News: Detailed summary: cooperative security and gender perspective, 09-May-2022

On May 9, 2022, NATO’s International Military Staff (IMS) held its third in-depth session, this time examining the importance of the gender perspective in cooperative security. This session mentioned how projecting stability and enhancing security through cooperation, dialogue and partnerships requires a gender dimension. Presentations were made by the Center of Excellence (CoE) for Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC), the EU Military Staff, the SHAPE Partnership Directorate and Colombia, the new partner of the NATO.

Lt. Col. Thomas Hoehl, CIMIC CoE, began by explaining that the cross-cutting issues of Gender and Women, Peace and Security (WPS) “are NATO’s business, not just its gender advisors”. He stressed that NATO can learn a lot from its partners in cooperative security. For example, NATO Mission Iraq and partners from the international community participated in an Iraqi-led workshop at the Al Nahrain Center for Strategic Studies. The objective was to strengthen understanding of the relevance of the protection of civilians, human rights, women, peace and security, children and armed conflict, the protection of cultural property in the crisis management. He also highlighted how NATO-accredited entities such as the Nordic Center for Gender in Military Operations (NCGM) and non-NATO countries such as Sweden play a key role in promoting gender perspective. NCGM provides training to NATO personnel on gender in military operations.

Ms. Terhi Lehtinen, from the EU Military Staff (EUMS), explained that effective multilateralism is one of the main objectives of EU foreign policy. The EU has adopted a new Gender Action Plan III for 2021-2025, which integrates gender equality as a core value for security. She said that “mainstreaming a gender perspective in security-related contexts is crucial for international partnerships”. The EU has a new Ambassador for Gender and Diversity, HE Stella Ronner Grubačić, who engages internationally to promote gender equality and diversity. Ms. Lehtinen concluded with the idea that “there is a new impetus to integrate a gender perspective in capacity building and as a means to improve the operational effectiveness of military operations”. We look forward to reading the EU baseline study on mainstreaming gender and human rights in EU common security and defense missions and operations.

Finally, Lt. Col. Ricardo Rodriguez and Ms. Paola Pasini from the Military Cooperation Division within the SHAPE Partnership Directorate (SHAPE – PD) explained what NATO is doing to advance the gender perspective in cooperative security, inviting their Colombian colleagues to discuss the efforts of their armed forces. takes to “ensure that their institution guarantees a team of experts to protect fairness and respect”. SHAPE-PD noted that over the past year there have been increasing requests and discussions on gender-related topics and trainings. Currently, SHAPE offers 15 courses for partner countries regarding gender perspective training.

In summary, the gender perspective is present in NATO’s core work, including cooperative security. Bi-SC 40-1 is NATO’s key document on gender mainstreaming and UNSCR 1325. NATO Partners are involved in many of NATO’s core activities, from policy development and defense capability building to interoperability development and crisis prevention/management. Tackling today’s security challenges will only be possible if a wide range of perspectives are taken into account – women, men, girls and boys. Gender mainstreaming is essential for partnership frameworks, not only to support NATO values, but also to be truly effective and aware of all the implications when working with external partners.

Virginia S. Braud