Workshop on Gender and Security for the WPON Council

UNDP/SEESAC together with the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Croatia and in close cooperation with the South East Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA) began a workshop on Gender and Security within the framework of the Women Police Officers Network in South East Europe (WPON). The aim of this workshop is to further develop the capacity of WPON Council members to act as gender advocates within their police services. Police officers from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are attending the three day seminar which is taking place in Valbandon, Croatia.

The workshop was opened by Mr. Mladen Blaskovic, Head of the Istarska Police Administration, who welcomed participants and stated his pride in leading the the Police Administration with most women officers. Speaking at the opening, Mr. Blaskovic stressed that “the progress that women brought to the police system through their work is immeasurable. They have contributed to the improvement and efficiency of the police.” He went on to say that “both research and experience confirm that women police officers tend to be better at handling specific situations involving children, older people, minors, foreigners and victims of certain types of crimes.”

In her address, Ms. Jelena Vasiljevic, WPON Council Chair, stressed that the workshop was a key activity under the WPON annual work plan agreed at the Annual Meeting in Sarajevo in November 2010. She urged the Network members to continue with their efforts to bring improvement to the position of women police officers.

Addressing Workshop participants, Ms. Therese Aalberg, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Norway in Croatia, stressed Norway’s support for gender mainstreaming in the security sector in general, and expressed the commitment to continue supporting the WPON initiative.

The workshop deals with issues such as gender and security, gender mainstreaming, the legal framework (including UNSC 1325 and National Action Plans for the implementation) for gender equality, recruitment and retention of women police offices, cooperation with civil society and advocacy for gender equality in policing. The training is delivered by DCAF, and is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swiss Development Cooperation.