Papua New Guinea Defence Force training focuses on Women, Peace & Security


The Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) provided specialized training in March 2023 aimed at reducing gender-based violence, incorporating gender perspectives and recognizing gender-specific security needs.

At the request of the PNGDF Gender Committee, the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) Office of Women, Peace & Security (WPS) designed, developed and led the Gender Focal Point course. It was the first WPS training for the PNGDF and included 17 men and 13 women from the nation’s Department of Defence, in addition to Gender Committee members, military police, engineers, chaplains, media and health service professionals, and other PNGDF personnel. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) also provided an instructor and facilitator for the training. (Pictured: Gender Focal Point course participants display the Papua New Guinea flag.)

Graduates of the training, known as Gender Focal Points, are tasked with supporting WPS initiatives such as incorporating gender perspectives in their endeavors and acknowledging the effects of conflict and crisis on women and girls.

“Trust the women in our forces to help instill trust in the populations we work with in our deployments and engagements,” PNGDF Chief of Training Col. Dickers Esso said. “We are here to complement each other … take these lessons outside of these gates and into your lives.”

The course is based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, which reaffirms the importance of women in preventing and resolving conflicts, peace building and humanitarian response, and emphasizes the value of women’s equal participation in peace and security efforts. The U.N. resolution also calls on member states to enact measures that ensure respect for women’s human rights and to take measures to protect women and girls from violence.

PNGDF course participants studied tools and processes to improve gender equity — fair treatment based on specific needs — and equality within the armed forces.

PNGDF personnel participate in a group discussion during the Gender Focal Point training. IMAGE CREDIT: USINDOPACOM OFFICE OF WOMEN, PEACE & SECURITY

“Gender [perspective] involves the needs of all — men, women, boys and girls. Not women alone, as I once thought,” one female participant said, according to USINDOPACOM’s WPS office.

The PNGDF also developed a gender-based violence prevention and response framework.

ADF Lt. Col. Brendan Creer, who helped lead the course, applauded the ongoing WPS work undertaken by PNG as well as by partners such as New Zealand and the U.S. “Continued collaboration between like-minded partners will continue to complement the outcomes of this and future training,” he said.

All participants requested more WPS training and said the inaugural course changed their understanding of traditional gender norms, roles and expectations, according to USINDOPACOM.

USINDOPACOM established its Office of WPS in 2019 to provide training, education, research and partner nation engagement.


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