Women’s participation in Security Sector Reform is a Value in its Own

The panel discussion “Promoting inclusion of Women in crisis management missions”, co-organized by UNDP SEESAC and the Slovak OSCE Chairmanship at the Belgrade Security Forum on 17 October 2019 emphasized the necessity for integrating gender perspective in the security sector reform as precondition for democratic and representative security sector institutions. The organization of the side event was possible thanks to funds from the Partnership project between the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic and UNDP.

Speakers at the panel shared experience on topics related to the Security Sector Governance and Reform (SSG/R): how SSG/R could contribute to a more gender-balanced and gender-responsive security sector and what institutional changes are needed to address barriers to the participation of women in the security sector. Panellists presented national experiences and examples how to internalize and integrate professional standards and values into existing institutional structures and exchanged the best practices of national mechanisms for the recruitment and deployment of women representatives to international crisis management missions.

Speakers also talked about the challenges in creating an organizational culture that offers equal opportunities for women and men and a positive working environment free of discriminatory practices. 

The panel introduced speakers from the armed forces in the Western Balkans: Sergeant Major Marijana Simonovska Trajkoska, Battalion Master Sergeant, Military Medical Center of the Armed Forces of North Macedonia, Lieutenant Colonel Marko Marjanović, Head of Planning, Coordinating and Tracking Cell in the Serbian Armed Forces Peacekeeping Operations Center;  representative of international organization: Denise Mazzolani, Deputy Head, Strategic Police Matters Unit, OSCE Transnational Threats Department and representative of the Embassy of Norway in Belgrade: Lieutenant Colonel Egil Daltveit, Norwegian Defence Attaché in Belgrade.  The panel was moderated by Mr. Igor Vencel, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Belgrade.

The Strengthening of Regional Cooperation on Gender Mainstreaming in Security Sector Reform in the Western Balkans project is financed by the Governments of Norway and the Slovak Republic. With the support of UNDP SEESAC, the project provides the Ministries of Defence 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 defence policies and practices.