What's In Blue

Posted Thu 17 May 2012

Arria Meeting with Gender Advisers

On Friday morning (18 May), Council members are set to meet with gender advisers from UN peacekeeping missions in a closed Arria format session. It is likely that a representative from DPKO will introduce the work of gender advisers involved in implementing resolution 1325 (2000) on women’s participation in peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction. Gender advisers from UNAMA in Afghanistan, MINUSTAH in Haiti and UNOCI in C ôte d’Ivoire will discuss the achievements and challenges in implementing the women, peace and security agenda in peacekeeping missions.

It seems that Portugal organised this meeting in cooperation with DPKO as a stock-taking exercise between Council members and gender advisers. (These gender advisers are in New York for an annual meeting with DPKO and are responsible for integrating a gender perspective into all aspects of a peacekeeping mission and advising Special Representatives on gender accountability.) Typically, Council members are kept informed of overall mission activities by the Special Representative. Portugal’s initiative to organise a separate informal meeting with the gender advisers is expected to allow Council members to focus specifically on gender issues and enable the advisers to directly communicate with Council members.

It is likely that some of the gender advisers will take this opportunity to stress the importance, particularly in the light of the Council’s upcoming visiting mission to West Africa, of including women’s issues as an integral part of the programme during these missions.

One of the priorities of the meeting will be to underline the need for sustained attention from the Security Council to the women, peace and security agenda. It seems that the conveners of the meeting are also keen to signal that this agenda should be a priority in missions where the UN is responsible for helping to create structures enabling women’s participation in elections and mediation processes in post-conflict situations.

Another perceived benefit of this meeting is that it will provide a “field perspective” for Council members to feed into the Council’s annual open debate on women, peace and security (currently slated to be held in October).

Portugal organised a similar event in February this year between Council members and the heads of human rights components in UN missions. Portugal is hoping to share the more salient points raised from both of these closed Arria meetings with member states and civil society.

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