Women, Peace and Security

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As part of their focus on Women, Peace and Security, the Latvian Transatlantic Organisation (LATO) launched its first initiative at the Rīga Conference 2020 with a discussion. In 2021, a series of different initiatives on behalf of LATO have been established including upcoming publications, a new mentoring program and a documentary film.

 

The promise of the Women, Peace and Security agenda set by the United Nations provides a framework for sustainable peace amidst a global crisis, and it is powered by a fearless women’s movement that knows few bounds. But, while the agenda has strong support from governments all over the world, that support hasn’t plugged the persistent implementation gaps. This is also the case in Latvia and the Baltics.

 

The general public’s knowledge on the importance, leadership and influence of women enlisted within the defence, military and security sectors is quite minimal and their role in defence is often overlooked. Therefore, LATO has been working on developing a series of initiatives with an overarching aim of raising awareness and understanding on women in the defence, military and security sectors.

 

The aim of the LATO initiatives on Women, Peace and Security are threefold:

1. To foster the aims of LATO and inform the public on issues related to defence, military and security aspects influenced by women. This is to be achieved through public discussion and informative campaigns such as the planned documentary film.

2. To provide support for young professional women in establishing their roots and encouraging their careers in the defence, military and security sectors.

3. To generate academic discourse at a high level on issues related to Women, Peace and Security and to provide recommendations of a fully inclusive nature for policy development related to women professionals.

“Women, Peace and Security” is integrated into the Rīga Conference – a security and foreign policy forum organised jointly by LATO, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia and the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia. In 2020 and 2021, side events of the Rīga Conference were dedicated to this theme.

Women, Peace and Security

Panel Participants:

Jacqueline O’Neill, Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security

Clare Hutchinson, Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security at NATO

Kaspars Ozoliņš, Head of Security Policy and Intl. Organisations Directorate

Arvo Anton, Deputy Coordinator for UN  Security Council Affairs

Moderator:

Prof Žaneta Ozoliņa, Chairwoman of the Board of Latvian Transatlantic Organisation

 

NATO recognises the disproportionate impact that conflict has on women and girls, the vital roles women play in peace and security, and the importance of incorporating gender perspectives in all that the Alliance does. In 2018, NATO Heads of State and Government endorsed the revised Women, Peace and Security (WPS) policy that introduced the principles of integration, inclusiveness and integrity.

The Canadian government has demonstrated strong leadership and accumulated a lot of experience while implementing the policy in practice. Their experience is highly relevant for other nations starting out on policy introduction. Some of the most important issues are of a very practical nature in preparing for some of the already identified main challenges and on how to overcome them.

Therefore, within the framework of the Riga Conference 2020, the aim of the event is to kick-off this important discussion in Latvia while taking Canada as a committed role model and example of good practice.

Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Resilience Building: What is the Role of Women?

Panel Participants:

H.E. Kevin Rex, Ambassador of Canada to Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia

Dr Sarai Aharoni, Lecturer at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Lena Lastivka-Mokrenchuk, Press Officer, Operational Command “North”, Ukraine

Moderator:

Prof Žaneta Ozoliņa, Chairwoman of the Board of Latvian Transatlantic Organisation

 

The present international system could be characterized as a conflict and post-conflict dominated world. Indeed, according to the Global Peace Index 2021 the average level of globalpeacefulness has deteriorated. This can especially be said about societies which suffered from different forms and levels of violence, destruction, torture, atrocities, and deprivations. The participation of all groups and individuals in the restoration of stability and security is increasing. Women in conflicts are participants as well as victims. It can be identified that the leadership of women in post-conflict reconstruction plays a crucial role to economic, political, and social development. However, this common knowledge in practice has been neglected. What are the accumulated practices of women’s participation in conflict zones such as Eastern Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan? What are the main challenges and risks? What main steps should be taken to support not only the recognition of their role but rather a practical empowerment of women in conflict and post-conflict zones to build increasingly peaceful, democratic, and economically developed and sustainable societies?