Peacekeeping officials dealing with communications and information technology in a number of hotspots across the globe today completed a five-day meeting at the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), where gender concerns were addressed as part of overall planning. “Coordination within the United Nations system is a major concern for INSTRAW. Supporting activities aiming at securing peace all over the world must be a priority issue,” said the Institute’s Director, Carmen Moreno. “This initiative has allowed UN staff members in the field of information and communication technologies to familiarize themselves with INSTRAW’s work and broaden their knowledge of gender issues,” she added. The annual meeting of the Communications and Information Technology Service of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations brought together top-ranking technical and managerial staff to highlight best practices, exchange lessons learned and share views on current trends such as voice and video equipment, high-speed data systems, network service and software applications. “At our Headquarters in New York, there is a significant awareness regarding gender issues and the need for us to be more gender-balanced,” said Rudy Sanchez, Chief of the Department’s Communications and Information Technology Service. “Having our staff immersed in an institution that deals with gender issues gives us the opportunity to think and talk about gender daily and to increase consciousness in an environment that is highly male-dominated.” For five days, eight headquarter-based officers and 40 IT and Communications chiefs from 25 missions in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and the Middle East were brought together to discuss strategies. In order to strengthen ties between INSTRAW and the Department in the coming months, both institutions are developing other collaborative projects in the areas of training, access to facilities and logistical support.