The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is hosting the first Five Eyes Plus Gender Conference, in Ottawa from May 16 to 18. The conference will provide a unique opportunity to examine, discuss, and collaborate with partner nations with respect to the application and integration of gender perspectives at the operational level.
The Five Eyes Plus Gender Conference builds upon earlier efforts to incorporate gender perspectives into CAF operational planning and operations. These efforts include the appointment of a Department of National Defence/CAF Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) Champion, a CAF GBA+ Director, and three gender advisors.
These CAF efforts stem from United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325. This resolution was approved in 2000 and was the first to deal exclusively with women in situations of armed conflict, acknowledging that such conflicts impact men, women, girls, and boys in different ways.
The integration of gender perspectives into CAF responses to armed conflict, as well as conflict prevention and capacity-building efforts, enables us to better protect populations at risk. By understanding the needs and capacities of diverse groups of men, women, boys and girls, the CAF can better adapt actions that contribute to long term peace and stability for affected populations.
“To ensure that the needs of all are taken into account when our members deploy on operations around the world, the Canadian Armed Forces is actively working to integrate gender perspectives into operational planning. Integrating gender perspectives into operations is about more than just gender itself: it’s also about education, and showing respect for religions, cultures, and ethnicities.”
— Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
“Men, women, and children experience the world differently. I urge all those planning military operations to identify these differences, so that our operations and activities better account for these unique security needs. This Gender Based Analysis Plus approach will help make the Canadian Armed Forces more effective in those operations.”
— Major-General Tammy Harris, Canadian Armed Forces Gender Based Analysis Plus Champion
“The first Five Eyes Plus Gender Conference provides an excellent opportunity to see the work partner nations are doing to integrate gender perspectives into their operations and to share best practices. I am encouraged to see the work being done on this initiative by all participating countries and I am heartened to know that all conference participants understand the importance of a Gender Based Analysis Plus in the planning and conduct operations and that it is essential to continue using it in the conduct of future Canadian Armed Forces operations.”
— Sheila Ouellet, Canadian Armed Forces Gender Based Analysis Plus Director
- The Five Eyes is an intelligence-sharing alliance between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Conference had these countries come together along with representatives from Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, NATO and the UN to share best practices and lessons observed on the integration of gender perspectives at the operational level.
- Gender advisors operate at the strategic and operational levels, and are a resource to the Commander who is responsible for the overall integration of gender perspective into planning, execution and evaluation.
- Three gender advisors have been appointed as part of the Chief of the Defence Staff’s efforts on integration of UNSCR 1325. They are currently working with the Strategic Joint Staff, Canadian Joint Operations Command, and Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.
- GBA+ is an analytical competency that will help the CAF consider and account for numerous factors such as age, education, language and culture, among others, in addition to gender into its operational planning and analysis.
- The integration of GBA+ into the planning and execution of CAF operations is a means of improving operational effectiveness by further enhancing understanding of operating environments. The goal is to subsequently use this deeper understanding in order to adjust the planning and conduct of operations to reflect the needs and capacities of the diverse groups of men, women, boys and girls.
We are delighted to learn that the Canadian armed forces is concerned with the perspectives of gender based contribution to our services.
It is an idea whose time has come. Hopeton.