Launching of the Gender Equality in the Military Project
Signing of the joint statement by four participating countries and UNDP
Female cadets from the Military Academy Belgrade and Military High School
The launch was attended by various military and civilian senior officials from the region and wider.
UNDP/SEESAC Team Leader a.i. Dr. Ivan Zverzhanovski presented the project to those present.
Minister of Defence of the Republic of Serbia, Dragan Sutanovac, opened the event.
On March 22, UNDP/SEESAC together with the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia hosted the launch of the project that aims to support GENDER EQUALITY IN THE MILITARY. “Support for Gender Mainstreaming in Security Sector Reform in the Western Balkans” is the UNDP/SEESAC project designed to support ministries of defence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
Montenegro and Serbia as they integrate gender equality into their institutions. On this occasion, representatives of the four countries officially SIGNED A JOINT STATEMENT committing themselves to a common set of goals.
Minister of Defence, Dragan Sutanovac, opened the event together with the UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia, William Infante, and representatives of the two main donor nations of this important project, H.E. Christer Asp, Ambassador of Sweden, and Colonel Esben Aass, Defense Attaché of the Kingdom of Norway.
The project will support the participating nations as they continue to implement the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, as well as other international obligations, by focusing on:
1) Establishing and strengthening Gender Focal Points within MODs
2) Improving recruitment and retention of women personnel
3) Changing the institutional culture
“Today women hold an important place in the armed forces of the Republic of Serbia.Their presence provides us with a new set of qualities and capacities, as we respond to the new security challenges and global threats” said Minister Sutanovac in his address.
“In this fight against current threats, gender does not play a role. However, knowledge and capability do.” Minister Sutanovac thanked UNDP/SEESAC for supporting the government of Serbia’s efforts to fully implement UNSCR 1325.
H.E. Christer Asp welcomed the efforts of the participating countries and wished them success in the new project. He underlined that the success of any military mission is dependent on obtaining all the necessary information, and that if one is missing information from the 50% of the population, their mission will not be successful.
Norwegian Defence Attaché, Colonel Esben Aass, representing a country that is one of the first to allow women to serve in any position within the military, reminded all present that in order to change something, we must first understand it. Which is why this project should not be done by and for women alone, but should be discussed by all in the organization, explained Colonel Aass.
UNDP Resident Representative, William Infante, stressed that “this project directly supports key themes of the UN’s work, namely good governance, regional cooperation and gender equality.” By supporting inclusion of women in the security sector, the project contributes to national security and stability of participating countries, and in turn regional and global security and stability as well,
said Mr. Infante.
Dr. Ivan Zverzhanovski, UNDP/SEESAC Team Leader a.i. presented the project, its structure and planned activities to all present.
Enes Hadrović - Head of the Department for Staffing Retention and Reserves at the Ministry of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slobodanka Doderović - Head of Human Resources at the Montenegrin Ministry of Defense, Dr. Tanja Miščević - State Secretary at the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia and Bekim Maksuti, Head of the Sector for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Defense of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, signed the joint statement.
The signatories of the joint statement also presented their countries' current accomplishments and efforts to implement the UNSCR 1325. Prior to their presentations, attendees had the opportunity to hear from Efrem Radev, Senior Expert on Security Issues from the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).
The last part of the launch event included a roundtable discussion on challenges military institutions face in integrating women in the armed forces and the use of various mechanisms, such as quotas and gender focal points, in promoting gender equality in the military. The panel featured top experts with significant practical experience with the issues at hand. Among them were, Lt.Col. Hilde Segers, Chief of the Office on Gender Perspectives at NATO, Lt. Col. Neviana Miteva from the Ministry of Defece of Bulgaria, Major Lena Kvarving of the Norwegian Defence University College, Commander Jan Dunmurray from the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations, Breda Bunic from the Ministry of Defence of Slovenia, and Biljana Stojkovic, Head of the Analytical Group for the implementation of UNSCR 1325 at the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia.
State Secretary at the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia, Dr. Tanja Miscevic, closed the meeting at which point she reminded all present that support for gender mainstreaming in the security sector is not only about the inclusion of women, but rather about democratization of a society.
Media clippings on the event:
Glass Javnosti and Press Online
TV, Radio, News Agencies and other sources
Ministry of Defence
Narodne Novine Nis