Written by: Zainab Alam
On 11 June 2014 the UN Security Council held an open debate on new trends in peacekeeping operations. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gave an opening statement and there were over 50 speakers. It has been more than a year since the Security Council's last open debate on peacekeeping, which unanimously resulted in Resolution 2086. Despite the gender-sensitivity in the previous Security Council debate on peacekeeping, there were very few speakers who addressed WPS issues.
The debate focused on the use of force in peacekeeping, the use of new technology in peacekeeping operations (such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs), the budget and resource allocation for such operations, and an overall focus on intermission cooperation. Only a few speakers included gender considerations in their statements, particularly around issues of the rising number of women peacekeeping officers, gender-based violence, rape as a tool of war, and the importance of gender-sensitivity training. The representative of Cyprus noted that the first female commander of a UN peacekeeping force has been appointed to take her position in Cyprus this August. Overall, despite requests from the Council in SCR 2122 for integration of WPS considerations in peacekeeping reporting, the majority of statements were gender blind. It is critical moving forward that the Council members make statements addressing WPS issues to strengthen political will and implementation of the WPS agenda.