VIENTIANE, 22 October 2019 – The Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) alongside the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) held a regional workshop on “Gender Equality and Empowerment in ASEAN Mine/Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Action” in Vientiane on 21-22 October.

With funding support from the Government of Canada through the Mission of Canada to ASEAN and the Clearing for Results Project Cambodia, the two-day workshop gathered ten ASEAN Member States (AMS), including those affected and not affected by landmines, unexploded ordinance or ERW, to share methods on how to include gender approaches and perspectives into their national mine/ERW action activities.

At the workshop, the participants analysed their work in mine/ERW action through a gender and diversity lens, assessing how mine/ERW action projects and programmes are implemented to ensure that the priorities and capabilities of women, girls, boys, men and diverse groups are highlighted, and their needs are met.

Leading a component of the workshop, the GICHD emphasised that with increased gender and diversity awareness and knowledge acquired through information-sharing events and other outreach activities, mine/ERW action operators will hopefully have the capacity and the will to effectively mainstream gender and diversity into their planning and activities.

In addition to building AMS’ capacity on gender mainstreaming in mine/ERW action, the workshop also provided a platform for AMS to share their experiences, best practices and lessons learnt on integrating gender into their work.

Speaking at the event, Technical Officer for Mine Action at ARMAC Dwi Premeswari, reiterated that “the regional workshop provided an opportunity to bring greater attention to the importance of gender and diversity aspects in mine/ERW action and other relevant programmes. By considering the inclusiveness of gender, the community will benefit from greater impacts and increased sustainability in future programmes.” She added, ‘it is encouraging to see both men and women from the ASEAN Member States share their knowledge, expertise and experience, and learn from each other on how to optimise gender mainstreaming in mine/ERW action.”

Funding the workshop through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives for the second time, the Mission of Canada to ASEAN emphasised Canada’s commitment to develop and implement

gender-responsive approach towards mine action, as it is aligned with Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security for the period 2017-2022. Canada supports mine action as part of its international development assistance and remains firmly committed to advancing the goals of the Ottawa Convention (Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention) and to achieving a world free of landmines by 2025.

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