Regional Workshop on Women, Peace and Security (MPS) for the Americas

“Opportunities for the Women, Peace and Security in the Americas Agenda”
Uruguay December 16-19, 2019

by Particia Pérez*

This workshop highlighted the opportunities for greater regional participation in the MPS Agenda, facilitating the debate on the pathways offered by the MPS Agenda to empower uniformed women as key actors and agents of change for peace in the region and the world.It brought together for the first time in an activity of this nature and importance, the Focal Points of the Americas, representatives of Ministries of Defense and Interior involved in peace operations, representatives of Ministries of Foreign Affairs, experts of society civil and representatives of indigenous peoples.

The workshop focused on the following objectives:

  • Encourage greater regional cooperation in MPS initiatives, including those undertaken through the MPS Focal Points Network and the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, as well as through expanded and robust regional networks of women mediators, instators of peace and defenders of human rights.
  • Encourage the development of regional best practices to implement national peace and security strategies, such as regional and national action plans on MPS.
  • Forge support to expand regional deliberations in the Americas on MPS as a permanent way for stakeholders to increase their capacities and exchange best practices and experiences.
  • Ensure that the results achieved in the workshop are informed and contribute perspectives of the Americas on MPS to the international deliberations of the stakeholders that will take place at the meeting of the MPS Focal Points Network in 2020.

This was a unique occasion to gather diverse voices from all over the hemisphere to examine the full spectrum of the Women, Peace and Security initiatives.

Our deliberations addressed from the strengthening of women’s networks to consolidate peace and mediation in peace processes, to increasing the participation of women in peacekeeping through the Elsie Initiative for Women in Operations of peace.

The results achieved in this workshop will be presented at the fourth annual meeting of the MPS Focal Points Network to be held in Canada in 2020.

Uruguay and Canada will co-chair the MPS Focal Points Network in 2020, the 20th anniversary of UNSC Resolution 1325.

Issues addressed during the meeting:

The Americas and the MPS Agenda in 2020: progress, lessons and new opportunities

What did we achieve and learn about MPS and how can it help us respond to the current security challenges in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean?

How can the implementation of the MPS Agenda be strengthened at the regional level, for example through National Action Plans?

Women’s Mediation Networks Support national and regional women’s mediation networks in the Americas, as a powerful instrument to promote social integration, prevent conflicts and build peaceful societies.

Establishment of an inclusive peace

Create an inclusive space and constructive partnerships for the consolidation of peace with civil society: the importance of the diversity of women’s voices (particularly the voices of indigenous and Afro-descendant women) in political decision making and in the sector of security to strengthen democracies and fight inequalities.

Gender and violence

Implement the MPS Agenda as a means to help eradicate sexual and gender-based violence in the Americas, such as threats against human rights defenders, peacebuilders, internally displaced persons and refugees – as well as to combat femicide, human trafficking and organized crime.

Implementation of peace and security The importance of achieving a meaningful participation of women in the establishment of sustainable peace, by means such as the incorporation of broader gender issues and disarmament in peace negotiations and agreements, in a way supplementary to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration initiatives of combatants.

Panel with women members of peacekeeping forces Women members of forces in charge.

Description of the Fund for Elsie Initiative Uniformed Women in Peacekeeping Operations. Opportunities that exist for Latin American countries have access to the Fund in the next programming cycle.

The Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations

Since 2015, UN Women has been running a two-week training program to help prepare women for deployment as army officers and observers. Funded by the governments of the Netherlands, Norway, Australia, Japan and Finland, trained he has 400 women in countries around the world, providing direct support for women to play more important roles in the field of peace and security. The Elsie Initiative Fund for the participation of uniformed women in peace operations is a newly created multi-partner trust fund. It was designed to support Member states of the United Nations and encourage them to increase the number of women in the police and army forces and peacekeepers deployed in peacekeeping operations of the United Nations.

Barriers and opportunities for women in the army and in the police, including deployments in United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Problem tree on the barriers women face in military and police institutions, with emphasis on Latin America.

Identification of opportunities for greater participation of women in United Nations peacekeeping operations, with emphasis on Latin America. “Ideas Market of the Americas”: dynamic and interactive discussions on initiatives, issues and questions related to MPS participants to run a conversation in this “marketplace of ideas” in order to highlight initiatives specific topics or issues related to MPS, applying an interactive and dynamic format.


Information was provided on the network of focal points of MPS of the Security Council .In 2016 coordinating the network of focal points of the MPS was launched, the next meeting of the network will be in 2020, the slogan is “From rhetoric to action”.

The importance of NGOs in the construction of the MPS agenda and the Elsie initiative.

In MPS there is a significant advance that is the case of Guatemala, the first in the world that criminalizes sexual abuse in the Armed Forces.

In 2020, 25 years have passed from Beijing and in Lac there are two important issues: women’s access to decision-making spaces. Violence against women should be taken as accountability regarding their rights.

RESDAL presented a preliminary survey that talks about the Regional situation regarding the participation of women in the security forces. It must be considered that there is still no conviction and full acceptance of this participation, many times it is done because it is politically correct.


That LAC countries can increase women’s participation.

Possibility of creating a Latin American network of women mediators.

Give greater impetus to women’s NGOs and those working on issues of peace and security implementation.

Work to build trust once peace is established.

You work on how it is done to regenerate the ties and generate puentes.

Prepare observers before arriving on the ground to be alert and to be facilitators when creating bonds.

Increased focus there for more international presences in post conflict situations to achieve the generation of bridges.

Encourage the participation of more women, which would allow a more inclusive policy and therefore a better policy within the institutions.

Women in general within the forces has the role of victims in the region must redefine this vision. Programs are needed more security, greater awareness of those involved, using external actors to help build bridges.

Systematize information in a timely manner, with the objective of a preventive action that accompanies and alerts to the current situation with greater efficiency in reparative cases.

Prepare staff with multidisciplinary teams.

The region needs positive ideas on the MPS agenda.

To repeat the experience of this first meeting with interaction from all sectors involved.

*Patricia Pérez is a Board Member of the IPB, she who has participated in the deliberations carried out in Montevideo, Uruguay, at Mercosur headquarters, on behalf of the ILAPyC Peace and Citizenship Foundation.