On 13 November, the Peace Support Operations Training Centre (PSOTC) in cooperation with EUFOR opened a conference on Gender in the Security Sector of BIH. The aim of the conference, which will take place over two days, is to ‘Strengthen the Gender Perspective within the security sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina’. The conference was opened with statements from Mr. Zekerijah Osmić, BIH Minister of Defense, Major General Dieter Heidecker, the Commander of EUFOR, Major General Anto Jeleč, Chief of the Joint Staff of the AF BiH and Lieutenant Colonel Rob Tomlinson MBE the UK Defense Attaché.

General Heidecker said “This Conference is not the first of its kind and it will not be the last. I am convinced however, that this Conference is an important step for the security sector of Bosnia and Herzegovina, along the road towards increased efficiencies that diversity will bring.”

The conference is a joint venture between the PSOTC and EUFOR with financial assistance from the Norwegian Embassy in Sarajevo. The aim of this conference is to provide more information to the appointed Gender Focal Points about the UNSCR Women, Peace and Security (1325, 1820, 1888, 1889 and 1960), BiH National Action Plan, the importance of their appointment and activities expected from them as well as understanding how to harmonize the commitments arising from this appointment with commitments Gender Focal Points face in their regular full time posts.

The Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted an Action Plan for the Implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) on 27th July 2010. Drafting of this Action Plan, was completed by a Working Group that included representatives of: BiH Ministry of Security, BiH Ministry of Defence, BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs, BiH Ministry of Finance, Gender Center of Federation of BiH, Gender Center of Republika Srpska, Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Republika Srpska, BiH Demining Center, BiH Gender Equality Agency and Nongovernmental organizations.

The Action Plan for the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 contains eight (8) goals, including goal two (2) 'Increasing the number of women in the military and police forces'. This goal prescribes the obligation for the BiH Ministry of Defence, BiH Ministry of Security, entity Ministeries of Interior and Brcko District Police to appoint Gender Focal Points in the military and police institutions and structures.

In 2011 the BiH Ministry of Defence and Joint Staff appointed Gender Focal Points at their respective institutions and in 2012 this was increased to the Battalion Level within the Armed Forces structure.
The conference includes participants from the BiH Armed Forces, Ministries of Internal Affairs, Police agencies and BIH Ministry of Security Gender Focal Points. It has been initiated by HQ EUFOR in close cooperation with the Peace Support Operations Training Centre (PSOTC) in order to provide a floor for the Gender Focal Points in the Security Sector of Bosnia and Herzegovina to increase their awareness and gain a conceptual understanding of gender issues in the security sector.

The aim is to help ensure a greater understanding of the different needs of the female and male population, the integration, retention and professional development of women in the security sector as well as stronger participation of women in decision-making positions and gender sensitive change in the organizational culture of the security sector within BiH.
EUFOR, within its commitment towards the implementation of UNSCR 1325, strongly supports any capacity building that will lead to gender related improvements particularly in the fields of human resources, leadership and the planning and conducting of activities in the area of security.

"If peace and recovery are to be sustainable, women must be empowered, their voices must be heard and they must be included as active participants in peace negotiations and peace building”. - Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator

Supporting Gender Focal Points in the Security Sector and in the Ministry of Defence will help establish strong and effective Gender Mainstreaming, which will help to improve the human resource policies regarding the recruitment and retention of women in the Armed Forces.

COM EUFOR, Major General Dieter Heidecker stated: “I am very determined to undertake, with the men and women under my command and with you (the Gender Focal Points), steps towards ensuring a better understanding of all expectations and challenges in the field of gender in the security sector.”

Chief Public Affairs: Lt Col Otmar Lindner
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Spokesperson: Lt Cdr Paul Simon Gill
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