Increasing awareness of women’s security issues at the local level was the focus of three training sessions organized in Serbia by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) with the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP) and the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities on 10-15 November.
The training sessions for representatives of local authorities in the towns of Zaječar, Niš and Kraljevo highlighted the aims of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) on Women, Peace and Security in increasing the number of women in security sector institutions as well as sensitizing all members of the security sector and local community to issues that affect women.
The trainers emphasized the importance of local communities working together to address problems such as domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.
“A gender-balanced local police force and a community that is aware of the problems predominantly experienced by women makes for a more efficient response to their security concerns,” said Andreea Vesa of ODIHR’s Human Rights, Women and Security Programme.
Based on the recommendations of participants at the training sessions, BCSP developed an analysis on gender and security at the local level, which will assist the Serbian authorities in implementing the National Action Plan to honour its obligations in line with UNSCR 1325.
Sonja Stojanovic, BCSP Director, added, “it is important that national actors responsible for the Plan take into consideration the concerns of local authorities and, in turn, that local authorities are equipped to make the Plan’s goals a reality.”
The training was based on the Gender and Security Sector Reform Toolkit developed by ODIHR together with the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces and the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women.