Group (SMG), a high-level body, chaired by the Secretary-General, which brings together leaders of United Nations departments, offices, funds and programmes.
The current Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon of the Republic of Korea, is actively involved in issues regarding gender promotion, prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence, as well as women, peace and security.
For more information about the SG’s role: http://www.un.org/en/sc/
The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) is dedicated to assisting the Member States and the Secretary-General in their efforts to maintain international peace and security. DPKO provides political and executive direction to UN Peacekeeping operations around the world and maintains contact with the Security Council, troop and financial contributors, and parties to the conflict in the implementation of Security Council mandates.
The current Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations is Mr. Hervé Ladsous. He, too, puts gender promotion at the core of his priorities; in his own words: “Women can and must play a leading role in political participation, conflict resolution and the transition from conflict to peace”.
Peacekeeping operations are mandated, through Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) on Women, peace and security, to address gender
issues, and the DPKO has a gender mainstreaming policy that applies both at headquarter and field levels. The core of the policy is not only a way to increase the number of female peacekeepers among military, police and civilian personnel in peacekeeping and special political missions (respectively, 3% and 10% in 2012 for the first two categories, and 29% in 2014 for the last one); but it is also a means to create tools and strategies to support the role of women in building peace, and to protect and promote women’s rights in conflict situations.
For more information about the DPKO and Gender: http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/issues/women/
The Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (SRSG-SVC) serves as the United Nations’ spokesperson and political advocate on conflict-related sexual violence, and is the chair of the network UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict. The Office was established by the Security Council resolution 1888 (2009).
The first Special Representative, Margot Wallström of Sweden, opened the office in April 2010. The current Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict is Zainab Hawa Bangura of Sierra Leone, appointed in September 2012. Although seized with situation of conflict-related sexual violence worldwide, the Office has currently identified eight priority countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina; Central African Republic (CAR); Colombia; Cote d’Ivoire; Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); Liberia; South Sudan and Sudan.
The Office aims to promote and coordinate the implementation of comprehensive prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence. It intends to:
o end the impunity of sexual violence in conflict situations by assisting national authorities to strengthen criminal accountability
o respond to survivors and judicial capacity
o protect civilians who face sexual violence in conflicts
o mobilize political ownership
o emphasize greater national responsibility, by fostering government engagement in developing and implementing strategies to combat sexual violence
o increase the recognition of rape as a tactic and consequence of war
o lead the UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict,a network of focal points from 13 UN agencies that amplify programming and advocacy on this issue in the wider UN agenda.
Report of the Secretary-General Sexual violence in conflict
Report of the Secretary-General Conflict-related sexual violence, March 2012
For more information about the Office of the SRSG-SVC: http://www.un.org/sexualviolenceinconflict/
UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict (UN Action) unites the work of 13 UN entities with the goal of ending sexual violence in conflict. It is a concerted effort within the UN system to improve coordination and accountability, amplify programming and advocacy, and support national efforts to prevent sexual violence and respond effectively to the needs of survivors.
It is lead by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. UN Action member entities are: DPA - UN Department of Political Affairs , UNAIDS - Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS , UNICEF - UN Children’s Fund , DPKO - UN Dep. of Peacekeeping Operations, UNDP - UN Development Programme , UN Women - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women , OCHA - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs , UNFPA - UN Population Fund , OHCHR - UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNODC - UN Office on Drugs and Crime, PBSO - UN Peacebuilding Support Office , UNHCR - UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict Strategic Framework 2011-12
For more information about the UN Action against SV in conflict: http://www.stoprapenow.org/
The Office of the Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflicts was established by the resolution A/RES/51/77, and adopted by the General Assembly in 1996. The current Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict at the Under Secretary-General level is Ms. Leila Zerrougui, appointed in September 2012.
The mandate of the Office is to promote and protect the rights of all children affected by armed conflict. It identifies particularly six serious violations: Killing and maiming of children; Recruitment or use of children as soldiers; Sexual violence against children; Attacks against schools or hospitals; Denial of humanitarian access for children; Abduction of children.
Sexual violence against children: Rape and other forms of sexual violence against children are human rights violations, and may amount to grave breaches of international humanitarian law. If committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population, sexual violence can constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Under Security Council resolution 1882 (2009), the Council designated sexual violence committed against children as a critical priority and called on parties to armed conflict to prepare and implement action plans to address the violation. Sexual violence is also a trigger for the Secretary-General’s list of shame of parties to conflict committing grave violations against children in armed conflict.
For more information about the Office of the Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflicts: http://childrenandarmedconflict.un.org/
UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, was created by the UN General Assembly in July 2010. Its establishment represents an important step towards the UN’s goals on gender equality and empowerment of women.
The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact, merging previous existing structures working on gender issues. Based on the principle of equality that is a fundamental value of the UN Charter, UN Women, among other issues, works for the: elimination of discrimination against women and girls; empowerment of women; and achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.
For more information about UN Women: http://www.unwomen.org/
The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34) was established by the General Assembly resolution 2006 (XIX) on the 18th of February 1965 to carry out a comprehensive review of all issues related to peacekeeping. It reports to the General Assembly on its work through the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) and it is comprised of 147 Member States, mostly past or current contributors to peacekeeping operations.
14 other Member States, intergovernmental organisations and entities, including the African Union, the European Community, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), participate as observers. It holds annual substantive debates at the end of which policy recommendations for the current UN peacekeeping missions are published.
In its 2010 report, the Special Committee emphasized the importance of involving women in security sector reform through the formation of policy that is sensitive to the needs of women.
Report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations
2010 substantive session
For more information about the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations:
Budgets of peacekeeping operations are based on the missions’ mandate from the Security Council. As such, they are strategic documents aligning resources to achieve the overall objectives of the operation.
Each peacekeeping operation has its own budget and account which includes operational costs such as transport and logistics and staff costs such as salaries. The approved budget for UN Peacekeeping operations for the fiscal year 1 July 2013-30 June 2014 is about $7.83 billion.
Budget, just like logistics, is a critical element in order for peacekeeping missions to function, as well as to progress in the women, peace and security framework.
Administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations, January 2014
For more information about the Budget of Peacekeeping Operations:
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.
People in situation of displacement, both within and outside their own Countries, often face conditions of acute vulnerability. It is worth pointing out that women are among the most vulnerable category. Together with children, women represent the vast majority of people living in displaced conditions; they often become the breadwinners of the families, in case men are absent, or numbed by their incapacity to protect their families or find employment. Women engage in risky activities to sustain their families: search for firewood, water and food, items distribution from supportive Agencies. In addition, they renounce to food and health services in favour of their children and husbands.
Women, together with children, are likely victims of sexual aggressions and violence. This is mostly due to situations of high promiscuity experienced living in restricted areas, such as an Internally Displaced People/Refugees camps, or in local host families. Yet, women can also maintain the social fabric even in the most difficult conditions. In participating in market activities and educating children (among other activities), women become the binding factor in local integration processes. That is why women are the major component of family and society reconstruction and, as such, a crucial element to achieve sustainable peace. UNHCR represents a critical entity in the promotion of women’s well-being and empowerment. It also contributes to several initiatives related with protection and prevention from sexual violence in conflict.
For more information about the work of UNHCR: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646c125.html