SEESAC Delivers New Round of Gender Coach Programme for Western Balkan Ministries of Defence

UNDP SEESAC launches the new series of the Gender Coach Programme for the Western Balkan ministries of defence and their senior leadership to strengthen leader’s capacities for integrating the gender perspective in the security sector.

The programme encompasses a wide range of topics. It covers the basic concepts on gender quality and discrimination but also discusses the use of the recently launched SEESAC’s knowledge tools - 2nd regional Study on The Position of Women in the Armed Forces in the Western Balkans and the regional Handbook for Combating gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse.

Mr. Dragan Nikolic, State Secretary in the Ministry of Defence of North Macedonia started attending the programme in July 2022, while Colonel Velibor Bakrac of the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of Montenegro is doing the same since September 2022. At the same time, his colleague from the Armed Forces of Montenegro, Colonel Zeljko Radulovic, began with the advanced coaching session on leadership and its roles in creating gender equality.

Previously, in 2021 and during the first half of 2022, the initial Gender Coach Programme was completed by two high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of Montenegro, Colonel Radulovic, and Lt. Colonel Miladin Coguric.

The Gender Coach Programme is an innovative approach to improving the gender-responsiveness of security institutions by enhancing the skills and fostering commitment of the senior leadership in these institutions. It enables participants to become leaders in integrating gender in their operations and encourage change in their institutions.

This programme is organized within the scope of the second phase of SEESAC’s  Strengthening of Regional Cooperation on Gender Mainstreaming in Security Sector Reform in the Western Balkans project, which provides support for mainstreaming gender in the security sector reform, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.


The programme builds on the results of a similar programme implemented in the Swedish Armed Forces since 2007, which enabled capacity development of high-ranking officers for the inclusion of gender equality in the military. The programme is implemented through regular meetings and consultations between a gender coach and a high-ranking officer. The informal meetings address specific gender topics, which are agreed in advance aiming to raise the gender awareness and provide practical advice on how to mainstream gender into policy development.

Officers who participated in the programme are expected to play an invaluable role in advancing gender equality within their ministry and armed forces through capacity development, relationship building, as well as increased knowledge and awareness of gender equality.