Last year Ministries of Defence in the Western Balkans further advanced in implementation of the UNSCR 1325 and increasing gender equality in the military
At the beginning of 2020, the Ministries of Defence of Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia informed in their annual reports on the implementation of national strategies and action plans for 2019, on significant progress in implementing the UNSCR 1325 and achieving gender equality in the military. The MoDs emphasized the support provided by the UNDP SEESAC in attaining these results through the Strengthening Regional Cooperation on Gender Mainstreaming in Security Sector Reform in the Western Balkans project.
In their national annual reports covering 2019, the MoDs informed on increased regional cooperation on gender equality through regional meetings of Gender Equality Mechanism in the MoDs and AFs. The regional meetings are taking place twice a year, representing the backbone of regional cooperation and contributing to increased capacities of MoDs to integrate gender perspective in policy and practice. Furthermore, the MoDs reported on the strengthened capacities on evidence based policy making and gender analysis, through training - organized on their request - and by participating in the Working Group for the regional study The Position of Women in the AFs in the Western Balkans. The study will collect data on the number and role of women in the AFs in the region. Findings will serve to enable policy recommendation for improvement of the position of women in the military. The MoDs also conveyed information on the results of capacity building seminars provided by SEESAC in strengthening their internal complaint mechanisms, to efficiently prevent and respond to cases of discrimination. To this purpose serves also their participation in the development of the regional Manual for Combating Gender Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Abuse. This regional effort to develop a Manual, is a unique example of regional cooperation among the MoDs to develop an antidiscrimination knowledge tool.
Finally, the MoDs reported on the increased gender awareness of MoDs and AFs staff, through seminars and trainings, as well as of the decision makers, through their participation in the comprehensive Gender Coach Programme, one-on-one mentoring sessions tailored for high level MoD and AF personnel.
Strengthening Regional Cooperation on Gender Mainstreaming in Security Sector Reform in the Western Balkans project is implemented in close cooperation with the MoDs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, with financial support by the governments of Norway and the Slovak Republic. It provides the Ministries of Defence and Armed Forces with a platform where, over the next three years, they can exchange ideas and develop policies that ensure long-term and sustainable inclusion of the gender perspective in defence policies and practices.