Female Leaders in Security and Defense (FLSD) conference has officially kicked off in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH’s) capital Sarajevo on Monday, pointing out on the importance of the issue of women in conflict, peace and security.
The conference was opened by the country’s minister of defense Marina Pendes, who pointed out that the next year will mark the 15th anniversary since the United Nations (UN) adopted resolution 1325, which addresses peace, security and women in leadership positions.
“The resolution also addresses the activities that are needed to be undertaken in order not to face the war,” Pendes told reporters, explaining that BiH experienced 1992-1995 war, and ministries have the lessons from the war that they can share with others so that all can eventually do everything and act in a preventive manner.
During the introductory press conference in building of BiH’s Armed Forces, Pendes added that BiH was recognized as one of the few countries in the region and beyond that achieved great success in implementing UN Resolution 1325.
Pendes continued by saying that one of her goals is to increase the number of women in the armed forces, to have more women at the level of higher education, in peace support operations and to improve their chances of advancement.
“The result is that there were two percent of women in BiH’s Armed Forces ten years ago, and now, we have reached over seven percent of women in the military,” Pendes said, adding she hopes they will reach ten percent in the near future.
She concluded by saying that two-day conference will be a great opportunity to share experiences with other participant countries because “together we can be more productive in finding new solutions.”
For her part, chief for the international cooperation at BiH’s ministry of defense Ankica Tomic, pointed out on the insufficient number of women on leadership positions in the police.
“It is very important that we go in the right direction, that women are encouraged, quotas are set, women are present in every segment, from planning to implementation,” Tomic said during the press conference, adding that it is needed for women opinions and ideas to be integrated into documents relating to defense and security in BiH.
The conference is organized within the Southeastern Europe Defense Ministerial Process (SEDM) hosted by BiH’s Ministry of Defense, which is considered as one of the most important regional forums promoting leadership and training of women, was stated in the ministry of defense press statement on Monday.
The conference is attended by representatives of the defense of SEDM regional forum members from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Georgia, Italy , Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, USA and Moldova (as observer country).
The conference aims to provide innovative approaches and highlight existing good practices and thus contribute to the processes of policy formulation, decision making and implementation at the strategic, operational, tactical levels in the military and civilian domains.