International Day of Peace: Acknowledging the intersection between gender equality,
sustainable development, and security

Published on: September 22, 2023

This week, people from around the world celebrated the 41st International Day of Peace,
recognising that peace and security go hand-in-hand with human prosperity and sustainable
development. To mark the occasion, members of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration
and Fiji Police Force attended a women’s peace breakfast, hosted by the Fiji-based regional
steering group members of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict
(GPPAC): the Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding, Transcend Oceania, and the Pacific Conference
of Churches. Also present was the President of Soqosoqo Vakamarama iTaukei. The breakfast
provided an opportunity to recognise the peacebuilding and mediation efforts led by women in
Fiji, in line with UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security and the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
The Ministry and disciplined forces recognise the importance of gender equality within their
organisations and society as a whole, and the need to ensure that they are gender responsive in all
that they do to enable the full spectrum of peace and security to be experienced.
The voices and advocacy of civil society organisations play a crucial role in keeping this issue on
the agenda, and ensuring that women in all their diversity don’t just have a seat at the table, but
are empowered to be heard and shape the agenda.
At the breakfast, civil society leaders reiterated that sustainable peace and security must be built
on diversity and meaningful participation. Even in the midst of crises, women-led peacebuilding
efforts have worked with traditional, faith, and community networks to ensure that women’s
priorities inform decision making.
Fiji’s defence and security sector strives to be gender inclusive so that it better reflects the
communities it serves and gains the strength that comes from embracing diversity. As the
world’s most significant United Nations peacekeeping contributor per capita, Fiji’s commitment
to peace and the rules-based order is evident. Women play a crucial role in that work, bringing
unique experiences, insights, and strengths to peace operations and their work in Fiji. While
there is room for improvement, recent years have seen growth in the proportion of women in the
disciplined forces. Women currently comprise about 9% of RFMF personnel and 27% of the Fiji
Police Force. About 38% of FPF personnel currently on peacekeeping deployments are women –
well above the United Nations’ 2028 gender target for deployed individual police officers –
while just under 8% of deployed RFMF personnel are women.
Women were first able to join the FPF in 1968, and were invited to enlist in the army 20 years
later, a decision made by Fiji’s current Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka when he was Commander
of the RFMF


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