On May 17th, the Permanent Missions of Australia and Guatemala to the United Nations in cooperation with DPKO organized the Arria Formula meeting. The focus was on the role of gender practitioners in UN Peacekeeping Operations. Panelists included Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Hervé Ladsous; Gaynel Curry, the first women protection adviser (WPA) deployed to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS); Elsie Effange-Mbella, a senior gender adviser in the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO); and Lucien LeClair, a police adviser for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Other member states and civil society were also represented at the meeting. The aim of this Arria Formula was to demonstrate to Council members how Gender Advisers and Women Protection fulfill different roles and how both add value to peacekeeping operations.
The aim of the event was to assess challenges and provide recommendations on the implementation of Resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions in the area of gender practitioners in peacekeeping operations. Panelists shared their experiences of working with conflict-related sexual violence in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti. They discussed in particular the importance of building on existing institutional structures in lieu of creating new ones. The necessity of employing Women Protection Advisers is undeniable. Having expertise on sexual violence as well as on country specific settings are crucial to integrate UN responses to sexual violence in conflict. The work of WPAs with governments, prosecutors, and women's civil society organizations has been recognized as a great asset. Main challenges include endless coordination and inflexibility within the UN system as well as lack of resources. Recommendations included: strengthened focus on results, enhancing the flexibility of the UN system and adequate gender training for deployed peacekeeping forces.