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pdf Integrating a Gender Perspective into the Work of the United Nations Military - DPKO/DFS Guidelines

Institution: DPKO
Publication Date: March 2010
Keywords: Gender, Peacekeeping


In 2009, the Office of Military Affairs and the Gender Unit of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) initiated a process to develop, for the first time, guidelines for integrating a gender perspective into the work of the United Nations (UN) military in peacekeeping operations.  The result is the document featured here.  These guidelines are intended to serve as a tool to guide the practical translation of existing Security Council mandates on Women, Peace and Security and to help recognise and address the security priorities of all sectors of the local population — women, men, boys and girls —in a peacekeeping context.  Although designed specifically for the tasks of military peacekeepers, they serve as a useful tool for all actors involved in peacekeeping missions, particularly regional partner organisations. The guidelines are currently being field-tested for a period of two years, and will be updated thereafter.

Key Issues:

The guidelines are presented in three sections, corresponding to the three levels of military engagement in peacekeeping; strategic, operational, and tactical levels.

There has been a tendency for gender perspectives in peacekeeping missions to be reduced to the issue of how many women are recruited as peacekeepers.  Whilst not denying this is an important issue, it is by no means the only one.  The role of military components in peacekeeping missions is primarily to provide a secure environment as a precondition for other elements of peace agreements in often complex conflict-affected environments, where parties to conflicts include state and non-state actors, and where civilian populations are often implicated in the conflict, either as combatants or as victims to the conflict.  This context often necessitates direct interactions between military peacekeepers and local populations.  The key lesson in this context is it is imperative for UN peacekeepers to understand the different ways that women, men, girls and boys are affected by conflict and its aftermath in order to respond appropriately and effectively.  It is therefore vital the particular needs and interests of women as well as men are taken into account when designing and implementing peace support processes.

Furthermore, the activities of military components have a direct impact on the local population in countries and regions hosting peacekeeping missions.  Identifying and responding to any differential impact of the work of military peacekeepers on different groups in the local population is, therefore, a necessary strategy for ensuring that the security concerns of women, men, girls and boys are adequately addressed throughout all phases of a peacekeeping mission.

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