Armed Forces in the Western Balkans tackling jointly gender-based discrimination

21 representatives from the Ministries of Defense (MoDs) and members of Armed Forces (AFs) of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia actively participated in a two-day Regional Workshop on Combating Gender-based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Abuse organized and delivered by UNDP SEESAC. The MoDs in the Western Balkans agreed to jointly develop the Regional Manual on combating gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse with the aim to support internal complaints mechanisms to effectively prevent and respond to gender-based discrimination.

Prevention of gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse is a key priority in tackling barriers to women's full integration in AFs. It is important for AFs to ensure  that both men and women serve in safe and respectful working environment, that is why workshop ensured that participants understand different types of discrimination, what they mean in practice, how they negatively affect both professional and personal lives, and the importance of reporting and responding to gender based discrimination.  Furthermore, the regional event enabled sharing of good practices from internal complaints mechanisms. MoDs agreed to jointly develop regional Manual as knowledge tool with practical examples that will help them to effectively respond to gender based discrimination.

The Strengthening of Regional Cooperation on Gender Mainstreaming in Security Sector Reform in the Western Balkans project is financed with funding provided by the Governments of Norway and Slovak Republic. With the support of UNDP SEESAC, the project provides the Ministries of Defense and the Armed Forces in the Western Balkans with a platform where, over the next three years, they can exchange ideas and develop policies to ensure long-term and sustainable inclusion of the gender perspective in defense policies and practices.