Following an in-country training on gender mainstreaming small arms control held in Nagarkot, Nepal from 6 to 8 April, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific(UNRCPD) visited the UN Peacekeeping Training School (UNPTS) of the Armed Police Forces (APF) in Kakani, Nuwakot, at the invitation of its Gender Focal Point and workshop participant Deputy Superintendent (DP) Ms. Rajani Thapa.
During the visit, Deputy Superintendent Pradeep Rai, head of training programmes, briefed UNRCPD representatives on how UNPTS selects and prepares police units and individual police officers for their deployment as peacekeepers across the world.
The visit was followed by a meeting with eighty peacekeepers about to be deployed to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) and a series of brief presentations by UNRCPD’s Regional Project Coordinator Ms. Ida Scarpino and Associate Political Affairs Officer Ms. Ji Yeon Rho on the work of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and its Regional Centre in Asia-Pacific.
Peacekeeping operations are increasingly required to function in complex environments characterized by political instability, armed actors and a prevalence of weapons, ammunition, and explosives. Ms. Scarpino provided an overview of relevant projects carried out by the Centre, such as the In-Country Training Programme on gender mainstreaming small arms control, and informed participants about available guidance such as the Modular Small-arms-control Implementation Compendium (MOSAIC), including relevant modules for peacekeeping operations. Ms. Rho emphasized the importance of applying a gender lens in peacekeeping operations in order to minimize the vulnerability of communities, groups or individuals to internal or external threats and to avoid reinforcing or generating gender inequalities. Translated copies of the MOSAIC modules on youth, gender and small arms control were made available to the soon to be deployed peacekeepers.
The short presentation concluded with a question-and-answer session on the links between gender and small arms, covering, inter alia, the ways in which women, girls, boys and men are impacted differently by armed violence, with men accounting for the majority of fire-arms victims, while women are disproportionally exposed to gender-based violence committed with small arms; and how so-called “gender norms” drive the demand for and misuse of small arms and are a reason for the limited participation of women in operational roles in the international security and disarmament field. Finally, UNRCPD explained how gender-related frameworks such as the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda and international small-arms related instruments, such as the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons Control (UN PoA), are increasingly converging. For example, at the Seventh Biennial Meeting of States to the PoA, States adopted an outcome document with progressive language on gender considerations. Additionally, various Member States are increasingly integrating small arms related issues into their WPS national action plans and legislation to prevent gender-based violence.