Women are increasingly being drafted as peace negotiators and facilitators in peace processes in many conflict situations, yet the improvement has not been remarkable in many cases, speakers told a virtual programme on Sunday.
The event styled "Championing women's role, achievements and way forward" jointly organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UN Women to mark the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, while addressing the programme as chief guest, said globally there has been some progress in the implementation of Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda but as the latest report of the UN Secretary General on the implementation of WPS agenda has revealed the progress has been "too slow, too narrow, with setbacks and easy to reverse".
"Representation of women in peacemaking and peacekeeping has remained very low – 6% in mediation, 6% as signatories, 13% in negotiations. As of 2020, 5.4% of UN military personnel and 15.1% of police personnel are women," Momen said.
He focused on the issue that financing continues to remain a challenge.
"It is also disheartening that bilateral aid for women's empowerment has decreased from 5.3% to 4.5%," he mentioned.
The foreign minister said, "We must reverse this depressing trend and redouble our efforts to ensure women's full, equal and meaningful participation in the peace process.
"However, there is clearly much more to be done, not only in enhancing the number of women peacekeepers on the ground, but also women in leadership positions, in peacekeeping as well as in peace negotiations."
"We have already taken measures to deploy more women officers to fulfill the UN-set target of 15% staff officers/military observers in UN peacekeeping missions," he added.
Lieutenant General Waker-Uz-Zaman, principal staff officer of the Armed Forces Division mentioned that Bangladesh is playing a pioneering role in women's participation in peacekeeping.
According to the foreign ministry, Bangladesh has sent over 1,900 women in various peacekeeping missions including difficult ones so far. Currently, 139 women military officers and 183 women police officers are serving as blue helmets.
Bangladesh played a pivotal role in the adoption of the historic UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The landmark resolution subsequently shaped the "Women Peace and Security agenda" of the UN system.
For the last 20 years, the resolution has guided endeavour to incorporate the role and participation of women in nation-building efforts, development and peace process across the globe.
Kazi Rowshan Akhter, senior secretary to the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs; Masud Bin Momen, foreign secretary; Mia Seppo, UN resident coordinator; and ambassadors and high commissioners of different countries, among others, also spoke at the event.