On 04 June 2021, DGIMS hosted the NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives (NCGP) Handover/Takeover (HOTO). After two years as Chair of the NCGP, Lieutenant Colonel Corine Van Nieuwburg-Hofte (Netherlands) handed over to Chair-Elect Lieutenant Colonel Diana Morais (Portugal). The event will mark the 60th Anniversary of the integration of gender perspective within the Alliance, with the Netherlands as a founding Nation of the Committee on Women in the NATO Forces (CWINF). The small ceremony was an opportunity to wholeheartedly thank Lt Col Van Nieuwburg-Hofte and the Netherlands for their contributions toward increasing awareness of gender perspective within the Alliance over the past decades.
The role of NCGP and its predecessors has been critical to the core work of both Allied and Partner Nations. In 1961, Female Senior Officers of the Alliance organised the first NATO Conference to discuss the status, organisation, conditions of employment and career possibilities for women in the armed forces of NATO Member Nations. The Conference took place in Copenhagen with delegates from Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States. During this Conference, a resolution agreeing to organise regular conferences was adopted. In 2009, CWINF became the NCGP with the objectives to support the integration of a gender perspective into NATO’s military operations, and implement the Women Peace and Security United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325). The NCGP is responsible for providing recommendations to the NATO Military Committee, the senior military body in the Alliance, on gender-related topics and for publishing the Summary of the National Reports of NATO Members and Partner Nations. The NCGP seeks to facilitate dialogue on gender-related and gender mainstreaming policies in collaboration with partners and stakeholders to further integrate gender perspective at NATO.
Lt Col Van Nieuwburg-Hofte (NLD) has extensive professional experience regarding the integration of gender perspective in a military context. Since 2013, she has been the Senior Advisor to the Research Department on Gender Differences and Military Readiness at the Military Service Centres in Utrecht. From 2013 to 2014, she was the Gender Advisor to the Regional Command North in Afghanistan where she implemented UNSCR 1325 at an Operational level. Lt Col Van Nieuwburg-Hofte continued championing the integration of gender perspective as NCGP Deputy Chair (2015-2017), Chair-Elect (2017-2019) and appointed Chair (2019-2021).
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic challenges, Lt Col Van Nieuwburg-Hofte chaired the first-ever virtual NCGP Annual Conference from 13-14 October 2020. During the 44th Conference, “Deepening Gender Mainstreaming: Transformation Through Professionalisation”, 120 representatives from NATO Member and Partner Nations discussed the development of ‘gender perspective as a capability’ and celebrated the 20th anniversary of UNSCR 1325. For Lt Col Van Nieuwburg-Hofte, “gender is more than a policy paper”.
During her tenure, NCGP Chair Lt Col Van Nieuwburg-Hofte interviewed Netherlands Chief of Defence (NLD CHOD) Lieutenant General Onno Eichelsheim who highlighted the progress and importance that his Nation has made towards the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 in the Dutch Armed Forces. The Dutch Chief of Defence stated that his role involved implementing the gender perspective within their nation’s second Defence Action Plan and that the Netherlands Ministry of Defence took part in developing Netherlands’ fourth National Action Plan. The Netherlands continues to be a leader in the implementation of gender perspective across the Alliance.
The International Military Staff’s Office of the Gender Advisor would like to thank Lt Col Van Nieuwburg-Hofte for her contributions in fostering gender awareness and sensitivity. The Office also welcomes Lt Col Morais who brings a five-year Strategic Plan and a clear vision for the continued development and exploration of ‘gender perspective as a capability’.