The International Gender Champions Disarmament Impact Group together with the Gender & Mine Action Programme (GMAP) convened a side event at the 17th Meeting of States Parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) on 27 November 2018 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
At the side event, a factsheet on ‘Gender and the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention’ produced by GMAP and the Impact Group was distributed to participants. The factsheet provided data on the impact of explosive hazards and identified entry-points for gender mainstreaming in mine action, in line with the APMBC and the Maputo Action Plan.
Arianna Calza-Bini, Director of GMAP introduced the factsheet and described how gender norms determine the ways in which women, girls, boys and men experience life. Data provided by the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor (2018) shows that men and boys are disproportionately affected by landmines in terms of direct casualties. Women and girls are often indirect victims, assuming a caregiving role for survivors and providing financial support for their families when the main breadwinner is injured or killed. Mine action thus needs to cater for the diverse needs and capabilities of the people that it serves. Ms Calza-Bini described “areas for action” for donor and affected States Parties, as follows:
Improve collection, analysis and reporting on sex- and age-disaggregated data (SADD);
Ensure that there are no legal impediments for women to work in mine action, and encourage greater gender balance through national/sectoral policies, and the gender-sensitive and –responsive prioritisation of donor funding;
Increase support for victim assistance activities and advocate for an integrated approach among healthcare systems and victim assistance services, recognising the different needs of women, girls, boys and men;
Send gender-balanced delegations to APMBC and other disarmament meetings and conferences to contribute to women’s meaningful participation in decision-making in mine action;
Promote the connections between mine action, the SDGs and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, highlighting the contribution of gender-responsive mine action to the achievement of sustainable development and gender equality;
Mine action organisations should ensure that systems are in place to safeguard staff and beneficiaries against harassment and to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse. This includes the creation of appropriate reporting mechanisms and investigation procedures.
Dr Renata H. Dalaqua, Researcher at UNIDIR provided an overview of the importance of gender-responsive disarmament, and reflected on how gender-sensitive mine action can contribute to the broader realisation of gender equality. Dr Dalaqua provided examples of gender responsive actions that have made mine action more effective in three areas: data collection, mine risk education and mine clearance.
There was an engaging questions and answers segment, chaired by Collin O’Brien Namalambo, disarmament expert at the Permanent Mission of Namibia to the United Nations in Geneva.
Finally, Ambassador Hans Brattskar, Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations in Geneva, delivered the final presentation. As incumbent President of the APMBC Review Conference in 2019, he reaffirmed his intention to use the Review Conference as a platform to strengthen gender equality across all aspects of the Convention.