Norfolk, Va. – The Old Dominion University and NATO Supreme Allied Command Transformation (SACT) co-organized the first Symposium on “Women, Peace and Security – United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325” on March 4th 2016.
The symposium has been another great opportunity for the Academia and NATO SACT to share and exchange information, which advances the gender perspective.
The Conference, held as part of the 15th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) and the upcoming International Women’s day, brought together professionals committed to the implementation of the Resolution, including the keynote speaker Marriët Schuurman – NATO’s Secretary General Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security. The Conference also provided a forum for a discussion on the tools and strategies that can be employed to improve its effective application, as well as on gender equality, particularly in the military settings.
The UNSCR 1325 was the first Resolution linking the women’s experience of conflict to the international peace and security agenda. As part of its inclusive approach, Allied Command Operations (ACO) and Allied Command Transformation (ACT) have on their part continuously sought to integrate gender perspective and to enhance gender equality in all operations and missions. The UNSCR 1325 has also allowed NATO’s armed forces to fully reflect the 21st century society and to employ excellence in the Human Capital Field – the vital role the alliance plays in global security. Despite the positive developments, Chief Master Sergeant Jack Johnson, ACT Senior Enlisted Leader, while opening the Symposium acknowledged the continuous challenges faced by women in the armed forces all over the world. He also stressed the importance of senior military staff taking responsibility for the full integration of gender perspective into the military operations at all levels.
As observed by Ambassador Marriët Schuurman, the UNSCR 1325 constitutes a significant step forward in more inclusive security. However, new security challenges and particularly the rise of violent extremism and terrorism, have also contributed to further instability and conflict in all parts of the world. They have become one of the major threats directly affecting women and girls. This includes Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), the subject of the first panel during the Conference. The Gender Advisor from ACO spoke about NATO’s commitment to fight any form of SGBV. She presented the military guidelines on the Prevention of, and Response to, Conflict-Related SGBV adopted by NATO last year and how it is integrated into the operational planning process.
As a conclusion it is worth quoting Chief Master Sergeant Jack Johnson: “If you want to go fast, go alone, but when you want to go far, go together.” NATO’s comprehensive gender framework may therefore constitute one of the best tools to increase the Alliance’s operational effectiveness.
L. J. De Rothschild