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IWP held a videoconference with Mari Skaare

06:04 24.04.13
IWP held a videoconference with NATO Secretary’s General Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security Mari Skaare.

Questions from the videoconference

The first deputy director of the Institute of World Policy Sergiy Solodkyy:

As you have become the first person to occupy the position of the Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security at NATO, could you, please, outline the priorities of your work: what has been done and what has to be done? Why has NATO become interested in the topic of gender equality just recently?

NATO Secretary’s General Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security Mari Skaare.

The broader political agenda for Women, Peace and Security within NATO is based on the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, adopted in 2000, and on four subsequent related resolutions. These resolutions have placed the role and rights of women in peace and security firmly on the international agenda. Nations have the primary responsibility for the implementation of these resolutions and the UN has the lead within the International Community.

NATO as a regional political-military organization has also important contributions to make. Therefore, in 2007 NATO, together with our partners in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), developed an overarching policy on UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions. This policy was followed in 2010 by an Action Plan, aimed at putting UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security into NATO- led operations and missions.

The Alliance is showing political leadership and our key messages are that we need to understand that conflicts may affect men and women differently and that we need to include women in decision-making and security institutions, if we are to be successful in meeting the security challenges of this century.

Showing political leadership is great, but we also do need to ensure that we implement our policy and Action Plan and achieve results. My job is to work with all parts of NATO, as well as with partners, to ensure that the policy is translated into practical measures and activities and that we together make a difference. I am NATO’s focal point for the work on Women, Peace and Security; I am assisting in internal coordination, raising awareness and engaging in dialogue with external stakeholders. I work across the board of NATO’s responsibilities and activities and I work within the framework of the Strategic Concept adopted in Lisbon in 2010 that outlines three core tasks – collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security. We need to work within each of these areas in order to integrate a gender perspective and promote the role and the rights of women.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine in retirement Ihor Turyanskiy

Have you observed the behavior: ethical as well as political of women, who are members of the Parliament in other countries that are members of the NATO?

NATO Secretary’s General Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security Mari Skaare.

I do not have a specific assessment of female members of parliaments. But I would like to underscore the important role of parliamentarians as lawmakers and policymakers in their countries. They have a significant influence and contributions to make ensuring the implementation of the resolutions on Women, Peace and Security of the UN Security Council.

Alyona Getmanchuk, the director of the Institute of World Policy:

Today, the international relations demand more soft than hard power. And, the image of the NATO is also far from perfect especially on the post-Soviet arena where it is still associated with aggressive and militaristic approach. And I wish we had more opportunities to execute such videoconferences. People have to see a different ‘face’, the woman face of NATO. Do you think that this gender factor of NATO could influence the image of the Alliance and could it become the important component of NATO’s public diplomacy?

NATO Secretary’s General Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security Mari Skaare.

Public Diplomacy is important for raising awareness and engaging in a dialogue and thus broadening and deepening our own perspectives as well as others’. The Women, Peace and Security agenda is indeed included in the Public Diplomacy efforts of the Alliance.

The Women, Peace and Security agenda is, however, much more than creating an image. NATO member states form a unique community of values, committed to the principles of individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Gender equality and women’s role within society are the foundation of every contemporary and democratic society. If we are to be successful in dealing with security challenges: at the national, regional or global level, we do need to include women and we do need to understand society and conflicts also based on a gender perspective.

Olena Ostapchuk, Director of the Center of Gender Education:

Could you, please, give us examples of using gender approach in conflict resolution?

NATO Secretary’s General Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security Mari Skaare.

With regard to crisis management, the NATO-led operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan are providing us with valuable feedback on the implementation of the gender perspective. Our operations and missions have taught us that we can enhance our awareness of the situation on the ground and the effectiveness of our operations by devoting greater attention to the role and engagement of women. The increased presence of women in the field, the inclusion of gender-focused competences in training programmes, and the deployment of gender advisers help enhance our operational effectiveness and improve the way we work. NATO, individual Allies and Partner organizations have stepped up the development of gender-related training of our own forces.

Increased female participation in national security forces also presents an invaluable added-value in the conduct of operations. In Afghanistan, for example, experience has shown that all-female teams, or female soldiers who are part of mixed teams, are well suited for certain security roles, such as house inspections and searches of females, and they are also better able to engage Afghan women in discussing security and other concerns.

We have also learned that having gender advisers in the field, which of course can be both men and women, has strengthened the commanders’ ability to plan and execute the operation, and has helped them making better decisions. We have gained many valuable experiences, and to make sure that we learn from these, we have initiated a review of the practical implications of mainstreaming UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions into NATO-led operations and missions. This review is led by the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations in Sweden, with the contribution of several of our operational partners. It should help us capitalize on our experiences and use them in future planning.

Foreign Policy Audit: Ukraine-Hungary
20 April, 2016
The discussion paper was written by Ivan Medynskyi, research fellow at the Institute of World Policy, and Bence Kapcsos, invited Hungarian expert.
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