Balkans Conference Highlights Women and Security

Date: Friday, October 14, 2011

The President of the Republic of Serbia, H.E. Boris Tadic, in September opened a regional forum on security in the Balkans that highlighted the role of women leaders.

“The Balkans and Global Security: What Do We Have in Common, What Sets Us Apart? brought together 70 participants, including high-level national politicians, influential foreign policy experts and security leaders to discuss issues related to conflict transformation, state-building process and security cooperation.

Inspired by the Summit of EU Women Ministers and activities in the Balkans to implement UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, the forum devoted two panel discussions to gender equality issues. One looked at integrating gender in security sector reform. It touched on lessons learned in implementing national action plans for resolution 1325, along with practical examples of gender integration.

A second panel brought together senior women officials to discuss the challenges they face in the security sector and elements of success for mainstreaming gender in security governance. The speakers included H.E. Ljubica Jelusic, the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia; Stefanie Babst, Deputy Assistant Secretary-General for Public Diplomacy at NATO Headquarters; and Tanja Miscevic, State Secretary, Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia.

The conference was also the venue for the Republic of Serbia and UN Women to formalize their partnership in implementing the National Action Plan on resolution 1325. State Secretary Tanja Miscevic and Erika Kvapilova, Regional Programme Director of UN Women, signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing to enhanced cooperation.

Through a regional programme, UN Women is helping key security actors and women's groups develop capacities to implement and monitor how commitments under resolution 1325 — as well as related Security Council resolutions 1820, 1888 and 1889 — have been translated into national laws, policies and action plans.

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