This Framework of Cooperation will lead to the creation of a Gender, Peace and Security Collaboratory that will support the Office of the Special Representative in its efforts to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence through robust, transformational, and critical research on conflict-related sexual violence. This new partnership is all the more relevant at a time when the world is experiencing a reversal of generational gains in women’s rights. Despite normative agreement since the year 2000 and evidence that gender equality offers a path to sustainable peace and conflict prevention, we are moving in the opposite direction.
It is the first time in its 175 years of existence that the University of Ottawa signs an agreement with the United Nations, which makes this partnership historic for the university. Through this partnership, the University of Ottawa and the Office of the Special Representative seek to work together to strengthen efforts in preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence through knowledge and capacity transfer, with an emphasis on addressing specific gaps in the Women, Peace and Security agenda, while supporting Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.
“The Women Peace and Security agenda is not just an answer to historic wrongs and marginalization, but an opportunity to do things differently. I am confident that this partnership with the University of Ottawa, through the Gender, Peace and Security Collaboratory, will provide an important platform to exchange innovative ideas and solutions and fill knowledge gaps to prevent sexual violence from being used as a tactic of war, terrorism and political repression”, said Special Representative Patten.
“The University of Ottawa is committed to fight sexual violence in conflict”
— President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa
Similarly, President Frémont noted: “The University of Ottawa is committed to fight sexual violence in conflict and as a research-oriented institution, we want to play our part in capacity building through the creation of a Gender, Peace and Security Collaboratory—an open space of innovation to foster partnerships amongst researchers, practitioners, policymakers, community activists, and Indigenous partners that can generate solutions to challenges under the Women, Peace and Security agenda.”
“This new partnership is an important step in the right direction. Sexual violence poses a serious threat to women’s dignity and is totally preventable. I have no doubt that the new Gender, Peace and Security Collaboratory will inspire innovative and transformational research that will help better inform policies and overall practice. The academic and research community has an important contribution to make to address the root causes and prevent the occurrence of conflict-related sexual violence. By setting up strong foundations and collaborating together, we can better serve communities all over the world and solidify efforts toward conflict prevention, resolution, and peacebuilding.” stated Vice President Sanni Yaya during the signing ceremony.
Strategic collaboration between the UN System and research institutions such as the University of Ottawa can help to ensure that research findings are effectively integrated into policies and programming, through regular information-exchange, technical collaboration and joint problem-solving, using modern and innovative technologies.
Both parties look forward to bolstering efforts to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence, a too often overlooked and underreported crime.