Canada reaffirms its support for women, peace and security agenda and hosts panel on Elsie Initiative on Women in Peace Operations

News release

March 12, 2018 – New York, United States - Global Affairs Canada

Canada’s feminist foreign policy makes women a priority in all of its security-related activities, including peacemaking, peacebuilding and peacekeeping. We are seeking to increase the participation of women in these activities and to provide a solid foundation for conflict prevention and recovery.

On March 12, 2018, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, was at the United Nations to attend the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women. While at the UN, she hosted a panel on the Elsie Initiative on Women in Peace Operations. Minister Freeland took the opportunity to present the objectives and approach of the Elsie Initiative, a project through which Canada will work with the United Nations and international partners to develop and test innovative approaches aimed at overcoming barriers to the participation of women in police and military roles in UN peacekeeping operations.  

The initiative aims to create the conditions for the deployment and full participation of women in UN peacekeeping operations. A financial mechanism will also be created to incentivize the deployment of more women.

As part of the Elsie Initiative, Canada will provide $6 million in assistance to designated UN missions to improve their ability to support and benefit from women’s increased participation in peace operations and $15 million in seed money for a global fund to support the deployment of women peacekeepers.

Canada has also established a contact group of like-minded UN member states to build momentum and assist in the design of this initiative.

While at the UN, Minister Freeland also announced the Government of Canada’s contribution of more than $16 million toward projects that will advance gender equality and protection of human rights, including those of women and girls; address gender-based violence; support women’s engagement in peace processes; and support the implementation of Canada’s women, peace and security agenda.


“Through our feminist foreign policy, Canada integrates gender equality into diplomacy, into trade, into security and into our development efforts. While at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, I was pleased to announce more funding to support the advancement of this goal and highlight the Elsie Initiative, which will improve peacekeeping outcomes by breaking down gender barriers and creating the conditions for the deployment of more women in peace operations.”

- Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • 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.

  • Resolution 2242 set targets to double the current rate of women’s participation as military and police peacekeepers. Since 2015, the percentage of women deployed in these uniformed roles has only increased by 0.2%.

  • In November 2017, at the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Elsie Initiative on Women in Peace Operations.

  • In February 2018, Canada held an Elsie Initiative design workshop, 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.

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Adam Austen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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