Global Affairs Canada, through its project, “Elsie Initiative,” has begun a two-day workshop in Accra with the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) to brainstorm on ways to increase women’s participation in peace support operations.
Officers from all the three arms of the GAF – Army, Navy and Airforce – participated in the workshop under the Elsie Initiative, which focuses on Gender Equality and Security Sector Governance.
Brigadier General Elvis K. Mends, the Director General, International Peace Support Operations, said the workshop would situate strategic, operational and tactical level institutional planning within the framework of democratic security governance.
This will ensure that changes at the institutional level targeted the whole institution and should be long-term and sustainable.
Brig. Gen. Mends said it was important that stakeholders understood some of the positive and negative outcomes of the Initiative to avoid it becoming counterproductive after its implementation.
“I believe this purpose will be achieved to a large extent by the end of this workshop,” he said.
The Initiative was not all about women but its implementation would recognise the role men played in peace support operations, he said.
He commended the Canadian High Commission, Geneva Centre for Gender Equality and Security Governance (DCAF), the Elsie Initiative Implementation Committee, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, and the GAF for their roles towards the implementation of the Initiative.
Madam Daine Tisdall, the Senior Liaison Officer, Canadian High Commission, said the world was saddled with many security and life-threatening issues, which called for international support.
She said the rise in terrorist activities, wars, natural disasters and climate change called for United Nations’ security interventions to help countries deal with such challenges.
Madam Tisdall said the involvement of women in such operations was needful and that Canada and Ghana were working together to catalyze transformational institutional change as a means to increasing women’s participation in peace support operations.
She said the Initiative would support the identification of institutional barriers that impeded women’s meaningful participation and help to develop priorities and an action plan for transformational change.
The Canadian Armed Forces would, therefore, provide technical assistance and training for the GAF to meet those identified needs, she said.
Madam Heather Huhtanen of the DCAF, and a Facilitator, took the participants through the; “Security for the State and the People,” which discussed justice and security sector governance, relationship between the state and human security, and representation of women to make their deployment in peacekeeping operations more sustainable.