Gender Aspects of Conflict Interventions: Policy Implications of Intended and Unintended Consequences

Led by Gregory M. Reichberg
Jan 2002 - Dec 2003

The conflict patterns of the 1990s have called for more complex responses from international organizers of peace operations. Among policymakers, it is commonly recognized that the ways in which a conflict intervention will affect local populations must be taken into account if an intervention is to be conducive to sustainable peaceful development. The primary aim of this project is to investigate the intended and unintended consequences of conflict interventions from a gender perspective. Based on scholarly literature studies, interviews and empirical fieldwork, it focuses on three conflict areas: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eritrea and Israel/Palestine. Ethics, Norms and Identities www.prio.no – Strategic Institute Programmes PRIO Annual Report 2002 13 Special attention is paid to the interaction of international intervention personnel with local host communities. How are female civilian and military intervention personnel viewed by the affected host community? What special sorts of impact befall women in the host communities as a result of international interventions? The project will result in several scholarly articles and a report for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Policy implications of intended and unintended consequences based on comparative case studies from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Eritrea/Ethiopia and Israel/Palestine

The conflict patterns of the 1990s have called for more complex conflict responses from international organizers of peace operations. There is a common recognition among policy-makers that in order to organize conflict interventions conducive to sustainable peaceful development, the intervention must take into account the ways in which it influences the local, regional and national population in the given context. The Brahimi report, 2000, which evaluates United Nations peace operations in the 1990s, urges such operations to be more sensitive toward the complexities of interactions with the local population of the host country. Taking careful account of the gender dimensions of such interventions is an important part of this overall task.

This project has as its main aim to investigate, from a gender perspective, the intended and unintended consequences of conflict interventions. This investigation is based on scholarly literature studies, interviews and empirical fieldwork in three conflict areas: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Eritrea and Israel/Palestine.

The project researchers will write a report for the Norwegian Foreign Ministry (to be submitted in December 2002), providing policy recommendations based on a study of the gendered aspects of conflict interventions. The main theme of the project is the impact of international intervention on local communities. How are female civilian and military intervention personnel viewed by the affected host community? And what special sorts of impacts (positive or negative) befall women in the host communities as a result of these international interventions? A specific topic of interest to the researchers is prostitution. The project will try to find out what measures can be taken in order to decrease the contact between conflict intervention and the prostitution industry.

The project’s working assumption is that conflict interventions will be more effective, and the overall image of the intervention will improve, when policy makers have an improved understanding of the gender effects of these interventions.
This project will be carried out in 2002–2003 with grants from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Research Council. Project output will include one report and several scholarly articles.

Research Groups

Publications

Popular Article

Skjelsbæk, Inger (2003) Flere kvinner i forsvaret [More women in the military], Dagbladet, 22 December.

PRIO Paper

Skjelsbæk, Inger (2007) Gender Aspects of International Military Interventions: National and International Perspectives, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.

Report - Other

Olsson, Louise; Karen Hostens; Inger Skjelsbæk; & Elise Fredrikke Barth (2004) Gender Aspects of Conflict Interventions: Intended and Unintended Consequences, Report to Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Oslo.
(2003) Gender Aspects of Conflict Interventions: Policy Implications of Studies of the TIPH, UNMEE and SFOR.