Towards a Canadian National Action Plan to Implement Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security

Third Annual Symposium of the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security
October, 2005

Table of Contents


We would like to thank Céline Heinbecker for her keen organizational skills, Geneviève Asselin, Monica Brown and Surita Parashar for volunteering their time to work as rapporteurs during the Symposium, and all panellists and participants for creating a high-level of debate and discussion on these issues.


In order to address a desire for Government officials, members of civil society and Parliamentarians to work in close partnership on women, peace and security, the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security (CCWPS) was created in October 2001 to advocate for the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security (Resolution 1325). The CCWPS has focused its work on advocacy, building capacity, and gender training. Previous annual symposia of the CCWPS have focused on issues of women, peace and security in the contexts of Rwanda and Afghanistan.

The Third Annual Symposium on Women Peace and Security, hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) on October 17-18, 2005, served as an opportunity for participants to discuss the Government of Canada’s recent initiative to develop a National Action Plan to Implement Resolution 1325 (NAP), and to help plan the future role, structure and activities of the CCWPS.

Canada is committed to implementing Resolution 1325 and has undertaken a number of important initiatives to do so. Five years after the adoption of Resolution 1325, Canada has initiated the development of a NAP in response both to a call to all Member States from the United Nations Secretary General to draft a national action plan, and to a call from Canadian civil society for a coherent and whole-of-government approach to the implementation of Resolution 1325. Canada, for whom women, peace and security is a policy priority, is eager to work with interested stakeholders to develop a coherent, comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy to implement Resolution 1325 effectively and systematically. Our work to reshape the CCWPS will contribute to that strategy.

Throughout the Symposium, discussion was focused on five key themes, namely what a NAP should look like, how the CCWPS should function, the links between Resolution 1325 and the International Policy Statement, Canada’s implementation of Resolution 1325 in Haiti, and how other countries are fairing in their implementation of Resolution 1325. Recommendations arose from some of these discussions which will inform the Government of Canada’s future work in this area.

Recommendations for Canada’s National Action Plan on the Implementation of Resolution 1325


• New resources will be necessary to implement the NAP effectively.

Political Will and Buy-in

  • The drafting of the NAP, and its implementation, should be prioritized at a high level within the Government of Canada.
  • Canada must work to create and maintain will at the international level. Canada could start, for instance, by outlining what prioritizing the Peacebuilding. Commission means concretely with regards to promoting gender awareness through Canadian foreign policy and Canada’s contribution to the establishment of the Commission.
  • The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus should take an interest in this file and even play a role in implementation.
  • The NAP should address who to focus on and engage to build political interest (i.e. PCO, PMO, Parliament, Cabinet, senior officials, as well as working-level officers).
  • Officials must be directed by senior management to deliver the gender message to more challenging fora (e.g. UN Reform discussions).

Whole-of-government Approach/Coherence

  • The NAP should address diplomacy, development, defence and trade, and the mandates of domestic departments, when appropriate.
  • The Interdepartmental Working Group on Gender and Peacebuilding should work with civil society to conduct a needs assessment to identify gaps in Canada’s implementation.
  • The NAP should be specific about what each department is committed to do at the international and domestic levels.
  • To ensure policy coherence and a whole-ofgovernment approach, all relevant government departments should be involved in implementation, which will be coordinated by DFAIT.
  • The NAP should encourage departments to build from best practices.
  • The NAP should allow for education/awarenessraising among key actors.
  • Canada’s implementation strategy should be consistent with Canada’s development priorities and commitments, as well as the Millennium Development Goals.
  • The NAP should address Canadian engagement in conflict prevention and management, as well as post-conflict reconstruction.


  • The NAP should underline the need for transparency (through regular public reporting, for example) and accountability in all government departments.
  • DFAIT should chair a consultative process among government departments to develop indicators and measures of accountability, and to determine responsibility for various actions.
  • The NAP should include needs assessments and follow-up mechanisms.


  • Military and civilian personnel in peace support operations should be trained to understand what women’s participation in peace processes should look like, how to identify and address a rape/genderbased violence case, etc.
  • Canada should explore training civilian peacekeepers (possibly through the Canada Corps).
  • Front line officers in relevant departments should receive systematic and periodical gender training.
  • Post-deployment debriefs should inform gender training curriculum reviews.
  • More work should be undertaken on standardizing gender training and curriculum development.
  • The NAP should address how to create and maintain political will/interest in ensuring that there is systematic support for training in gender awareness and integrating gender into policy decisions.

Roles of Non-government Actors

  • Civil society should define how it will contribute to implementation of the NAP (e.g. playing a role in raising awareness of the NAP in the media).
  • The drafting of the NAP should be a collaborative process that includes academics and civil society.


  • The NAP should include a media strategy.
  • Canada should develop communications products to raise awareness at the UN, for example, of the work that (Canadian) women have done in postconflict reconstruction.


  • The energy for developing a NAP should be maintained even once the document is written (the NAP must not be an end in itself).
  • The NAP drafting process should not overshadow/replace current initiatives.

Country-specific Issues

  • To address the relative absence of gender in the International Policy Statement, the NAP should provide strategic directions and guidelines for specific regions and serve as a tool for geographic working-level officers in government departments.
  • The NAP should address issues specific to failed and fragile states and the 25 development partners listed in the International Policy Statement

Recommendations on the Future Role, Structure and Activities of the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security

CCWPS Mandate

“The Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security is a national coalition of individual and organizational members of civil society, government and Parliament whose mission is to work toward the goals established in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. Among other actions, this includes increased representation and participation of women at all decision making levels in conflict prevention, management, resolution and post-conflict reconstruction; the incorporation of a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations and peace agreements; and the protection of girls and women from gender-based violence in armed conflict and post-conflict contexts. The Committee provides a forum for sharing information, experiences and learning; raises awareness; and influences Canadian policy and programming internationally.”

The Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security (CCWPS) was established in the fall of 2001 after a session on gender and peacebuilding was held at the 2001 Peacebuilding Consultations sponsored by DFAIT. During that session, it was agreed that representatives from civil society, government and Parliament should work in close partnership on this issue. The CCWPS was to serve as a forum for discussion and dialogue, while developing a few practical joint initiatives that would push the Resolution 1325 agenda forward and contribute to Canadian and international implementation. In the four years since its inception, the CCWPS has undertaken a variety of activities, including piloting a Canadian version of the Canada-UK Gender Training Initiative (GTI) and holding cross-Canada roundtables with women from Afghani and Sri Lankan diasporas on women’s participation in peacebuilding efforts in their native country.

The Third Annual Symposium served as an opportunity to discuss the value-added of the CCWPS, the kinds of results the CCWPS should and can achieve, and the complementary roles of civil society members, MPs, and Government officials.

Roles and Work of the CCWPS

  • It is necessary to clarify the difference between the Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group of the Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee and the CCWPS.
  • The CCWPS was successful at building capacity among Parliamentarians (through roundtables and statements to House and Senate), as well as external partnerships (e.g. with the UK on the GTI).
  • The CCWPS should work to influence political will in Canada and abroad.
  • The CCWPS should focus on advocacy and influencing policy, not raising awareness and building capacity, as this is the role of the Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group. The CCWPS should bring practitioners and specialists in the area of WPS together to take strategic action to influence policy makers.
  • Efforts should be made to further engage Parliamentarians on women, peace and security issues.
  • The CCWPS could monitor the implementation of the NAP.
  • The CCWPS could inform the work of the Special Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on women, peace and security.
  • The CCWPS should set priorities for each year.
  • The CCWPS should advocate for the use of gender impact assessments across government, where applicable.

Structure and Membership

  • Having a high profile Parliamentarian chair the CCWPS is positive for visibility. A rotating leader should be considered in order to distribute the workload.
  • It has not been clear who ‘belonged’ to the CCWPS because it does not have a membership, per se.
  • The value-added of the CCWPS is its tripartite nature. Tripartite discussions are useful to determine what is and is not being done to implement Resolution 1325.
  • The CCWPS should become a “task force”.
  • The CCWPS should be extremely focused in its work and not be burdened with coordinating too great a number of sub-committees.


  • The CCWPS has lacked long-term funding and a long-term agenda.
  • If a Coordinator for the CCWPS is deemed necessary, then funding must be found to support the Coordinator.

Additional Recommendations

  • The annual Symposium should continue to serve as a networking forum.
  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Status of Women is focused on domestic issues, but could lend support to the work of the CCWPS.
  • The CCWPS must determine whether or not it is beneficial to hold annual meetings on women’s human rights that are separate from other human rights events (as there is a risk of marginalizing the issue).

Many of the comments here are framed in such a way as to address how the CCWPS should function and what it should accomplish. However, it was also very clear from the discussion that the current structure of the CCWPS needs changing in order to fit the needs of the community of participants and carry out its role as an advocacy body.

Linking Resolution 1325 and the International Policy Statement

The presentations during the first panel provided an overview of how the core federal government departments involved in Canada’s women, peace and security agenda – Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), the Department of National Defence (DND), and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) – have been working to implement Resolution 1325 and how the goals of the resolution fit into the framework of and help to advance Canadian foreign policy.

The International Policy Statement (IPS) was released by the Government of Canada in April 2005, articulating a comprehensive action plan to transform Canadian diplomacy and presenting a vision for Canada’s global engagement - one equipped for a rapidly changing and less predictable world. As the first comprehensive, integrated international policy framework, the IPS was designed to ensure that Canada’s foreign, defence, development and trade policies form the basis of a single, coherent and effective international strategy for Canada. The IPS is our way forward and Resolution 1325 is a tool to implement it.

Participants raised a number of key concerns, namely that:

  1. the erroneous assumption that gender has been mainstreamed into the policy development process has resulted in gender considerations being made even less visible;
  2. there is a need for sustained, dedicated and sufficient human and financial resources to develop and implement policies that advance the goals of Resolution 1325; and
  3. discussions on Resolution 1325 and efforts to implement it should not take place in a vacuum – in other words, Canada must bring the women, peace and security agenda into non-gender-specific fora, such as discussions on the Peacebuilding Commission or on security sector reform. Canada must also implement policies in such a way as to take into account and feed into other genderrelated goals in Canadian foreign policy.

Diplomacy and Resolution 1325

Human security, broadly defined, has been at the core of Canada’s involvement in the world for a number of years now. Indeed, Canada has raised the bar in setting objectives, identifying tools and delivering results to achieve greater human security in conflict-torn regions of the world.

For instance, the work of DFAIT has been instrumental in drawing international attention to and generating momentum for the women, peace and security agenda. In fact, the unique nature of the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security is a model of partnership and coordination copied abroad.

Canada played a significant role in the work leading to the adoption by the Security Council, in 2000, of Resolution 1325, the first ever Security Council Resolution to deal exclusively with women, peace and security. Canada’s efforts were strongly matched by the committed work of the NGO community and various UN agencies.

Canada remains committed to the women, peace and security agenda as one of our foreign policy priorities, along with the protection of civilians agenda, the children and armed conflict agenda, and the overall promotion and protection of women’s rights and gender equality.

The Government of Canada has identified DFAIT as the lead in Canada’s implementation of Resolution 1325. In order to ensure effective, coherent and thorough implementation of Resolution 1325, however, DFAIT works with other federal partners, including DND and CIDA, among others, to fulfil our commitments in this area. DFAIT coordinates and chairs the Interdepartmental Working Group on Gender and Peacebuilding, which will guide the drafting of Canada’s NAP, a roadmap for the work of the federal government.

In terms of work on the international scene, advancing the women, peace and security agenda through diplomatic action requires efforts on four fronts: 1) developing and advancing international norms and standards; 2) conducting advocacy; 3) ensuring compliance and implementation; and 4) building capacity.

Canada’s work to develop and advance international norms and standards is accomplished within multilateral institutions. For example, DFAIT works actively at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the UN Commission on Human Rights, the UN General Assembly and the Security Council to support resolutions calling for the implementation of Resolution 1325 and urging the integration of gender into all peace and security activities and policies.

Further, with the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, its 5-Year Review, and Resolution 1325 as reference points, DFAIT works with member states of the G8 and other regional and international organizations and networks to ensure that women’s specific concerns and a gender perspective are integrated into all of our peacebuilding and human security efforts.

Our advocacy work ensures the inclusion of genderrelated norms and standards to guide the work of, inter alia, UN agencies in the field. For instance, DFAIT consistently and strongly advocated for the Gender Advisor position to be established and filled in the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. When it comes to the implementation of norms and standards, as part of the follow-up to its protection of civilians initiative, DFAIT worked with CIDA, DND, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to spearhead Canadian efforts to develop appropriate international measures to improve security in refugee camps. These measures include ensuring that camp design and layout take into account the needs of women and girls, and that persons living in camps or settlements are protected from sexual and gender-based violence and other types of physical and psychological violence, crime and intimidation.

Canada also carries out this work in country-specific contexts. For example, DFAIT has taken every opportunity to raise concerns pertaining to women’s rights and gender-based violence in its interactions with the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as was the case during the 2004 visit to Canada of the Congolese Minister of Human Rights.

Our efforts to build capacity include support through DFAIT’s Human Security Program (HSP) for the grassroots work by members of Canadian and international civil society. The HSP seeks to operationalize our Human Security Agenda, which prioritizes the issue of women, peace and security, and in particular, the implementation of Resolution 1325. For instance, the Program has enabled us to keep the issue of gender sensitivity training for military and civilian members of peace support operations on the international agenda. The Gender Training Initiative (GTI), funded through the HSP and in collaboration with the United Kingdom, is a three-day course geared towards sensitizing military, police and civilian participants in peace support operations on gender considerations, and includes the forms of genderbased violence that occur during and after conflict. The UN has used this course in the development of its own standard training modules for peacekeepers. Indeed, DFAIT has met numerous times with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations to discuss how to standardize such training.

DFAIT is pleased to announce that it will be conducting an assessment of the gender-related training provided to Canadian personnel involved in peace support operations. This assessment will identify gaps in training and provide recommendations to ensure that Canadian personnel are indeed receiving the training they need to respond to the specific gender dimensions of peace support operations.

The Responsibility to Protect

Canada, and indeed all countries, must use the gender lens in their peace and security activities. Using that lens, DFAIT successfully pressed for the inclusion of a wide range of gender-based crimes against humanity and war crimes in the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, comparable forms of sexual violence, and gender-based persecution.

Canada has been championing the principles of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) for the last few years. Our work on R2P has sought to include a commitment to redefine the way the international community thinks about sovereignty. R2P builds on initiatives that we have already undertaken, as well as frameworks, standards and norms that we have helped to establish, such as the ground-breaking Rome Statute and Resolution 1325. Our work on R2P has also sought to include a threshold for action that includes sexual and gender-based crimes.

At the 2005 UN World Summit, world leaders endorsed the R2P, which advances the principle that the obligation to protect civilians is inherent in state sovereignty and the idea that, in extreme cases when states are unable or unwilling to protect their own populations, the broader community of states must bear the responsibility of doing so. This global endorsement is a major accomplishment for Canada, the UN and humanity.

As we move towards operationalizing R2P, Resolution 1325 should guide us in such initiatives as ensuring proper gender training for military and civilian police, accurate monitoring and reporting on acts of sexual and gender-based violence, and full and equal integration of women in all levels of decisionmaking related to peace and security activities. All of these elements will contribute to the effective implementation of R2P.

We must remember that our implementation of Resolution 1325 cannot occur. in a vacuum. The complementarity of the many initiatives we prioritize within our work at DFAIT, such as the protection of civilians, children and armed conflict, our work on the International Criminal Court, and R2P can help us to make significant contributions to human security.

Further, the input of civil society and other partners in future consultations and dialogues will help the government make better use of Resolution 1325 to work on our priorities as outlined in the IPS.

Development and Resolution 1325

The development chapter of the IPS states that gender equality will be a cross-cutting theme throughout Canada’s development cooperation. To that end, gender equality results will be systematically and explicitly integrated across all programming within each of the five sectors of focus:

  1. promoting good governance;
  2. improving health outcomes;
  3. strengthening basic education;
  4. supporting private sector development; and
  5. advancing environmental sustainability.

In practice this means that from now on, every policy, program and project, including those that address conflict situations, must have an explicit gender dimension. All programming will seek to gather and/or be informed by sex-disaggregated data and be measured according to gender equality results and indicators. In other words, CIDA will be accountable for gender equality results that will be explicitly identified in each of the five sectors of focus. These results will relate to the following three areas:

  1. women as decision makers;
  2. the human rights of women and girls; and
  3. women’s and girls’ access to and control over resources.

Two of these results, not coincidentally, echo two of the four tenets of Resolution 1325. Indeed, the implementation of Resolution 1325 will help CIDA achieve gender equality results and, ultimately, the empowerment of women and girls.

In addition to this effort to mainstream gender into all programming, CIDA will support programming that focuses specifically on promoting gender equality, a sine qua non for sustainable development.

Our work to implement Resolution 1325 falls primarily, but not exclusively, under the good governance rubric, which rests upon five pillars: democratization; human rights; the rule of law; public sector institutions and capacity building; and conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and security sector reform. Our efforts include combating gender-specific human rights violations, such as gender-based violence; promoting women’s equal participation in all levels of decisionmaking; and building the institutional and technical capacity of government and civil society institutions to promote gender equality.

In addition to operationalizing its gender equality commitments externally, CIDA will enhance its efforts to achieve gender equality results at the internal level. Progress in measuring results is dependant on the efforts of all individuals and must be supported by regular institutional practice. Therefore, CIDA will strengthen the internal accountability related to and the reporting and corporate assessment of gender equality results.

Failed and Fragile States

The development chapter of the IPS indicates how CIDA will engage failed and fragile states. To protect effectively the human rights of girls and women in failed and fragile states, it is crucial to address systematically and explicitly gender equality in our programming. Indeed, studies have shown a relationship between the inequitable treatment of women and girls and state fragility.

In October 2005, International Cooperation Minister Aileen Carroll held a roundtable on gender equality at which our domestic and international partners commented on the initiatives laid out in our Strategic Directions Papers to implement our development commitments as outlined in the IPS. One topic of consistent interest that day was CIDA’s future work on gender and security in fragile states.

Working with relevant government departments, CIDA will increase governance programming in areas such as the rule of law, democratic development and the ODA-eligible aspects of security sector reform. This will involve substantial investments in Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, the Palestinian Territories, and the Sudan. It will also involve integrating conflict sensitivity in other CIDA programs, including for some partnership countries that may be at risk of eventual collapse. The period of deterioration from fragile to failed state is a crucial time to act, as human rights generally and the rights of women and girls in particular tend to be ignored, if not outright abused at this stage. CIDA is developing a Framework on Fragile States and will update the framework on Gender and Peacebuilding in 2006.

Many of the toolkits and assessment frameworks available to programmers on CIDA’s peacebuilding website systematically call on program managers and officers to examine how their projects impact on gender relations in post-conflict countries. CIDA and other development partners have developed analytical frameworks that recognize and reinforce the unique contributions of women and men to counteracting state failure, preventing conflict and building sustainable peace.

CIDA and other Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members have acknowledged the importance of engaging stakeholders concerned with GE at key moments in the design, implementation and assessment stages of development programming in fragile states and building the capacity of agents and mechanisms of change at the local, national, regional and international levels.

In 2004, CIDA released a toolkit entitled Gender Equality and Humanitarian Assistance: A Guide to the Issues, which highlights the importance of seeing our humanitarian assistance work from a gender perspective. Taking gender considerations into account in our relief efforts means being more sensitive to survivors’ needs and ensuring that they are fully engaged in the design, delivery, monitoring, and evaluation of humanitarian assistance programs. Focusing on 25 countries means we can take the time to conduct the kind of analysis required to ensure that we understand a society’s conflict drivers and assess gender as an entry point for programming that can contribute to conflict prevention.

Building Strong Partnerships

In keeping with our mandate, much of CIDA’s support for the implementation of Resolution 1325 takes the form of funding local and international partners, and working with multilateral donors. CIDA’s programming encompasses multiple aid delivery mechanisms and support to UN agencies, such as United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), United National High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as well as small, localized funds in country programs and additional funding through Canadian partners.

CIDA will continue to require that partners work towards gender equality results in a systematic and explicit manner and where necessary, we will strengthen partner capacity at country level to achieve gender equality results. We will also continue to work with all of our partners at home and abroad to ensure that Canada remains an international advocate for Resolution 1325.

Defence and Resolution 1325

One of the core elements of Resolution 1325 is its call to Member States to incorporate training on genderrelated issues into national training programs for military and police personnel involved in peace support missions. The mission of the Peace Support Training Centre, located at the Canadian Forces Base in Kingston, Ontario, is to prepare selected personnel to operate safely and effectively in deployed operations. The Centre accomplishes this by providing:

  1. mandated training;
  2. tasked training; and
  3. hosted training.

The Centre provides mandated training to every soldier, sailor or airperson who deploys. Deployments take the form, generally, of contingents or individuals. Individuals are trained in Kingston and contingents are trained at their home location.

Tasked training, such as the military observers course conducted at a peacekeeping centre in Mali in January 2006, is usually conducted for a specific group for a specific reason. The Centre works closely with policy and Military Training Assistance Program staff to determine other locations to conduct this course.

Hosted training occurs in Kingston, and usually covers a subject related to the curriculum taught at the Peace Support Training Centre. The Centre has hosted, for example, one serial of a Law of Armed Conflict course over the last two years.

Within the mandated and tasked training, the Centre’s curriculum covers subjects referred to in Resolution 1325 under the general heading of “Gender Awareness”: the history of human rights; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the instruments, standards and monitoring of human rights; the definition of gender; gender roles; the effects of conflict on women; women’s susceptibility to rape in conflict; slavery and forced prostitution; war widows; refugees and international displaced persons; the changed/changing roles of women in a post-conflict society; Resolution 1325; the intersection of culture and gender; and trafficking in persons.

Before addressing these subjects, participants take a class on personal conduct. The class emphasizes the Canadian Forces policy on fraternization, harassment, sexual impropriety, as well as the code of conduct. The Centre reminds all students about the Canadian Forces ethical principles and obligations that must inform their conduct.

In the military observer course, students take the theory of gender awareness one step further. They must solve several human rights violation scenarios involving female role players. In addition, National Defence provides psychosocial courses to personnel both before and after deployment.

The Centre is cooperating with the Command Effectiveness and Behaviour Section of Defence Research and Development Canada in Toronto on a study on moral and ethical decision making in human rights violation situations. In addition to providing valuable information to Defence Research and Development Canada, the Centre is studying how these training scenarios influence military observers’ decision making and behaviour, in order to improve how it teaches these skills, including those related to gender awareness.

Through the Military Training Assistance Program, the Centre also provides training on gender awareness to foreign military officials. About 25 % of the students in the military observers course are from outside of Canada. They receive the same training as Canadians, and therefore are exposed to the same material, including the personal conduct lecture.

Further, instructor exchanges occur between the Centre and other training centres around the world. Currently, up to 12 instructors spend one month at the Centre, which in turn sends 6-8 instructors to training centres abroad. This exchange allows Canada to introduce its curriculum and teaching methods about gender awareness to other countries.

Discussion and Recommendations

  • Gender equality and protection are, at best, often taken for granted or, at worst, overlooked in Canadian foreign policy. Gender equality should not only be a cross-cutting issue, but, as in the case of CIDA, it should be a specific, properly resourced policy priority. Addressing gender inequalities and barriers to women’s and girls’ empowerment should be a key component of the NAP. The Government of Canada should go beyond the parameters of Resolution 1325 and ensure that it is addressing gender equality writ large in its security policy and programming work. Gender equality should, for instance, feature prominently in Canadian contributions to domestic and international debates on security sector reform, failed and fragile states, R2P, and small arms.
  • It will be important to integrate gender into the operationalization of R2P. The international community will have to think about:
    • How R2P can be used to prevent conflict/relapse in light of the increased presence of private security forces in conflict situations;
    • The pace at which to operationalize the concept in order to achieve positive results; and
    • The content that will flesh out the principles (e.g. the World Summit Outcome Document of September 2005 includes war crimes, as defined in the Rome Statute, as a threshold for international intervention).
  • The “3D approach” (diplomacy, development and defence) to the implementation of Resolution 1325 must be truly 3D. The IPS fails to address gender in any meaningful way in both its Diplomacy and Defence chapters.
  • The government should assess how the GTI is being used by DND and whether the available gender training is sufficient and adequate. Questions about the training include whether a three-day course is sufficient, whether students ever cover the entire GTI curriculum (they tend not to), and whether the NAP should re-define gender training and include directives to ensure effective gender training in all mission budgets.
  • Canada should build its civilian capacity to react, intervene and rebuild in conflict-affected countries. Canada Corps, established by the Government of Canada in 2004 to strengthen Canada’s contribution to human rights, democracy and good governance at the international level, can serve as an additional mechanism to promote gender equality.
  • Canada should work to establish a common understanding and appreciation at the international level of the significance of gender-based violence in the conflict continuum and of women’s perspectives on and definitions of security. With respect to security sector reform, for instance, Canada should press the international community to discuss gender-based violence and gender equality to understand how gender roles can contribute to the perpetuation of a culture of violence and insecurity, as well as facilitate the full participation of women in all aspects of peace processes and in debates about security sector reform.
  • Resolution 1325 should not be seen in a vacuum; it builds on several resolutions, conventions, and key documents that relate to the promotion and protection of women’s and girls’ rights and gender equality. Further, Canada must integrate gender into dialogue in all forums and debates in order to reach our peace and security objectives.
  • A testament to Canadian and international commitment to Resolution 1325 would be a greater allocation of financial and human resources to the field of women, peace and security.
  • Although there is a long road ahead, gender considerations feature in policies and debates far more frequently, at least in Canada, than they did even a decade ago. Given this increased level of gender visibility, we need now to be more specific about our commitments and goals.
  • International security discussions often look at issues at the macro level. Canada’s Human Security Program provides a space to look more closely at how security and gender are linked.
  • There exist a number of significant challenges to the Resolution 1325 agenda:
    • The Security Council has not been very concerted in its efforts to push member states to implement its thematic resolutions, including Resolution 1325;
    • While many actors recognize that women’s contributions to peacebuilding, for instance, can make important differences in the lives of women and by extension their communities, it is a constant struggle to maintain meaningful international and domestic focus on the implementation of Resolution 1325, which calls for, among other things, the inclusion, and active and meaningful participation of women in all levels of peacebuilding; and
    • With regards to the challenges to bring a gender perspective to discussions on security sector reform, for instance, it is important to remember that gender issues tend to come up in countryspecific debates at the UN rather than in thematic discussions and to be informed and apply pressure strategically.

Canada’s Implementation of Resolution 1325 in the Haitian Context

The discussion during the second panel afforded participants an opportunity to learn how Canada is implementing Resolution 1325 in a specific country, Haiti, and how a unique set of challenges is complicating efforts to promote and protect women’s human rights and further the goals of Resolution 1325. Participant views included 1) a need to interpret the resolution for the specific circumstances in Haiti; 2) a need to help women to participate and be heard by the various national and international actors on the ground; and 3) a need to better understand the challenges posed by the intersection of extreme poverty, political crises and regular natural disasters.

The Diplomacy Perspective

Haiti is a good opportunity for Canada to make good on its IPS commitments and show leadership on a failed state. Canada’s good reputation and past engagement in Haiti give us access to and a participatory role in current initiatives there. Within DFAIT, the Stabilisation and Reconstruction Taskforce (START) addresses the challenges posed by failed and fragile states, including Haiti. At the UN in New York, Canada is a member of the Friends of Haiti Group, which became active when the situation began to deteriorate around former president Aristide’s departure.

In addition, Canada worked with Security Council members and a large group of other donors to develop and implement a reconstruction plan for Haiti, as well as to ensure that MINUSTAH (UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti) would be an integrated mission. While integrating security and development is a challenge, as the UN has been set up to operate in thematic silos, restoring the conditions for development is key. Security is an important item in the strategy to help Haiti recover. Moreover, the state’s governing capacities must be rebuilt and sustained to tackle some of the country’s many challenges, including the highest HIV/AIDS rate outside of sub-Saharan Africa, endemic domestic and sexual violence, and the use of rape by the national police and criminal/political groups as a tool for intimidation and reprisal for association with armed groups, for instance.

The implementation of Resolution 1325 is still ad hoc. This is not because Resolution 1325 lacks support in principle, but because there are no systematic gender discussions taking place in the early stages of intervention planning. The NAP should advise on how Canadian policy makers, including those at the Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN in New York, can address this challenge. It is harder for Canada to ensure that there is satisfactory language on gender in peacekeeping mission mandates when we are not on the Security Council and must depend on lobbying like-minded and other countries.

Given that gender considerations are still not a security priority in practice, it is important to be aware of and seize upon windows of opportunity. For example, when the UN decided to send an assessment mission to precede MINUSTAH, various actors, including Canada, pushed for there to be a human rights and a gender component in the assessment, as well as in the MINUSTAH mandate (which states that, inter alia, in its reform process, the Haitian police must begin to take responsibility for addressing sexual and gender-based violence). This was the first time gender featured in the mandate of such a mission.

The inclusion of gender considerations in mandates (ref: Operative Paragraph 16 of Resolution 1325) depends on the concerted advocacy efforts of diplomats at the UN. It is important to note that if dedicated actors do not fight to include gender language in the resolutions and mandates related to a security initiative, given competing priorities, it is next to impossible to mainstream gender once the initiative is under way. Even if there is a gender advisor, s/he will be hard pressed to keep gender issues on the agenda if they are not explicitly mentioned in a mission mandate. Further, in order to ensure a strong gender component in a mission, it is key to include a gender specialist in its staff. Without a gender advisor at a senior level, gender issues do not necessarily feature in peace and security discussions.

Fifteen percent of the police officers sent by Canada to Haiti are women. The RCMP is working to increase that amount to 25%. Although the UN has been very good at breaking down the barriers to women’s participation in peacekeeping, there are sometimes too few women who qualify for peacekeeping given UN requirements.

Further, when women peacekeepers and/or police officers do deploy to the field, they can be mistreated by colleagues from countries where gender roles are more rigid and women are not welcome in military and/or policing contexts.

While we have made some good efforts, we must think about how to be more systematic in our implementation of Resolution 1325 in the Haitian context.

The National Defence Perspective

Since the beginning of its mandate, MINUSTAH has made some progress with respect to governance. The upcoming elections may not, however, change Haiti’s situation substantially. Long-term stability will depend in part on improvements in the economy and the security of the people. In Haiti, violence is endemic and criminal in nature, unlike violence usually seen in civil conflicts.

DFAIT struck an interdepartmental taskforce when the situation in Haiti began to disintegrate in January and February 2004. The peacekeeping office at DND provided input as to what the Canadian Forces could and could not do on the ground and how our Defence contribution to Canada’s response was taking shape.

The reconnaissance team that Canada sent to Haiti included participants from DND, DFAIT, CIDA and the RCMP, and the team addressed gender concerns in their work.

The initial Canadian Forces response was robust, but brief. The Canadian Forces currently have four officers working with MINUSTAH in situ. CIDA, in contrast and by the nature of its mandate, has responded with longer term initiatives.

In keeping with Resolution 1325 on training for peacekeeping personnel, all staff sent to Haiti have taken training modules that cover gender issues, such as human trafficking. To ensure that courses are effective, students evaluate their value and effectiveness. The feedback to date has been positive. In addition, DND has a working-level officer responsible for the policy aspects of Resolution 1325.

In the spirit of Operative Paragraph 4 of Resolution 1325 on women’s contributions to field-based UN operations, women are involved at all levels of the Canadian Forces and have worked in Haiti, Somalia, Rwanda, Pakistan, etc. There is a dedicated National Defence officer responsible for gender issues within the Canadian Forces. The Canadian Forces is removing all gender barriers and getting more women in uniform. We are leaders in this regard. While women represented 10% of the Forces in 1989, they now represent almost 17% of staff. While this number admittedly leaves room for improvement, it is positive considering the difficulty in recruiting even men given the nature of the work.

Discussion and Recommendations

  • Haiti is unique in that, inter alia, there are strong connections between organized crime and private security forces; criminal and gang violence is the predominant threat to security; maternal and child mortality are very high; and human trafficking and prostitution are considerable problems. Local women’s groups do not see how Resolution 1325 applies to their circumstances. We need to be able to interpret Resolution 1325 for their context.
  • Haitian women are concerned about the widespread use of violence against women as a tool of oppression and terror. The societal impact of violence against women is great especially given that 40% of families are female-headed, that Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas, and that Haitians lack even basic water and sanitation. In order to make use of Resolution 1325 in the Haitian context, we must bring visibility to the issue of violence against women there.
  • Not only is there a recurring political crisis in this abjectly poor country, but there are also environmental and ecological disasters to contend with. We must study and respond to Haiti’s particular combination of crises and challenges. We have to talk about women’s rights and security in terms of political crises and natural disasters.
  • It is important to include women in decision-making processes in and outside of MINUSTAH. One step to ensure that all women’s groups have access to decision-making processes is to translate key documents into French and Creole.
  • There is a considerable, autonomous, and proud women’s movement in Haiti, but it lacks the resources necessary to address the multiple challenges of the Haitian context and feels that it is not being consulted. When women in Haiti are invited to participate in consultations, they are not provided with an agenda, background documents, etc. They are invited simply in order that decision makers can say that women were included in their proceedings. This, however, is not meaningful participation. Similarly, when women’s groups are invited to speak with the government, they are not given sufficient time to work together to create an agenda and reach consensus on their messages.
  • International recommendations for action go unheeded. The World March of Women made concrete recommendations to address sexual and gender-based violence in Haiti, but they were not taken into account in the planning for international intervention in Haiti.
  • Canada must better understand all the details, and identify and work with all relevant actors in order to help address the country’s recurrent problems. The focus should not necessarily be only how international actors coordinate their efforts on the ground, but how we all work with Haitian groups to address women’s and civil society’s concerns.

International Perspectives on Strategies to Implement Resolution 1325

The Symposium opened the floor to representatives from countries working to effectively implement Resolution 1325. Representatives from the Embassies of Denmark, Sweden, and Australia shared their views on developing national strategies, their country’s upcoming plans, as well as some implementation challenges.

The following are different approaches to advancing the implementation of Resolution 1325 and ensuring political buy-in at the highest levels:

  • Approval of NAP by Parliament.
  • Establishment of a government committee made up of representatives from the foreign affairs ministry, the international development agency, the national defence ministry, and the Prime Minister’s office to develop and oversee the implementation process of the NAP.

The Danish Perspective

Denmark’s Action Plan, approved by Parliament in 2005, lays out domestic and international goals for the implementation of Resolution 1325.

At the domestic level, Denmark is working to, inter alia: achieve gender balance in its defence forces; focus on redefining women’s roles in the defence forces; and incorporate gender perspectives in military training.

In terms of international efforts at the field level, Denmark seeks to utilize development assistance programs to implement Resolution 1325; ensure the protection of civilians, including local girls, where Danish troops are deployed; and increase women’s participation in peace building and reconstruction.

With respect to diplomacy at the international level, Denmark has a unique platform to push Resolution 1325 in that it sits on the Security Council – Denmark will aim to integrate gender into the mandates of potential peace support operations in 2006. Denmark will further challenge the UN and member states to safeguard women’s rights in political processes; ensure that women’s and girl’s rights are systematically taken into consideration in decision-making processes; ensure that women are able to participate equally in post-conflict recovery and reconstruction; ensure the protection of women from sexual violence and push for the prosecution of perpetrators of sexual violence; and encourage the inclusion of women in political/ legislative processes.

Denmark aims to continue to raise awareness among member states, build on Millennium Summit recommendations, and consider women’s role in the new Peacebuilding Commission.

The Australian Perspective

Australia’s work on Resolution 1325 includes:

  • Informing and educating the public on Resolution 1325 (through, inter alia, the funding of the WILPF website);
  • Seeking to involve women in peacekeeping (female peacekeepers are deployed where possible) and truce monitoring (female foreign service officers are seconded to truce monitoring missions, when possible);
  • Incorporating gender perspectives in peace processes and Australian humanitarian and development programs, especially in the Asia Pacific region;
  • Ensuring that Australian military personnel are aware of the objectives of Resolution 1325 (the Australian Defence Force Peacekeeping Training Centre conducts gender training).

Reducing Conflict in the Asia-Pacific Region

  • Australia’s work in the Solomon Islands focuses on supporting peace and women’s organizations; assisting isolated communities with women’s resource centers; supporting income generation projects; and creating a national peace council and indigenous council, in which women are active participants.
  • In East Timor, Australia supports work on community empowerment; training programs; civic education; human rights and empowerment; and reconciliation.
  • Since 1997, the Australian aid program has contributed over $200 million to support Bougainville’s peace process and post-conflict reconstruction. Australian development assistance is currently focused on helping Bougainville create a self-reliant, autonomous government that can provide stability and broadbased economic growth. Women have been involved in conflict resolution; have attended peace talks; and participated in a women’s forum in 2003.

The Swedish Perspective

To create a systematic and focused approach, it was decided in 2004 that a committee made up of representatives from the foreign ministry, the Swedish International Development Agency, the defence ministry, and the Prime Minister’s office would oversee the implementation process. The committee is currently developing a national action plan.

At the internal level, the Swedish foreign ministry works to raise awareness of gender, peace and security issues, particularly among their own embassies, in particular in conflict areas; and encourage embassies to proactively create local Resolution 1325 networks.

At the regional level Sweden promotes Resolution 1325 in crisis management within the European Union; works to integrate Resolution 1325 into the EU Common Security and Defence Policy; advocates for more balanced representation in the offices of Special Representatives; and presses for the inclusion of Resolution 1325 in all OSCE field activities. The code of conduct for EU peace operations, which addresses gender concerns, has been approved by all countries.

At the global level, Sweden advocates for gender to be mainstreamed into programming; the United Nations General Assembly to better understand the roles and needs of women in the conflict continuum; and gender perspectives to be fully integrated in future Peacebuilding Commission reports.

Gaps and Challenges

Sweden commissioned a study on its implementation of Resolution 1325 to identify gaps and challenges:

  • Ensuring the participation of gender specialists and gender coaches in peace talks;
  • Gender specialists becoming marginalized in any given institution;
  • Achieving a gender balance in the recruitment of women for international military missions (and ensuring that women are. not over-represented in support functions); and
  • Designing Sweden’s own mandates to be gender sensitive;
  • Developing better and more quantifiable gender targets;
  • Gathering gender-disaggregated data;
  • Reinforce gender training;
  • Maintaining current levels of political support (the Swedish foreign minister has given her officials are strong mandate to implement Resolution 1325);
  • Harmonizing the different codes of conduct for national and EU missions;
  • Involving more men in gender, peace and security work.