The Elsie Initiative on Women in Peace Operations


The Elsie Initiative is a key element of Canada’s feminist foreign policy. It includes its Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada’s second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, and Canada’s new defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged. The initiative aims to support the agenda for UN peacekeeping reforms and UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s leadership on gender equality, in order to move from slow, incremental progress to transformational change regarding women’s meaningful participation in peace operations.

The three main components of the Elsie Initiative are:

  • Training and technical assistance packages for one or two troop- and police-contributing countries (T/PCCs).
    • These will be tailored to each partner country’s needs, and could include military and police expert advice, training, mentoring, recruitment support, and/or provision of non-lethal equipment. Assistance packages will be developed following an in-depth needs assessment, under a robust research, monitoring and evaluation framework, with the aim of supporting the deployment of women in uniformed police and military roles.
    • In parallel, there will be collaboration with and assistance to select UN peacekeeping missions to which the partner country(ies) deploy(s) women peacekeepers. This could include improving gender inclusivity in leadership, policies and in physical installations in order to provide productive and safe working environments for women peacekeepers.
  • A financial mechanism to provide incentives or assistance to T/PCCs for deploying women peacekeepers in uniformed police or military roles.
    • This mechanism will be designed in relation to not only quantity but quality, measured through, for example, rank, roles, training or gender balance among deployed military and police members.
    • On November 15, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada’s contribution of $15 million to establish this fund.
  • Research, monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the components of the pilot initiative are carefully designed before they are formally established and are monitored and evaluated closely throughout implementation and adjusted as needed.
    • This will contribute to a more solid evidence base on effective ways to overcome barriers to women’s participation in peacekeeping operations.

This work will be undertaken under the guiding principles of sustainability, complementarity and innovation. These principles have guided the Elsie Initiative work to date and will continue to guide the approach to this project.

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