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Women in Blue Helmets

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Women in Blue Helmets

Deadline: Closed
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Side Event
Geneva, Switzerland
19 Oct 2018
Duration of event:
1 Days
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The historic UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security (2000) explicitly addresses the issues of insufficient female recruitment and lacking attention to specific demands of local women and children. Meanwhile, positive effects from the presence of female peacekeepers vary from more pragmatic benefits, like enlarged skillset of a mission and less problematic access to female ex-combatants and civilians, to such spiritual and moral improvements as reduced tension and confrontation, enhanced connection with and trust of local communities and overall better emotional wellbeing of protected populations. Importantly, equalizing gender balance in peace operations contributes significantly to the broader issue of women empowerment in the societies of troop-contributing and receiving countries alike. Still, with women accounting for roughly 22% of civilian, 10% of police and 3% of military personnel (2014), they remain dramatically underrepresented. Therefore, there is an urgent need to raise public awareness and to mobilize national and international actors to take an appropriate action and to overall foster a culture of gender-sensitivity within the UN peace operations.

Against this background, this year, a side event to the annual UNITAR Division for Peace Advisory Board meeting will be dedicated to a critical and longstanding issue of mainstreaming gender dimension into UN peace operations, particularly in the form of increasing gender diversity of personnel.

Organized in the format of an interactive panel discussion, the event will bring together a diverse group of practitioners and officials, whose work directly or indirectly concerns issues related to gender, peace and security, to share their understanding of the related challenges and generate synergies to overcome them. In particular, this encounter will aim to:

  • find a common ground in what concerns the understanding of the status quo with its various observable and subtle obstacles that inhibit a wider female involvement in peace and security efforts;
  • brainstorm concrete steps that can and should be taken in order to advance gender balance in peace operations;
  • demonstrate that innovative partnerships involving diverse stakeholders are indispensible to achieve quicker and better progress in the area;
  • start building these inclusive partnerships by providing vast networking opportunities.

Moderator: Mr Luis Miguel Carrilho, Police Adviser and Director, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations; Former Police Commissioner, MINUSCA, MINUSTAH and UNMIT; Member of the UNITAR Division for Peace Advisory Board


  • Ms Ann Blomberg, Deputy Head, Gender and Security Division, DCAF, who will present the latest findings from the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations Baseline Study
  • Ms Annika Hilding Norberg, Peace Operations and Peacebuilding Cluster Leader, GCSP
  • Ms Trine Heimerback, Minister Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway in Geneva
  • Ms Kristina Koch, Chief of the Recruitment Section, UN Department of Field Support
  • Lt Gen Chikadibia I. Obiakor, Former Military Adviser, Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations; Former Force Commander, UNMIL; Member of the UNITAR Division for Peace Advisory Board

The discussion will be followed by a Q&A session.

To make the most of its initiative, UNITAR seeks to secure the participation of the relevant institutional and individual partners with an interest, experience and/or knowledge in the area of female involvement in peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.

The event will take place on 19 October 2018, 10.30am-12pm, at the Palais des Nations, room S4.

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