Academic journal article Prism : a Journal of the Center for Complex Operations

Brazil and UN Security Council Resolution 1325: Progress and Challenges of the Implementation Process 1

Academic journal article Prism : a Journal of the Center for Complex Operations

Brazil and UN Security Council Resolution 1325: Progress and Challenges of the Implementation Process 1

Article excerpt

Emerging powers have recently become significant players in promoting peace and stability in unstable settings affected by conflict and violence. These countries have the experience, capabilities, and legitimacy to support counterpart governments seeking to build security and safety in their societies. What is more, the High Level independent Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (HLP) has emphasized the need for peace operations to become more people centered. This is an important capability that emerging powers-some of the top troop-contributors to UN peacekeeping missions-have arguably developed in the last few years.2 Peacekeepers from many emerging countries, including Brazil, have been widely recognized for their professional conduct and empathy-which many attribute to their own experiences with economic, social, and political crises.

As the UN and its member states increasingly recognize that peace and stability depend on inclusivity and gender equality, are troop contributors from the Global South adequately prepared to implement gender-sensitive approaches to international peace and security? The UN Security Council has adopted seven resolutions on women, peace, and security (WPS), of which the most sweeping is UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, adopted in 2000.3 Together these set out a gender equality strategy that attempts to ensure that the particular needs of both women and men will be carefully considered in all UN actions in the field. But the UN faces challenges in disseminating these norms among its members and in its peace operations. Gender equality in UN peacekeeping remains a long way off. And a central challenge emerges when member states responsible for carrying out the UN's mandate in the field do not adapt their own national policies on gender norms.

A number of emerging powers have already taken steps to support the UN in this endeavor, and Brazil's achievements and challenges offer valuable insights in this regard. The Brazilian Armed Forces have incorporated some gender approaches in their peacekeeping activities, particularly in Haiti. Brazil is also implementing an array of international cooperation projects with fragile and violenceaffected countries. In settings as varied as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea Bissau, and Haiti, Brazil has worked to promote access to justice and enhance national capabilities to prevent and reduce sexual violence. These are critical examples of SouthSouth cooperation, and do not necessarily follow the more conventional models of aid assistance practiced by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) members. Indeed, such initiatives are based on best practices identified in Brazil including police training, health service provision, and legislation formulation.

Whole-of-government policies undertaken by the Ministry of Defense (MoD), Ministry of External Relations (MRE, in Portuguese), and the National Secretariat for Women's Policies (SPM, in Portuguese) have also led to gender mainstreaming commitments and cooperation mechanisms to improve the country's track record on women, peace, and security. The country has further signed up to a range of international efforts to end war crimes and mass atrocities, which include conflict-related sexual violence. Although at times uncoordinated, these are relevant steps that are likely to have a positive impact on the country's capacity to adapt to the UN's gender equality strategyNonetheless,

Brazil has made only partial progress in meeting the UN standards. Just seven percent of the country's military is composed of women, with most of them serving in administrative and medical positions.4 As a result, less than one percent of all Brazilian military personnel deployed to peace operations are women (out of the 40,000 troops sent to Haiti over 10 years, only 140 were women).5 A top-down decree to improve women's access to military schools represents a key initiative that could help to change this ratio, but other obstacles remain. …

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