The online seminar was co-chaired by Tomoko Matsuzawa, Director for Defense Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific Region under the International Policy Division of the Defense Policy Bureau of Japanese Ministry of Defense, and Senior Colonel Mac Duc Trong, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

At the webinar

Under the theme “Women’s Participation in U.N. Peacekeeping Operations, Obtained Achievements and Challenges,” the event was an opportunity for delegates from Vietnam, Japan and ADMM+ countries to discuss and exchange experiences in a bid to strengthen women’s role in U.N. peacekeeping duties, thus promoting cooperation in the field.

Organizers expected that information and experiences shared at the seminar would contribute to raising peacekeepers’ capabilities in carrying out peacekeeping duties.

Speaking at the event, Ms. Tomoko Matsuzawa, who is also Head of the Japanese EWG PKO, shared her experience in promoting gender equality and preventing abuse. She affirmed that women can absolutely carry out all duties within U.N. peacekeeping operations, including military activities as men  do. However, they have to overcome more challenges than their male peers. Apart from raising their command of foreign languages and fitness, women joining U.N. peacekeeping operations have to overcome social and traditional prejudice.

Lt. Col. Nguyen Thi Minh Phuong (L) speaks at the event.

Additionally, the Japanese chair emphasized the need to create a network for all women participating in U.N. peacekeeping operations to share their useful experience in carrying peacekeeping duties, thus raising the effectiveness of the work.

Head of Vietnamese EWG PKO Senior Colonel Mac Duc Trong emphasized the important role of women in U.N. peacekeeping operations, especially civil-military cooperation in settling conflicts. He affirmed that the Vietnamese Government and Ministry of National Defense always pay attention to increasing the rate of women participation in U.N. peacekeeping forces to meet the requirements of the U.N. gender quality goal.

According to Colonel Trong, the webinar was the first practical activity of Vietnam and Japan as the co-chairs of the fourth cycle of the Experts' Working Group EWG) on peacekeeping operations in the 2021-2023 period within the ADMM+. He expected that more practical activities will be held in the coming time. 

Delegates at the webinar

At the event, Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Thi Minh Phuong, who was the first Vietnamese military observer at the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan, expressed the honor that women are playing more significant role in U.N. peacekeeping operations.

The initiative of Women, Peace and Security Platform was proposed by Vietnam and Japan at the 14th meeting of the EWG PKO in Vietnam on April 6, 2021 and received support from ADMM+ nations. This platform aimed to create a multilateral forum for ADMM+ countries to share valuable experience and lessons related to women, peace and security issues.

Activities within the Women, Peace and Security Platform are expected to help countries get themselves well-prepared for the field training exercise on peacekeeping of the fourth cycle of the EWG PKO which is scheduled to be held in Vietnam in 2023.

Translated by Tran Hoai