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Denmark’s perspective: The power of partnerships for advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda

By Thor Aron Hilton, Military Advisor and Minister Counselor at the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations

The theme for the 2022 International Day of UN Peacekeepers was “People Peace Progress: The Power of Partnerships”, emphasizing the collective enterprise that is UN Peacekeeping. UN entities, humanitarians, women and youth, media, academia, traditional and faith-based leaders, host governments, Troop and Police Contributing Countries, Member States, and many others work collaboratively in the pursuit of peace.

Denmark partners with UN Peacekeeping including through our long-standing commitment to support the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda as well as our work on countering sexual exploitation and abuse. It is Denmark’s steadfast belief that without prioritizing efforts within these areas, it will not be possible to create long-term, sustainable peace.

In relation to peacekeeping, the WPS agenda goes across all the seven A4P+ areas and therefore constitutes a key dimension in the implementation of the Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping from 2018.

Further, in support of initiatives that contribute to the strengthening of UN peacekeeping activities, the Danish Ministry of Defense has decided that ensuring and promoting women’s full and meaningful participation in the UN’s work on peace and security is one of five key priority areas for the period 2022-2024.

This shows that the WPS agenda is at the top of Denmark’s agenda, which is why we will continue to invest in our partnership with the Department of Peace Operations and other UN organizations on this matter. We highly value strong UN partnerships and support the collective peacekeeping efforts.

Denmark has already funded several projects on WPS as a partner to the UN Department of Peace Operations. An example of this is the “In Their Hands: Women Taking Ownership of Peace” photo exhibition, which premiered on 18 September 2021 in Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York. The exhibition featured the work of 14 women peace activists from Africa, South America and the Middle East. The main objective of the exhibition – which was part of a broader communications strategy on WPS – was to advocate for women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace and political processes. This was done by telling the women’s stories through the lens of local women photographers.

Furthermore, Denmark supports the Elsie Initiative Fund for Uniformed Women in Peace Operations hosted by UN Women with $900,000 from 2021 to 2024. This contribution supports Troop and Police Contributing Countries’ and UN organizations’ efforts to increase the number of uniformed women military and police in UN peace operations sustainably and substantially. Denmark also supports the Senior Women Talent Pipeline, which promotes the meaningful participation of women at senior levels in peace and security and decision-making more widely and in specific in UN peace operations.   

A last – and most recent – example of Denmark’s engagement is the 2022 project on “Strategic Communications to enhance Peacekeeping Conduct” concerning the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse. This project feeds into another of the five priority areas of the Danish Ministry of Defense, which is concerned with strengthening the conduct of UN Peacekeeping personnel. Unfortunately, there have been recent examples of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers. We therefore believe it is critical to continue to engage in proactive and transparent communications in order to address and prevent such misconduct.

Finally, we would like to reiterate our continued commitment as a dedicated partner to the UN and express our gratitude towards all the women and men who deployed to UN peace operations and worked dedicatedly to create peace.