PORT DICKSON, 20 MAY – There is a need to fully utilise the potential of men and women soldiers, to help the growth of countries and their militaries.
Making the call, Canadian High Commissioner Wayne Robson said that discussions on the issue of gender and its perspectives showed how important it was to recognise the issue.
“We are not utilising our full population of both men and women. We are leaving 50 per cent of our talent to the side, and that 50 per cent we want to have deployed in the best possible way to help the growth of our countries and our militaries,” he said at the close of the ‘Integration of Women and Gender Perspectives Workshop’ (IWGPAF) at the Malaysian Peacekeeping Centre (MPC) in Si Rusa.
The five-day workshop was funded and administered through Canada’s Military Training and Cooperation Programme and coordinated by IWGPAF Malaysia instructor and public affairs officer Lieutenant-Commander Delphine Bonnardot.
Present were Malaysian Armed Forces Defence Operations and Training Division director-general Brigadier-General Fadzillah Abdullah, MPC commandant Colonel Mohd Zamri Adbullah and Canadian defence advisor Lieutenant-Colonel Jason King.
A total of 36 officers and non-commissioned officers from Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, and Thailand attended the workshop.
“Around 70 per cent of participants were women, with the balance comprising men, demonstrating the universal importance of the topics addressed,” said Robson.
Delphine said that the Military Training and Cooperation Programme (MTCP) was established in 1963 to build defence relationships with select, non-North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries through the delivery of sponsored language, professional development, and operational cooperation training in Canada and abroad.
The programme, she added, had 70 member countries in total, 12 of which were in the Indo-Pacific.
“Malaysia acceded to the MTCP in 1966 as one of its earliest members and has proven an excellent co-host for a range of regional activities.
“Today, Canada, through its collaboration with the Malaysian Armed Forces, has emphasised its support to the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.
“I am very pleased to see so many countries represented from across the Indo-Pacific region.
“Your presence here, and your collaboration with the Canadian Armed Forces, are emblematic of the kind of cooperation envisioned in Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.
“Courses like this help our armed forces to develop essential skills, but they also build awareness and a more equitable society,” said Delphine.
Fadzillah said the workshop offered information on topics such as equity, integration and bias, gender-sensitive conflict analysis, the UNSCR 1325 on WPS and the development of the UNSCR 1325 National Action Plans, including security force responsibilities.
“The benefits of these training courses are undeniable.
“They develop and enhance trusting cooperation on both sides and are a tangible demonstration of the commitment to collaboration, cooperation, peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
“We are proud to ensure that skills and available talent are utilised in militaries around the region through our partnership with the MTCP,” Fadzillah said.
Mohd Zamri said participants discussed barriers to women’s inclusion in the armed forces, as well as to their deployment on peace support and other operations.
“They also learned about initiatives to address these at the global, regional, and national levels.
“Principles of change and leadership were explored and Canadian and Indo-Pacific best practices were shared.
“Throughout the workshop, participants practiced using Gender-Based Analysis Plus to support operational planning.
“Training workshops like these uphold, reinforce and deepen cooperative engagement, with the broader aim of reinforcing regional stability and the rules-based international order upon which our collective security and prosperity depend,” he said.
King said that the cooperative initiative was a concrete example of the value Canada’s Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces placed on fostering both gender equity and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific.
“This is in line with the recently released Indo-Pacific Strategy.
“Its success demonstrates the importance of learning from one another and working together for a more inclusive, secure, and prosperous future where diversity is strength,” said King. – airtimes.my