General Micael Bydén
Chief of Defence Swedish Armed Forces
Chairperson for the WPS CHOD Network
Dear friends of the WPS CHOD Network!
It is a great honor and privilege to be your chairperson for the Network and I am really looking forward to the coming year. I take this opportunity to extend my sincere appreciation to Lieutenant General Waker-Uz-Zaman from Bangladesh, who with strong commitment successfully chaired during the last year.
More than ever, due to an even more challenging security environment, there is an urgent need for strategic discussions on how to best address fundamental human rights issues as gender equality. We as CHODs share an obligation to keep these issues high on the agenda, whether it is as role models or implementing processes for improved dialogue, structural changes, training, retention of personnel or fighting harassment. We can promote real change if we take the WPS agenda seriously. For me, it is also crucial that we interact in order to learn from each other on this matter. We are in this together and it should be in our own interest to contribute and work with such an approach.
I have thereby outlined two main priorities for my chairmanship. Firstly, it is my intention to support the long-term development of the Network in accordance with the Network Charter, partly by reinforcing the role of the Executive Committee (currently Bangladesh, Ireland, Jamaica and Sweden and one more nation to be decided). I strongly believe that the Executive Committee can play a vital role in keeping momentum and continuity in the Network. Since it is the intention to change chair annually, I will hence strive to set a culture that extends beyond my chairpersonship. In this respect, I also would like to be an inclusive chairperson. I encourage you all to be active members and share ideas and best practices to foster the WPS agenda for the benefit of all Network members. Considering the fact that we are a global network, I believe that this Home Page (wpschods.com) will be an important tool where we can share information, foster dialogue and reach a common understanding on topics in this field.
Secondly, I would like to contribute to increase the knowledge on gender equality in military organizations in general, but also to provide tolls to improve the recruitment and retention of women in armed forces. I will do my best to promote suitable preconditions to ensure that women as well as men are able to serve in military organizations to their full potential.
I use this opportunity to strongly suggest participation at United Nations Ministerial in Accra, Ghana on 5-6 December 2023. Our Network supports the UN Side Event on Enhancing Women´s Participating in UN Peace Keeping: The Role of Gender-responsive Leaders conducted 5 December 1500-1700.