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Overview

United Nations peace operations, which help countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace, have evolved considerably over past decades to better respond and give voice to women, whose meaningful involvement have demonstrated to prevent, resolve and rebuild from conflict and contribute to longer-term sustainability. Yet the number and proportion of deployed women peacekeepers remains too low. Since 2015, the overall rate of women in United Nations peace operations has only increased from 4.2% to 5%. At the current pace, it will take decades to reach the levels outlined in Security Council resolution 2242.

Aiming at addressing this situation, key UN entities, led by UN Women and Department of Peace Operations, together with Member States have collaborated to establish “The Elsie Initiative Fund for Uniformed Women in Peace Operations” to support and incentivize the increased meaningful participation of uniformed women in UN peace operations.

Strategic approach and funding

This UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund seeks to accelerate progress towards achieving UN targets to increase the meaningful participation of women serving in uniformed military and police roles in UN peace operations, as stated in the Department of Peace Operation's Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy (2018-2028).

The primary recipients of the fund are troop- and police-contributing countries (T/PCCs), while UN organizations that wish to implement and test innovations will have secondary access. The Fund offers two streams of funding:

Flexible project funding. Allows UN Member States contributing troop and police personnel to peace operations and/or UN organizations to access financial assistance to support evidence-based activities and the deployment of trained and qualified uniformed women, over the short and long term. Examples of proposals through this funding stream are: training and mentorship programs for commanders and senior personnel, infrastructure investments, national recruitment campaigns to attract more women into service and training for women personnel who may deploy.

Premiums for gender-strong units.  Financial premiums to T/PCCs for the deployment of gender-strong units. A gender-strong unit is defined as a military unit or a formed police unit (FPU) that includes substantial representation of women overall and in positions of authority, has provided gender-equity training to all unit members, and has adequate equipment and other materiel to ensure parity of deployment conditions for women and men peacekeepers.

All projects must include robust internal monitoring and reporting procedures.

Specific risk and mitigation strategies will be developed for each project and will explicitly address the safety and security of all women military or police personnel to participate through the proposal.

Overcoming barriers

The Elsie’s Initiative Fund, named after Canadian women’s rights pioneer Elsie MacGill (1905-1980), aims at contributing to identify and overcome barriers to the deployment of trained and qualified uniformed women peacekeepers. These barriers include:

  • Women are not given the equal opportunity to deploy in peace operations;
  • Criteria for deployment exclude disproportionate numbers of women;
  • Women are not provided with the necessary working and living environment, facilities and equipment to deploy to and fully participate in peace operations;
  • Family constraints disproportionately prevent women from deploying;
  • Women are not treated equally on deployment and they do not have equal opportunities and incentives for redeployment; and
  • Women do not have equal opportunities for career advancement through deployment, either on-mission or at home.

While not all of these barriers can be addressed through increased financial resources, additional financing can help identify which barriers are most significant in their specific national context and allow testing innovations to address them. The Fund complements existing UN peace operations financing mechanisms and, as such, it will be the first instrument to focus specifically on the deployment of uniformed women in peace operations.

Governance

The management of the Fund comprises several levels:

A Steering Committee governs the Fund and provides strategic guidance for achieving the Fund’s programmatic objectives. It is composed of (3) UN members (Department of Peace Operations, Executive Office of the Secretary-General and UN Women); (4) Member States (Canada as founding member, a contributor to the fund, a member of the contact group and a T/PCC contributor). The Steering Committee is co-chaired by UN Women and Canada with final decision making by the United Nations co-chair. The MPTF Office, administrator and trustee of the Fund, participates as ex officio member. Agreement take place by, at least, two thirds majority.

The Fund Secretariat, hosted by UN Women, is responsible for the operational functioning of the Fund. It provides technical and administrative support to the Steering Committee and follows up on all aspects of the allocation and project cycles within the Fund.

A Technical Committee, consisting of technical specialists, assists the Secretariat on an ad-hoc basis.

The Administrative Agent. The Elsie’s Initiative Fund is administered by the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) Office under the pass-through management modality and acts as a trustee of this UN pooled fund. As such, it is responsible for concluding the memorandum of understanding with Participating UN Organizations and Standard Administrative Arrangements with donors. The MPTF Office receives, administers, and manages contributions from donors, disburses funds to implementing partners, and consolidates financial reports produced by each implementing partner.

Implementing Partners. The Fund acts as a pass-through mechanism, transferring resources directly to T/PCCs and Participating United Nations Organizations (PUNOs), and thereby avoiding any duplication of operating procedures, and minimizing transaction costs. National governments can receive funding directly taking into account the eligibility criteria specified in the Fund’s Terms of Reference. Civil society organizations cannot apply independently and activities must be undertaken in partnership with, and under a proposal from, a T/PCC or participating UN

Recent Documents

This tab shows only recent documents relevant at the Fund level. To see more documents at both the fund and project level go to the Document Center.

Key Figures
Funding Status
Participating Organizations are required to submit final year-end expenditures by April 30 in the following year; Interim expenditure figures are submitted on a voluntary basis and therefore current year figures are not final until the year-end expenditures have been submitted.
Total as of
Values in US$
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Funds with Administrative Agent
Contributions from Donors 11,252,813  
Interest and Investment Income (from Fund) 0  
Interest (from Participating Organizations) 0  
Total source of funds   11,252,813
Transferred to Participating Organizations 0  
Refunds from Participating Organizations 0  
Administrative Agent Fee 112,528  
Direct Cost 0  
Bank Charges 0  
Total use of funds   112,528
Balance with Administrative Agent   11,140,285
As a percentage of deposits   99.0%
Funds with Participating Organizations
Transfers to Participation Organizations 0  
Total resources   0
Participating Organizations' Expenditure 0  
Refunds from Participating Organizations 0  
Total expenses     0
Balance with Participating Organizations   0
As a percentage of transfers   %
Total Balance of Funds   11,140,285
As a percentage of deposits   99.0%
Delivery Analysis
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Projects
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Contacts

For Policy and Programme Issues

Mr. Bradley Orchard, Policy Specialist | Military Liaison Officer, UN WOMEN, Telephone: +1 646 781 4406; Email: bradley.orchard@unwomen.org

For Fund Administrative Agent Issues

Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office), Bureau of Management, United Nations Development Programme, Fax: +1 212 906 6990

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