Women, Peace and Security
29 March 2016
Audrey Reeves, lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations, presented a report on the role of parliaments in advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda (WPS) at an international conference in Tallinn, Estonia, on 11 March 2016.
The conference, organised by the Estonian Atlantic Treaty Association (EATA), gathered government representatives, parliamentarians, diplomats, military and police personnel, and civil society representatives to discuss the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on WPS. The resolution, adopted in 2000, encourages states to integrate women and a gender perspective in national and multilateral security initiatives. According to Ms Krista Mulenok, the Secretary General of the EATA, Ms Reeves’ report helpfully draws attention to Estonia’s role toward the advancement of the WPS agenda, thus encouraging government officials and parliamentarians to increase their contribution in this field.
Presentations and discussions, which took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, involved Marina Kaljurand, Estonia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs; Marriët Schuurman, the NATO Special Representative for WPS; Maria Appelblom, Chief of the UN Standing Police Capacity; H.E, Alain Hausser, Ambassador of Canada to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and Maj. Gen. Tiiu Kera, US Air Force (Ret.), amongst others.
Ms Reeves’ report was based on an analysis of questionnaires completed by representatives of 21 NATO member countries on the role of parliaments in advancing the WPS agenda. It concludes that parliaments’ contributions are increasing and diversifying, but still concentrated in the 17 NATO member countries that adopted a National Action Plan on WPS. Parliaments contribute towards the objectives of the UNSCRs in four ways:
- ensuring a gender-balanced parliamentary leadership in the field of peace and security;
- adopting supportive legislation;
- monitoring governments’ implementation; and
- engaging civil society organisations.
Concrete examples include the Riigikogu, the Estonian parliament, which, in 2012, adopted legislation enabling women to pursue careers as military officers on equal terms with men. Such legislation increases the chances that women will meet the necessary qualifications to partake in peacekeeping missions where their presence facilitates the provision of services to conflict-affected women. Estonian parliamentarians also participated in public events on the inclusion of women in security initiatives, thus raising the profile of WPS and facilitating oversight of what governments have achieved in this field. Marianne Mikko, member of Riigikogu, pursued this tradition by giving the concluding remarks at Friday’s EATA conference.
Ms Reeves’ report was commissioned by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and written in collaboration with the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces in 2015. Ms Reeves also presented the findings at the NATO PA Annual Session in Stavanger, Norway, in October 2015.