German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (2nd L, Front), whose country holds the United Nations Security Council presidency for the month of April, addresses a Security Council open debate on women in peacekeeping at the UN headquarters in New York, on April 11, 2019. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for more women in peacekeeping missions, saying they make mandates more effective. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)
UNITED NATIONS, April 11 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for more women in peacekeeping missions, saying they make mandates more effective.
"A key priority is to increase the number of women in peacekeeping -- both civilian and uniformed, which is where we need the most improvement. This is not just a question of numbers, but also of our effectiveness in fulfilling our mandates," he told a Security Council debate on women in peacekeeping.
Evidence shows that greater numbers of women peacekeepers leads to protection responses that are more credible and meet the needs of all members of local communities, he said.
Women in patrol units are better able to reach both men and women in areas of operation, accessing critical intelligence and providing a more holistic view of the security challenges.
The presence of women at checkpoints has been credited with promoting a less confrontational atmosphere, and more women in troop contingents is credited with higher reporting of sexual and gender-based violence and lower incidences of sexual exploitation and abuse, said Guterres.
Progress has been made in women's participation in peacekeeping, he said.
The number of women military observers and staff officers has almost doubled since the first Peacekeeping Ministerial in November 2017, with women now representing more than 13 percent of deployed personnel, he said.
Up to 27 countries, which had previously not deployed any women at all, now do so since the first ministerial meeting. And 100 more countries have deployed more than 15 percent of women military observers and staff officers, bringing the total number of countries to 48.
Among police personnel, the representation of women has increased by more than 3 percent since the 2017 ministerial. Now 9 percent of personnel in formed police units are women, said Guterres.
But he noted that more efforts are needed to meet UN targets for women's representation by 2028, which range from 15 percent to 35 percent for different categories, including military, police and justice and corrections personnel.
Guterres asked member states to increase nomination of women officers for peacekeeping and to focus particularly on women participation in battalions and formed police units -- the hardcore tasks of peacekeeping.
He asked for political will and persistence toward those targets.