Evidence shows that women’s participation in peace and security processes is linked to a greater likelihood of successful outcomes, and international frameworks have sprung up accordingly. What is less understood is the role of national initiatives. National Action Plans (NAPs) to implement UN Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security have tripled since 2010, but what impact do these plans have?
The authors investigated NAPs in the context of four different countries with conflict-affected and post-conflict settings (Democratic Republic of Congo, the Philippines, Serbia, and Sierra Leone) to answer the questions:
How are NAPs developed and implemented in diverse conflict-affected contexts?
How do local civil society groups and government and security institutions interact with each other to create and implement a NAP?
What impacts have NAPs had on women’s participation in peace and security processes?
Have NAPs affected collaboration between the state and civil society, and if so, in what ways?
This report outlines those finding compiled through field and desk research and more than 200 in-country interviews. The authors also present six recommendations for strengthening the impact of NAPs, and describe key components of a high-impact NAP.
In each country studied, there was broad consensus that the NAP increased awareness of priorities relating to women, peace, and security, and contributed to improved dialogue among policymakers, civil society, and the security sector.
NAPs in each of the four countries developed as part of a broadly inclusive process, but lost momentum when it came to implementing the NAP.
Persistent gender discrimination can prevent states from achieving objectives they set out in NAPs.
Many NAPs fail to include a human security dimension that would make the plan responsive to unanticipated peace and security challenges, such as illustrated by the Ebola crisis.
A NAP’s objectives and leaders must get beyond the national level to the provincial and municipal levels in order to implement plans most effectively.
Allocating and disbursing sufficient funds was a common challenge, making the case that financial planning should begin in the development phase.
Monitoring, evaluation, and communication of results is widely lacking and should be improved in order to understand what is working and what is not for each NAP.
This paper leverages data from the fifty democracies that have had a female leader to better understand how women in the highest levels of government affect women’s representation in other elected offices.