Women in the Security Sector: a Regional Perspective

Monday, September 24, 2012
Editor: Dr Jovanka Šaranovic

The idea for making a collection of thematic papers "Women in Security Sector – A Regional Perspective" came from the international conference "Women in Security Sector – UNSCR 1325" held on October 14th and 15th 2010 in Belgrade, organized by the Strategic Research Institute of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia with the financial support from the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defence. The aim of the Conference was the exchange of regional and international experiences in the area of implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (UNSCR 1325), and acquaintance with activities taken within international organizations (United Nations, Council of Europe, European Union, NATO, OSCE) with the goal of affirmation of gender equality criteria in security sector. During the Conference, the ways for improvement of the regional cooperation in this area were considered. The Conference also represented the continuation of the Serbian Ministry of Defence in making of the National Action Plan for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325, and it was an opportunity for experts to share their experiences and exchange the information on role of women in the security sector ten years after its adoption.

During the Conference, the achievements and limitations regarding the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 were discussed, as well as the regional countries approaches to the implementation of the Resolution, and the role of women in armed conflicts, peacekeeping and peace building operations. The significant part of the Conference was related to concrete suggestions on how to improve the regional cooperation in the area of security and gender equality.

Some presentations and discussions announced some interesting approaches and opened new questions. The interest has been shown for a wider context indicating the existence of need for broadening the presentations and discussions because of broader actualization.

In the meantime, the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the National Action Plan for the Implementation of the UNSCR 1325 on December 23rd 2010, and already is working on its implementation. From the moment of adoption of a general program document such as the National Action Plan, to the achievement of goals set by it, there is a long path to be travelled. How fast is this going to be achieved, depends on objective obstacles which have to be managed, but also on the amount of enthusiasm carried along. It is understood that the enthusiasm is variable condition; it varies depending on perception of significance and perception of feasibility of goals that were set.

The Collection of papers is structured in four thematic parts: (1) Women and Security – Theoretical Aspects; (2) UNSCR 1325 – International Context; (3) National Action Plans for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the Region; (4) Regional Cooperation in Implementation of UNSCR 1325. Additional part consists of articles with useful information on current events related to gender equality in security sector, as: the first experience of the commissioner for the protection of equality of gender-based discrimination; gender and security bulletin; gender and security sector reform toolkit (a review); gender equality glossary of terms from military encyclopedia.

Papers presented in the Collection of papers suggest, in detail, different answers to questions about what should be done on different levels – global, regional, and national, so that there would be fewer obstacles on path towards the higher standards of gender equality in security sector. However, as a whole, they show relatively high level of consent on key questions. Common denominators in these suggestions are: firstly, the commitment to build appropriate criteria for evaluation of achievements in various gender equality domains; secondly, determination of priorities in relation to which the future tasks should be projected so that the substance is set before the form (the common interest before the individual); thirdly, pointing out the cooperation significance, primarily on the regional level, as the precondition for maximal use of objective capabilities.

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