Making efforts to increase women’s participation in UN peacekeeping missions

In the future, the Vietnamese Ministry of Defencewill continue to maintain and consider the possibility of further increasing the proportion of women participants, said an official.

Deputy Minister of Defence, Sen. Lieut. Gen. Hoang Xuan Chien (R) speaks at the conference. Photo: VNA

An online conference discussing the role of women in UN peacekeeping operations was held by the Ministry of Defence and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Vietnam on November 26, according to VNA.

Co-chaired by Deputy Minister of Defence, Sen. Lieut. Gen. Hoang Xuan Chien, and Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Vietnam, the conference aimed to reaffirm Vietnam’s strong commitment to issues relating to women, peace, and security, as well as UN peacekeeping activities, and to demonstrate the country’s active and proactive efforts in taking on the dual roles of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and the ASEAN Chair in 2020.

In his speech, Chien emphasised that member nations of the UN in general and Southeast Asian countries in particular are making efforts to sustainably increase women’s participation in UN peacekeeping missions.

The country officially joined UN peacekeeping missions in 2014. In January 2018, it sent its first female officer to participate in the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, as a tactical staff officer. In October 2018, it successfully deployed the first Level-Two field hospital to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Bentiu, with 10 female officers out of the 63 officers, medical staff, and doctors.

Female Vietnamese officers are valued by the UN for their professionalism, ability to complete tasks in UN peacekeeping missions, and diplomacy.

In the future, the ministry will continue to maintain and consider the possibility of further increasing the proportion of women participants, Chien said.

Discussions at the conference focused on the role played by women in UN peacekeeping activities in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, and the disease prevention work at UN peacekeeping missions. They also proposed international initiatives to further promote the role of women in UN peacekeeping operations.

As a preparatory activity for another conference on the role of women in UN peacekeeping activities, to be held in Vietnam next year, this conference offered a chance to strengthen the exchange of expertise and experience between countries regarding the role of women and the response to COVID-19.

It also contributes to strengthening cooperation between countries, the role and position of Vietnam in the region and the world in UN peacekeeping operations, and the fight against COVID-19.

Since the establishment of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1325 in 2000, the United Nations (UN) has strived to increase the participation of women in UN peace operations. Both policy makers and researchers have stressed the importance of increasing the participation of women to improve the quality and efficiency of UN peacekeeping. Still, the process of including more uniformed female personnel is rather slow. In December 2018, only 4.2 percent of the almost 79.400 military personnel deployed to UN peace operations were women.

In its six years of involvement in UN peacekeeping operations, Vietnam has sent 53 military officers to South Sudan and the Central African Republic, including four women.

There have also been 126 Vietnamese officers and doctors joining Field Hospitals No 1 and 2 in South Sudan, including 20 women.

Tu Pham