DPKO Practices in Gender Mainstreaming

by Kateland Shane [ Mine Action Information Center ]

Following the adoption in 2000 of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security,1 the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations Secretariat began mainstreaming gender perspectives into all of their peacekeeping operations. Within DPKO, the United Nations Mine Action Service maintains its own guidelines to help U.N. personnel mainstream gender considerations into all mine-action programs.

The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations was developed to “help countries torn by conflict create the conditions for lasting peace.”2 DPKO personnel, or United Nations peacekeepers, are deployed to conflict-ridden areas to help stabilize the conflict and establish peaceful conditions. Ever since their first mission in 1948, peacekeepers have carried out a total of 63 field missions, bringing fair and free elections to over 45 countries, resulting in the disarmament of over 400,000 ex-combatants.3 At present, DPKO is working in 18 countries and territories,4 and employs the expertise of military personnel, administrators, economists, police officers, legal experts, deminers, gender affairs officers, human rights monitors, humanitarian workers and others to deliver effective peacekeeping operations.2 Mine action is included in the peacekeeping operations of  the Department of Peace-keeping Operations, home to the United Nations Mine Action Service.5

UNMAS “seeks to ensure an effective, proactive and coordinated United Nations’ response to the landmine contamination, through collaboration with the United Nations departments, agencies, funds and programs.”6 UNMAS chairs the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action, a forum of 13 other U.N. agencies, departments, funds and programs, that was developed to coordinate the United Nations’ response to the international landmine and unexploded ordnance problem.6

Gender Mainstreaming

During the 1990s, war crimes against women during conflicts in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia prompted the United Nations to take action and establish policies to mainstream gender perspectives into peacekeeping operations.7 The result was U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325.7 The resolution calls for the mainstreaming of gender considerations into all peacekeeping operations in order to address the different ways conflict affects men and women, and to recognize the contributions of both genders to peace and security.

Since the adoption of Resolution 1325, DPKO has taken several steps to mainstream gender perspectives, including the appointment of gender advisers in all peacekeeping operations and in UNDPKO headquarters,6 and the development of a body of resource and guidance material, available on the DPKO Best Practices Web site.8,9 To help guide gender practices, UNMAS also developed a publication in 2007, Gender Guidelines for Mine Action Programmes, in consultation with the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action.10 These guidelines have been field piloted and will be revised in 2009 based on feedback received.

UNMAS Guidelines

The United Nations Inter-Agency Coordination Group for Mine Action developed guidelines to mainstream gender perspectives into relevant aspects of United Nations mine-action programs, including mine clearance, mine-risk education and victim assistance. Gender Guidelines for Mine Action Programmes incorporates real examples of mine-action gender mainstreaming from mine-action programs around the world.

Mine Clearance. Men, women, boys and girls differ in their exposure to and knowledge of the mine contamination in a community. Keeping these differences in mind, mine-action operators should try to obtain information about the mine situation from both genders in all age groups for accurate survey, mapping and clearance. To achieve this goal, the United Nations has three recommendations:

Mine-risk education. People of different genders and ages also differ in their behaviors and their response to mine-risk education. To address these differences, mine-action personnel should take an approach to MRE that will reach both sexes. The United Nations has six guidelines in the area of mine-risk education:

Victim Assistance. Mine-action operators should also consider gender when delivering effective victim assistance to both men and women. In some communities, women may have more trouble accessing medical assistance due to cultural barriers and other obstacles. Mine-action operators should also consider that both male and female mine/UXO survivors are vulnerable to the economic, psychological and social consequences of disabling injuries. To ensure effective victim assistance for both genders, Gender Guidelines for Mine Action Programmes recommends that mine-action personnel:


Conflicts and their aftermaths affect men, women, boys and girls differently. Taking gender differences into consideration in peacekeeping activities such as mine-action can help ensure that all people enjoy equal access to assistance programs and can participate in decision-making processes in their communities. Although the guidelines in Gender Guidelines for Mine Action Programmes were created specifically for United Nations mine-action programs, these guidelines may provide a helpful model to other mine-action entities, including national authorities looking to include gender considerations in mine-action programs. JMA icon


Shane HeadshotKateland Shane started working for the The Journal of ERW and Mine Action in May 2006. She graduated from James Madison University in May 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in technical and scientific communication. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts at JMU.


  1. View Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security at http://www.peacewomen.org/un/sc/1325.html. Accessed 12 December 2008.
  2. United Nations. United Nations Peacekeeping. http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/. Accessed 28 July 2008.
  3. United Nations. “Fact Sheet: United Nations Peacekeeping.” United Nations Peacekeeping. February 2008. http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/factsheet.pdf. Accessed 28 July 2008.
  4. United Nations. “List of Operations 1948–2008.” United Nations Peacekeeping. http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/list/list.pdf. Accessed 28 July 2008.
  5. “United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).” E-MINE: Electronic Mine Information Network. http://www.mineaction.org/overview.asp?o=22. Accessed 28 July 2008.
  6. “Mine Action and Effective Coordination: The United Nations Inter-Agency Policy.” E-MINE: Electronic Mine Information Network. http://www.mineaction.org/downloads/1/MAEC_8_2_6_%20final%20PDF.pdf. Accessed 28 July 2008.
  7. United Nations. “Gender and UN Peacekeeping Operations.” United Nations Peacekeeping. http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/gender/index.htm. Accessed 28 July 2008.
  8. “Gender Resources Package for Peacekeeping Operations.” Peacekeeping Best Practices. http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/lessons/. Accessed 28 July 2008.
  9. “DPKO/DFS–DPA Joint Guidelines on Enhancing the Role of Women in Post-conflict Electoral Processes.” The Electoral Knowledge Network. 2007. http://aceproject.org/ero-en/topics/electoral-standards/DPKO-DFS-DPA%20election%20guidelines.pdf/view. Accessed 11 December 2008.
  10. “Gender Guidelines for Mine Action Programmes.” E-MINE: Electronic Mine Information Network. http://www.mineaction.org/downloads/Gender_guidelines_mine%20action.pdf. Accessed 28 July 2008.

Contact Information

Kateland Shane
Editorial Assistant
The Journal of ERW and Mine Action
Mine Action Information Center
Center for International Stabilization and Recovery
James Madison University
E-mail: maic@jmu.edu

Gabriele Russo
Policy Coordination Officer
United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)
Office for Rule of Law and Security Institutions
Department of Peacekeeping Operations
2 UN Plaza, Rm. 670
New York, NY 10017 / USA
Tel: +1 917 367 2492
Fax: +1 212 963 2498
E-mail: russog@un.org
Web site: http://www.mineaction.org