March 28, 2019 – New York, New York – Global Affairs Canada
In November 2017, at the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial hosted in Vancouver, British Columbia, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the creation of the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, an innovative and multilateral pilot project that will develop, apply and test a combination of approaches to help overcome barriers to increasing women’s meaningful participation in peace operations.
Since then, the United Nations and Canada have worked collaboratively with other member states, UN organizations and civil society to establish the Elsie Initiative Fund for Uniformed Women in Peace Operations (Elsie Initiative Fund), which will provide financial assistance and incentives to ensure there are more women in peace operations.
Today, UN Women, alongside the UN Executive Office of the Secretary-General, the UN Department of Peace Operations and the UN Development Programme’s Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, formally announced the launch of the Elsie Initiative Fund. Canada is providing an initial contribution of $15 million toward the Fund.
The Elsie Initiative Fund will offer countries that contribute troops and police to the UN, as well as UN organizations, funding to support the deployment of trained and qualified uniformed women.
“One central challenge for peacekeeping in the 21st century is the absence of women, whether as police officers, soldiers or leaders. Greater participation by women in the peacekeeping and peacebuilding processes will change the dynamics of these missions and pave the way for a more enduring peace. The financing announced today will enable the Elsie Initiative Fund to become a reality and build on our commitment to get more women involved in peacekeeping missions.”
– Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs
“As the Secretariat of the Elsie Initiative Fund, UN Women is committed to creating an enabling environment that allows and encourages uniformed women to serve in peace operations. The funds provided by Canada and other Member States will help to boost the number of women participating in decisions and actions relating to their own security, and that of their communities, and ensure that women’s unique perspective is included, whether they are in the field or at the peace table.”
– UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
“Women’s participation in UN peace operations is vital to achieving sustainable peace. As part of the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, our Canadian Armed Forces is pleased to be partnering with Ghana’s Armed Forces to develop innovative approaches to increase women’s participation in uniformed military roles.”
– Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
The Elsie Initiative is an innovative and multilateral project to help overcome barriers to women’s meaningful participation in UN peace operations.
In February 2018, Canada held an international design workshop for the Elsie Initiative, ensuring that UN stakeholders, contact group members, women peacekeepers and civil society were able to contribute to the development of innovative implementation options for this pilot initiative.
In 2015, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2242, which acknowledged the substantial link between women’s meaningful involvement in peace operations and the achievement of long-term, sustainable peace.
The Elsie Initiative Fund is designed to accelerate the UN commitment to double women’s rate of participation in police and military units by 2020. Resolution 2242 set a specific target to double the numbers of women in military and police contingents of United Nations peace operations by 2020. Since 2015, the percentage of women deployed in these uniformed roles has only increased by 1.2%.
Canada has established technical assistance and training partnerships with the Ghana Armed Forces and the Zambia Police Service.
The fund is currently designed to have a lifespan of five years (from 2019 to 2024) before being reassessed for a potential extension.
UN Women and Canada will co-chair the fund.