Delegates Monica McWilliams, Emmicki Roos, Megan Bastick and Igbale Rogova during the meeting. andPhoto: Erik Luntang, NATO.

Genuine commitment from both sides at NATO civil society meeting

“An inspirational and groundbreaking meeting”, is how 1325 Policy Group’s Executive Director, Emmicki Roos, summarized having attended the first ever NATO Civil Society Advisory Panel on Women, Peace and Security (CSAP). Convened by Ambassador Marriët Schuurman – the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace, and Security – the Panel is a unique initiative by the Alliance to reach out to global civil society for advice on how to strengthen its implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda.

The meeting which took place in Brussels 17-18 October, gathered 28 delegates from NATO member states, partnership countries, and countries experiencing conflict (including Ukraine and Afghanistan).”It was  great to have so many civil society experts from different countries gathered” Emmicki Roos says. “The delegates participated with a constructive mindset and willingness learn about NATO as an organization”

The Panel met with NATO staff for an initial discussion on NATO’s Policy and Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions on Women, Peace, and Security across NATO’s core tasks. During its first year, the Panel will focus on contributing to the review of the Policy and Action Plan . ”The committment of Ambassador Schuurman and her staff for establishing this mechanism for systematic civil society consultation felt really genuine. With this in mind and the enthusiasm and expertise among its members, it will be interesting to see what CSAP can accomplish over the next couple of years” says Emmicki Roos.

The  establishment of CSAP  is groundbreaking as it contributes to increased dialouge and  transparency between NATO and civil society – which will hopefully lead to greater inclusion of the perspectives of conflict affected communities in NATOs policies and operations.  ”It’s not obvious for all civil society actors to participate in a dialogue with NATO. The global peace movement is anti-militaristic in its nature and some actors are reluctant to engage in a panel with a military alliance. While it is important to respect this, 1325 Policy Group believes  that as long as military actors are present, they will  have to be a part of the solutions” Emmicki Roos concludes.

The Civil Society Advisory Panel will meet each year and engage on an ongoing basis with the Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security and NATO staff.  The outputs will be shared and discussed across NATO’s staff and command structure to help inform work in a number of areas.

(Photo: Erik Luntang)

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