On 18 November 2013, Anne-Marie Esper Larsen, the newly appointed representative of the United Nations Agency for gender equality and for women empowerment in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UN Women in BiH), met with the Commander of EUFOR, Major General Dieter Heidecker, at the EUFOR Headquarters in Camp Butmir.
The UN and EUFOR share the same goal when it comes to improving the position of women in the area of peace and security in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325. UNSCR 1325 and subsequent resolutions reaffirm the important and indispensible role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, and post-conflict reconstruction. These resolutions also underline the importance of women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.
Ms. Anne-Marie Esper Larsen, the former Danish Ambassador to Morocco and Danish Ambassador for Gender Equality, praised both EUFOR and in particular General Heidecker for the strong commitment to the promotion of gender equality recently reflected during the joint EUFOR and PSOTC Gender Conference. This conference offered the opportunity for the professionals and students to establish networks and exchange valuable ideas and knowledge. Ms. Esper Larsen further stated that besides the struggle for gender mainstreaming, there must also be a focus on the economic empowerment of women and thus strengthen the overall position of women in BiH.
There are two main UN gender projects currently underway in BiH, Gender Responsible Budgeting (GRB) and the implementation of UNSCR 1325. BiH, as a signatory of UN Resolution 1325 has an obligation to implement the Action Plan for its implementation. In this regard, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Coordination Board monitoring the implementation of the Action Plan for the Implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and thirteen non-governmental organizations on 29 October 2013.
BiH now has a platform for cooperation, consultation, coordination and information exchange between key government institutions and NGOs that work on peace and security related issues. The non-governmental sector plays a key role in the implementation of women rights in the peace and security sector and this is the first time that a model of this kind has been established in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
COM EUFOR agreed that the female factor is essential for effective peace building and security, as is demonstrated within the EUFOR military and civilian structure. He said: “Information sharing and cooperation amongst the various International Community agencies, including EUFOR, is essential to ensure a comprehensive and achievable plan can be realized.”
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