Opening Remarks for Seminar On Gender Perspectives In United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

Aug 19, 2014


James George Chacko

Assistant Resident Representative – Programme, United Nations Development Programme For Malaysia, Singapore And Brunei Darussalam

Pacific Regency Hotel, Jalan Punchak, Off Jalan P. Ramlee


Yang Berbahagia Vice Admiral Dato' Nasaruddin bin Othman, Chief of Staff, Malaysian Armed Forces Headquarters;

Yang Berbahagia Rear Admiral Dato’ Anuwi Bin Hassan, Assistant Chief of Staff, Defence, Operations and Training Division;

Yang Berbahagia, Major General Dato’ Hasny Bin Md Salleh, Former Director General of Defence Training, Defence Training Division, MAF, HQ;

Yang Berbahagia, Brigadier General Dato’ Nazir Bin Mami, Director General of Defence Training, Defence Training Division, MAF, HQ;

Lt Col Ahmad Ghazali Bin Hj Puteh, Deputy Commandant, Malaysia Peacekeeping Centre;

Esteemed representatives from the Embassy of Japan, Col Masataka Nishinaga, Defence Attache and from Embassy of Norway, First Secretary, Mr. Constantin Nicolaysen Karame;

Datuk Dr Rajmah Hussain, Adjunct Professor Department Of International And Strategic Studies, University of Malaya;

Ms Wivina Belmonte, Representative, UNICEF Malaysia;

Distinguished guests and representatives from the diplomatic community;

And our esteemed seminar participants from Malaysia and across the region;


Salam sejahtera and a very good morning.

On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme – Malaysia, let me take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to all of you and welcome you to the two day Seminar on Gender Perspectives In United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.


This seminar on the very important topic of gender perspectives in the United Nations peacekeeping operations, is one of the key activities undertaken by UNDP Malaysia, the Malaysian Ministry of Defence and the Malaysian Peacekeeping Centre (MPC) through a two year programme from 2014 to 2015 titled Capacity Building Support for Malaysia’s Role in Multidimensional Peacekeeping Training -Phase II. We pleased to have the strong support from the Government of Japan and Norway in making this project possible.

For your information, from 2010 to 2013, UNDP Malaysia, the Malaysian Ministry of Defence, MPC and with the support of the Government of Japan, successfully implemented the Capacity Building Support for Malaysia’s Role in Multidimensional Peacekeeping Training - Phase I.

The project over the last four years specifically supported the role of the MPC in providing multidimensional peacekeeping training to peacekeeping personnel and trainers from 30 countries in Asia and Africa and encompassed two important areas of peacekeeping operations, namely, civil-military coordination and gender.

The project was designed specifically in addressing some of the training needs of United Nations peacekeepers who have to operate within the context of complex and multidimensional peacekeeping environment that involves multiple actors with divergent roles and mandates.

In line with this, new training manuals were developed and training programmes and thematic seminars were held and the capacity of 372 Malaysian and international military and civilian personnel in peacekeeping operations from around the world were built, and the capacity of MPC as a multidimensional peacekeeping training centre was strengthened. The training materials were also shared with a selected number of UN Peacekeeping Training Centres around the world.

On behalf of UNDP Malaysia, we are also pleased to note that as of 2012, the civil-military coordination course has become a permanent course offered in MPC. Under this project, an international gender and peacekeeping seminar was also held in Malaysia for the very first time, providing a platform for Malaysia to provide input into global perspectives on this very important issue.



Moving forward, from 2014 to 2015, UNDP Malaysia, the Malaysian Ministry of Defence, MPC and with the generous support from the Government of Japan and Norway have embarked upon the Second Phase of this strategic collaboration. The project will focus on developing training manuals, training programmes and new research in the area of gender, cultural diversity in peacekeeping operations and protection of civilians.

The training manuals will then be utilized to train peacekeeping trainers and officers from the military, police and civil society, particularly from Asia and Africa. The project will also seek to enhance MPCs capacity in producing research publications on emerging peacekeeping issues for the mutual benefit of the global peacekeeping community. 



Ladies and gentlemen,

We live in a time when discord and conflict continues to be a challenge across the globe and placing significant impediment to the attainment of peace, security and the progress of development for all.

The nature of conflicts has also changed over the years. Originally developed as a means of dealing with inter-State conflict, UN peacekeeping has been increasingly applied to intra-State conflicts and civil wars. Although the military remain the backbone of most peacekeeping operations, the many faces of peacekeeping in the 21st century includes administrators and economists, police officers and legal experts, de-miners and electoral observers, human rights monitors and specialists in civil affairs and governance, humanitarian workers and experts in communications and public information.

As we are here today in Kuala Lumpur, there are currently 16 peacekeeping operations and one special political mission – the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan led by the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

As of 30 June 2014, there are over 98,000 uniformed personnel, 17,000 civilian personnel and 2,000 UN Volunteers involved in 16 peacekeeping missions worldwide and with more than 122 countries contributing uniformed personnel.

While the scale of UN peacekeeping today is unprecedented, increasingly, the diversity of mission mandates stretches the UN’s capacity to deliver on all tasks.

In addition, new peacekeeping tasks are being developed and require higher numbers of police and civilian specialists, experts that are in limited supply globally. In view of this, dialogues continue to take place between the UN Secretariat and Member States on how to reinvigorate the peacekeeping partnership with a view to improving the effectiveness of operations on the ground.

One of the key areas that is globally agreed has been the urgent need to focus on peacekeepers’ skills and  capacity to deliver required results, by exploring new ways to identify, train, equip, support and sustain the civilian, police and military capabilities that modern peacekeeping requires.

In line with this, one of the main imperatives has been the focus on strengthening the training and education of personnel across peacekeeping components through both pre-deployment training and mission-specific, scenario-based training and exercises.

In view of the above and building on the success of the project implemented with the Malaysian Ministry of Defence and MPC, this joint project seeks to support to the Government of Malaysia to further strengthen its capacity in providing multidimensional peacekeeping training, particularly to personnel from Asia and Africa, as they form the largest number of peacekeeping troops today.


On behalf of UNDP Malaysia, we are pleased to note on the very strong commitment of the Government of Malaysia in terms of contributing to peacekeeping efforts around the world. Ever since its first contribution to the UN peacekeeping mission in the Republic of Congo in 1960, Malaysia has continuously contributed peacekeepers during the last 54 years with over 20,000 Malaysian military personnel and approximately 3,000 police personnel in UN peacekeeping operations in over 20 countries.

The establishment of the MPC on 9 June 1995, (MPC ran the first course on 19 January 1996) and its strong collaboration with UNDP, UN agencies and international partners is highly commendable as Malaysia contributes to the global agenda on peacekeeping in terms of both on the ground missions and capacity building of Malaysian and other personnel from around the world.


Ladies and gentlemen,

At the core essence, there is a need to acknowledge that there is impact that peacekeeping has on the lives of both men and women in post conflict situations.  As such, recognizing and integrating gender perspectives into all aspects of UN peace operations, is essential for the success of the UN’s peacekeeping efforts.

As we are all aware, the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) have outlined a number of ways to ensure that gender issues are at the core of our work.

One of the most important is the policy of gender mainstreaming.  This ensures that gender perspectives are integrated into all elements of policy development in all sections (Security Sector Reform, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, Police, Military, Elections) from initial planning through to evaluation. To guarantee that gender is mainstreamed throughout peacekeeping operations, DPKO draws from the “Policy on Gender Equality in Peacekeeping operations’ directive.

At the international level, the UN Security Council has adopted seven resolutions on Women Peace and Security and collectively these resolutions provide UN Peacekeeping with a framework for implementing and monitoring the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

The blueprint for gender and peacekeeping work is rooted in Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) which was the first Resolution to address the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women. It stresses the importance of women’s equal and full participation as active agents in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace-building and peacekeeping.

It also calls on member states to ensure women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspective in all areas of peace building.

As a follow up to 1325, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1889  which calls for further strengthening of women's participation in peace processes and the development of indicators to measure progress on Resolution 1325.

Recognising the impact that sexual violence in conflict has on the maintenance of peace and security, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1820  which explicitly links sexual violence as a tactic of war with women peace and security issues.

 Security Council Resolution 1820 reinforces Resolution 1325 and highlights that sexual violence in conflict constitutes a war crime and demands parties to armed conflict to immediately take appropriate measures to protect civilians from sexual violence, including training troops and enforcing disciplinary measures.

 Resolution 1888, as a follow up to Resolution 1820, mandates that peacekeeping missions protect women and children from sexual violence during armed conflict, and requests that the Secretary-General appoint a special representative on sexual violence during armed conflict. Resolution 1960 was also adopted which builds on and deepens the women, peace and security agenda on sexual violence.


Ladies and gentlemen,

Building on the success of the gender and peacekeeping seminar of our joint project in Phase 1, we have decided that Phase II of our joint collaboration with the Government of Malaysia will focus on building the capacity of MPC to provide gender and peacekeeping courses as one of its core subject areas.

This area continues to be of particular importance as peacekeeping personnel are mandated to safeguard the human rights of all those whom they are called upon to protect and, in so doing, to integrate gender perspectives into their work in compliance with the United Nations Charter, international human rights instruments and Security Council Resolution mandates, including resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations Policy Directive on Gender Equality in UN Peacekeeping Operations (2006) clearly states that all induction and training activities for peacekeeping personnel, including training manuals developed for different substantive areas, shall include appropriate gender components.

This brings us to why all of us are here for the next two days.

The main objectives of the joint seminar are to:   

1.     Analyze and to identify the major challenges posed for integrating women and gender issues in UN peacekeeping missions within the Africa-Asia context with a particular emphasis on implementing gender mainstreaming and increasing female representation in missions in an effective and sustainable way;

 2.     Examine and promote the positive impacts of women peacekeepers, particularly amongst military personnel;

 3.     Promote an understanding of the roles of and challenges faced by stakeholders in peacekeeping missions and strategies for negotiating conflicting interests and priorities to ensure that gender is a fundamental part of peacekeeping  operations; and

 4.     Create networks amongst stakeholders which will provide more scope for multi-sectoral collaboration on gender and peacekeeping issues.


Ladies and gentlemen,

We are pleased that all of you are able to join us over the course of the next two days as we have global and regional experts who will be able to share their views, experiences, challenges and perspectives in deepening our understanding and approach to this very important agenda.

As all of us in this room can attest, there is much more that we should aspire and to work towards in terms of gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping operations. Building a common understanding of how to apply gender perspectives in practice is an ongoing challenge that is as relevant for peacekeeping personnel as it is for Member States.

Gender-based violence continues to threaten the security of women even in post-conflict environments. Women peacekeepers as well as leaders who hold high positions still face various challenges ranging from working with stakeholders with entrenched and outdated mentalities with regard to gender roles to dealing with bias in their daily interactions with colleagues in addition to institutional, procedural and cultural challenges.

As women and children account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict, including as refugees and internally displaced persons, and are increasingly targeted by combatants and armed elements,  we need to collectively find tangible approaches to maintain and promote durable peace and reconciliation.

On that note, let me take this opportunity to wish all of the participants and exciting and fruitful discussions over the next two days. We do welcome your feedback and interactions and hope that the seminar sessions and report will be useful to you as you continue to champion this very important agenda of contributing to global peace and security for all.

Thank you.

Find out more

This seminar is part of our project on Capacity Building Support for Malaysia Role in Multidimensional Peacekeeping Training Phase II

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