Canada turned over the Chair of the Women, Peace & Security (WPS) Chiefs of Defence (CHoDs) Network to Bangledesh during a virtual ceremony held on February 8th, 2022 between Canadian Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) General Wayne Eyre and Lieutenant General Waker-Uz-Zaman.

The WPS CHoDs network was established in 2017 to support member states’ efforts to provide a collaborative platform for Chiefs of the Defence who have committed to advancing the WPS agenda within their own defence force. By sharing lessons observed and best practices, members are enhancing their shared understanding and knowledge, to increase their ability to advance the WPS agenda. Canada assumed the network Chair in July 2019 from the United Kingdom and has actively worked to advance the WPS agenda in support of UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions within the international security community since then.

“Holding the chair of this organization for the past two years has been a great honour for our country and for our armed forces. Since the start of Canada’s tenure, we have contributed to the further growth and development of the network. In July 2019, when we took over the Chair responsibilities, membership stood at 39 member states. Over the course of our Chairpersonship, that number has increased to 56 and Canada will continue to actively advocate for other nations to join the Network” said General Eyre.

As of this year, the Network uses an official Charter based on the Terms of Reference previously developed by the first Chair (UK) which were built upon by Canada, formalizing the organization. With a view to strengthening the Network as an organization, a succession plan for Nation Chairs has been established for the next four chairs. The Network Executive is now composed of Sweden (Vice-Chair), Jamaica, and Ireland with UK as ex-Officio. Major-General Lise Bourgon, our CAF WPS Champion was also named as the Woman Advisor to the Executive to the CHODs Network.

Our efforts in developing a strong WPS Network have also included the delivery of a digital and portable training package available to all UN countries. This resource includes a fully curated package with courses of different depths and lengths with comprehensive instructional guidelines to allow member nations to deliver the training to their personnel. This training was developed by the Canadian Defence Academy and the Center of Excellence for Peace and Security in collaboration with Direction Gender Equality and Intersectional Analysis. It is tailored specifically to the international audience at the junior military level, where Canada identified a gap in currently available WPS-related training.

During its time as Chair, Canada received outstanding support from the Executive membership: Bangladesh, Jamaica, Sweden, Ireland and UK as Ex-Officio – their contribution to the creation of the Charter and other initiatives spearheaded by Canada made a great and positive impact on the development of the Network throughout the last years. As Bangladesh takes over the role of Chair, Canada will ensure to provide our active support as Ex-Officio and member of the Network and continue our work to promote WPS objectives worldwide.

Andrew Tihonov Designer

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