The Elsie Initiative Fund for Uniformed Women in Peace Operations (EIF) will provide fund for Cambodia to undertake a study to identify barriers to the deployment of women in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), to United Nations peace operations.

Cambodia, the 25th highest troop contributing country to United Nations peacekeeping, currently deploys 766 military personnel, among which 14 percent are women.

In a joint press release dated April 28, the EIF said that committed to advancing gender equality, Cambodia plans to increase its deployment of military women to United Nations peacekeeping to 20 percent by 2024.

This project marks a crucial step in translating this commitment into concrete actions, it pointed out, adding that through a comprehensive assessment, the project will identify specific barriers to, and opportunities for the meaningful participation of women in the RCAF.

Results and recommendations from the project will also inform policy formulation and guide institutional reforms to address the barriers identified and promote women’s full and meaningful participation, the EIF said.

From once a host nation of UNTAC, Cambodia has transformed into an active troop contributing country in United Nations Peacekeeping missions in Africa, Middle East, and Europe.

Since 2006, Cambodia has deployed 8,302 peacekeepers including 580 women to UN missions in nine countries.

Amongst the priority sectors, the Royal Cambodian Government promotes women’s roles in leadership, peace and security,” said H.E. Prak Sokhonn, Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Affairs and International Cooperation.

“Cambodia is committed to the Women, Peace and Security agenda, which is a major part in our effort in global peace and security and promotion of women’s participation in political, economical and social lives in post-conflict society,” he said.

Sarah Knibbs, Officer-in-Charge of the UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, said the project is a major landmark in supporting Cambodia’s effort to increase women’s meaningful participation in United Nations peace operations, a concrete example of multilateralism in action.

“It demonstrates Cambodia’s leadership to translate its commitment into the first concrete step to realising this goal. This also coincides with Cambodia’s role and priority as the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year, focusing on advancing the women, peace and security agenda in ASEAN,” Sarah said.

“I believe it will also have a positive spill-over impact in the ASEAN region and hopefully inspire the other ASEAN Member States,” she continued.

Leading by example, Cambodia is the 2nd highest contributor of women peacekeepers among the ASEAN Member States. With this project, Cambodia aims to go beyond the gender targets set in the United Nation’s Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy 2018-2028 of 11 percent by 2024.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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