Australia's next national action plan on women, peace and security

Australia's next national action plan on women, peace and security

Australia's first National Action Plan will end in 2019. The Office for Women is leading Australian Government efforts to design the next National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. On this page, you can learn more on what Australia is doing in this space and, importantly, how you can contribute to the design of the second National Action Plan.

The Pillars of women, peace and security agenda

Photo source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

‘Empowering women and girls is a central objective of [Australia’s] international focus, recognising the huge benefits that flow to whole communities from women’s participation.’[1]

'National Action Plans ‘provide an opportunity for national stakeholders to identify priorities, determine responsibilities, allocate resources, and initiate strategic actions within a defined timeframe.’[2]

Four pillars underpin the Women, Peace and Security agenda: Prevention; Participation; Protection; and Relief and Recovery. These reflect the language and aspirations of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and the seven related resolutions that collectively form the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

These pillars are often the foundation of National Action Plans. They can help focus and guide countries’ strategies and actions to implement the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Rather than operating in isolation from each other, the four pillars intersect and interact with each other to amplify the impact of Women, Peace and Security.

Participation

The Women, Peace and Security agenda prioritises the importance of women’s participation throughout the peace process - from conflict prevention to peacebuilding and peacekeeping. As women and men experience conflict differently, women’s participation in peace and security is critical to protecting their human rights and ensuring their needs are met before, during, and after conflict. ‘Participation’ involves integrating gender perspectives into strategy and actions as well as increasing representation of women in all facets of leadership and decision-making, at all levels. It promotes women and girls’ right to participate in civic life and be represented in democratic institutions.

Prevention

This pillar has a dual focus: to acknowledge and promote women’s constructive role in conflict prevention, and to mandate the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence during and after conflict. Peace is an enduring goal of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The inclusion of women and women’s organisations in conflict prevention and peace maintenance measures is essential to addressing the root causes of conflict and achieving the agenda’s ‘transformative vision for a more equal, just and peaceful world’ [3].

Protection

Assuring women’s safety and rights both during and after conflict is a core pillar of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Incidences of sexual and gender based violence increase in conflict and post-conflict settings and is often employed as a tactic of war. There is an explicit focus on protecting women against these crimes and ending impunity for perpetrators. The agenda also extends to protecting and promoting women’s human rights and freedoms. This includes ensuring women’s access to necessary services, such as legal advice and healthcare.

Relief and recovery

The Women, Peace and Security agenda also calls for the application of a gender perspective to post-conflict peacebuilding and reconstruction. The ‘relief and recovery’ pillar aims to improve outcomes for women and the broader community and support their specific needs. This encompasses the design of humanitarian settlements for Internally Displaced People and refugees, the delivery of humanitarian provisions, and planning and implementing disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programmes.

Transitional justice mechanisms are an important part of post-conflict relief and recovery. They help societies to redress gross conflict-related human rights violations and begin to rebuild social foundations in a more just and equal way. Women’s participation in the design and execution of transitional justice is critical to ensuring their conflict experiences are acknowledged and the perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence are prosecuted.

The Women, Peace and Security pillars are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Supporting women’s voices and participation in decision-making and leadership at all levels contributes to advancing all priorities of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Women’s full and equal engagement in peace processes broadens the scope of discussions and helps address the root causes of conflict, ultimately resulting ‘in more durable and stable peace’[4].

References

[1] Sharman Stone, Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls (2017) Speech at She Decides International Conference, Brussels, Belgium, 2 March 2017

[2] UN Women (2015) Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, Securing the Peace: A Global Study on the Implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, p.240

[3] UN Women (2015) Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, Securing the Peace: A Global Study on the Implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325, p.194

[4] UN Women (2015) Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, Securing the Peace: A Global Study on the Implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325: http://wps.unwomen.org/participation/

Addressing the 'participation' pillar

An example of Australia's implementation of the 'participation' pillar is the International Women and Law Enforcement Conference.

The Australasian Council of Women and Policing (ACWAP) and the International Association of Women Police (IAWP) hosted the International Women and law Enforcement Conference in Cairns, Australia 17-21 September 2017. AFP Missions and Posts sponsored the attendance of delegates from around the world to attend, including: Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur, Pretoria, Indonesia, Nauru, Vietnam, Samoa, PNG, Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Vanuatu, Tonga, Guam, Niue, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Mexico.

The purpose of the sponsorship was to promote the role of women in policing and encourage gender equality initiatives within the participating police services. Participating delegates heard from experts from national and international law enforcement agencies, family and community agencies, legal representatives, academics, researchers and community groups.

AFP hosted an additional networking event with our internationally sponsored delegates prior to the conference as an additional opportunity for participants to network with AFP members (all levels) attending the conference. Retired Superintendent Ann McEvoy spoke about how to get the most out of the conference.

The AFP’s Pacific Police Development Program – Regional (PPDP-Regional) also conducted leadership workshops for Pacific participants to identify barriers and challenges faced by the senior women’s forum. Fourteen women attended the forum from a range of ranks – constable through to Deputy Commissioner. During the workshops, personal development plans were written to provide an operational context of the learning, which would be tangible and measurable. These plans articulated six-month, twelve-month and two-year goals which PPDP-R has incorporated into future planning. The plans will be used as a baseline for leadership development of women in senior management. PPDP-R will continue to monitor the development of this group.

Addressing the 'prevention' pillar

One way Australia promotes the ‘Prevention’ pillar is through FemLINK and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict.

In Fiji, FemLINK Pacific is countering gender stereotypes through a range of media initiatives to promote the important role of women in decision-making through a focus on local governance systems and development processes. Australia also supports women’s use of media for their own empowerment and for the development of their communities. FemLINK Pacific convenes a regional feminist media network that enables and supports correspondents in partner organisations in Bougainville (PNG), Solomon Islands and Tonga to produce regular content reflecting the priorities of Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) Pacific and CSO network activities.

GPPAC Pacific works to foster collaboration on gender, preventive action and human security in peace and security forums in the Pacific region. As a network of diverse Pacific peacebuilders, activists and practitioners, GPPAC works to develop a regional gender inclusive early warning and early response (EWER) framework with human security and protection indicators. The EWER aims to prevent the resurgence of conflicts by enhanced conflict analysis and communication systems, and to contribute to a resilient and inclusive regional peacebuilding architecture. FemLINK also aims to strengthen and advance equality between women and men, particularly in the context of peacebuilding.

FemLINK uses a preventive action approach. Specific emphasis is on enhancing civil society oversight in national security policy discussions, priority-setting in the national budget and promotion of a human security framework.

As a result of these programs, Pacific women have increased knowledge and are now openly sharing their peace, human security and development priorities. Moreover, women are actively involved in media and policy activities which address the prevention of inequalities.

Addressing the 'protection' pillar

The Australian National Action Plan has a strong focus on protecting women in fragile, conflict and post-conflict situations. One example of how this is being implemented is Australia's Nabilan (Ending Violence against Women) Program.

Australia’s Nabilan (Ending Violence Against Women Program) works with Timor Leste’s government and civil-society to prevent violence against women and children and to provide improved services and access to justice for survivors. Nabilan supports the Government of Timor Leste’s own National Action Plans on Gender-based Violence (2017-21) and Women Peace and Security (2016-2020) by conducting awareness raising for women and men regarding non-violent conflict resolution. Interventions are positively impacting social norms and attitudes towards violence in homes, schools and communities.

Nabilan works with the independent women’s movement to strengthen national advocacy and leadership on the elimination of violence against women, and peace and security. Nabilan-designed prevention messaging developed together with local community and media organisations has reached over 85,000 households. In 2016-17, Nabilan expanded its violence prevention work to 2494 people (1268 women and 1226 men). Prevention work – including a network of community mobilisers - has changed attitudes towards gender equality and violence, reduced tolerance for child abuse and men’s use of violence, and improved gender equality within households. It also built capacity for local civil society through a scholarship to attend UN Women’s Transformative Leadership for Gender Equality and Women's Rights course in Switzerland in July 2017.

Nabilan has increased the reach and quality of critical support services for survivors of violence, with more than a total of 17,000 instances of service support and provision since 2014, including legal aid, medical forensic examination, temporary accommodation, shelter, counselling, life skills training and re-integration. Support to service providers has improved management of complicated cases and created a landmark local certification program for social services. Ongoing Nabilan support for legal education for judges and prosecutors has improved handling of violence against women cases by the courts and tougher sentences for perpetrators. Civil society and partner organisations are monitoring the courts and advocating for legal reform.

Addressing the 'relief & recovery' pillar

The Australian Government supports post-conflict and disaster relief and recovery in a number of ways. One example is Operation Fiji Assist, which provided humanitarian and disaster relief in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016.

Operation Fiji Assist was the first ADF operation to include UNSCR 1325, Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and a gender perspective in the operational orders and the first ADF operation to specifically deploy Gender Advisers.

Operation Fiji Assist was also the first time that the ADF conducted gender operational analysis to complement the intelligence process, focussing on the affected population within the operating environment. In addition to the positive operational impact, the relationships established between the ADF Gender Advisers, DFAT and other humanitarian actors during Operations Fiji Assist resulted in improved civil-military cooperation, coordination and understanding, not only for this operation but on an ongoing basis.

The goodwill created by Operation Fiji Assist and ongoing development of relationships between the ADF and Non-Government Organisations has also lead to improved interaction and the sharing of mutually important resources such as Gender Analysis reports; which will enhance our ability to respond to future disasters and other rapid response events in our region.

The importance of gender equality in the women, peace and security agenda

Photo Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/Jim Holmes; United Nations SDG Goal 5 Gender Equality; United Nations SDG Goal 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Women’s inclusion in peace processes results in a 20 per cent increase in the probability of an agreement lasting at least 2 years, and a 35 per cent increase in the probability of an agreement lasting at least 15 years. [1]

The Women, Peace and Security agenda is a human rights agenda. Its premise overlaps with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW): that is the pursuit and realisation of substantive gender equality. CEDAW is often described as the international bill for rights for women. It aims to achieve gender equality in political, economic, social and cultural life and establishes legal standards for governments to implement in pursuit of this. The Women, Peace and Security agenda and CEDAW intersect most closely in CEDAW’s General Recommendations No 35 on gender-based violence against women [2] and No 30 on women in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations[3]. These make explicit links between gender inequality and the violence women experience before, during, and after conflict.

Gender equality is a fundamental human right. It means that the rights, responsibilities and opportunities you are afforded are not determined by whether you are born male or female, and that the interests and needs of both women and men are considered and addressed[4]. It is also important to recognise that women and girls are not a homogeneous group[5]. A range of factors impact women’s lived experiences. Recognising the intersection between gender and other forms of discrimination, based on religion, race, ethnicity, class, age and sexual orientation, among others, is critical to erasing the substantive and structural barriers to equality.

‘Only 13 percent of stories in the news media on peace and security-related themes included women as the subject, and women were central to the story in only 6 percent of cases. Regardless of the topic, only 4 percent of the stories portrayed women as leaders in conflict and post-conflict countries and only 2 percent highlighted gender equality or inequality issues.’ [6]

Women’s inclusion supports durable peace. Women and girls experience conflict and peace-building differently to men and boys. Conflict-related sexual violence and gender-based violence is most commonly perpetrated against women, and is used as a tool of warfare. During and following conflict, more women die during childbirth, fewer participate in the economy, more girls are forcibly married and fewer attend school[7]. Yet women only make up a small proportion of people involved in peace maintenance and rebuilding. In 2015, only 3.2 per cent of military peacekeepers were women[8] and a review of 31 major peace processes between 1992 and 2011 revealed that only 9 per cent of negotiators were women[9]. The Women, Peace and Security agenda acknowledges women’s role in prevention, stabilisation and resolution of conflicts and aims to redress their disproportionate representation.

Women and girls’ experiences in conflict are shaped by gender roles and their status in society[10]. They rarely have the same resources or social, political and economic rights and freedoms compared to men and boys. Armed conflict exacerbates these existing inequalities[11]. In post-conflict rebuilding, inequality and a lack of political rights and authority prevents women from engaging in high-level decision-making, peace negotiations or meaningful post-conflict societal reformation. In turn, this perpetuates and reinforces gender inequality. The Women, Peace and Security agenda recognises the gendered nature of security challenges and seeks to redress the disproportionate effects of conflict on women and girls.

‘Women’s empowerment is not just a moral imperative; it is a strategic investment in our collective security.’ [12]

Advancing gender equality has positive impacts beyond improving the lives of women and girls. Gender inequality and violence against women are key indicators of state fragility and instability [13]. Women’s full and equal participation in peace processes broadens the scope of discussions and helps address the root causes of conflict. Where women are empowered to engage equally and meaningfully and exercise real influence, the prospects for reaching agreement increase; the chances of their implementation grows; and the likelihood of agreements failing diminishes.

The Women, Peace and Security agenda helps connect the dots between gender equality and peace. Improving women’s levels of participation and decision-making in peace and security, protecting them from gender-based violence during war, and ensuring their needs are met post-conflict, has tangible impacts at the individual, community, national and even global level.

References

[1] Laurel Stone (2015) Quantitative Analysis of Women’s participation in Peace Processes in Marie O’Reilly, Andrea Ó Súilleabháin and Thania Paffenholz, Reimagining Peacemaking: Women’s Roles in Peace Processes, Annex II, International Peace Institute, p. 34.

[2] United Nations (2017) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: General recommendation No. 35 on gender-based violence against women, updating general recommendation No.19, CEDAW/C/GC/35

[3] United Nations (2013) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: General recommendation No.30 on women in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations, CEDAW/C/GC/30

[4] UN Women Training Centre, Gender Equality Glossary

[5] Australian Government (2012) Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018, p.6

[6] UN Women (2015) Fact Sheet: The Global Study on 1325: Key Messages, Findings, and Recommendations

[7] Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (28 October 2014), Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security

[8] UN Security Council (2016) Report of the Secretary-General on women, peace and security, p. 7.

[9] UN Women (2012) Women’s Participation in Peace Negotiations: Connections between Presence and Influence: http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/peace-and-security/facts-and-figures#notes

[10] Australian Government (2012) Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018, p.7

[11] Australian National Committee for UN Women (2014) Women, Peace and Security: An Introductory Manual, p. 8.

[12] Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. in Alexandra Arriaga (2017) Linking Security of Women & Security of States, Blueprint, May 2017, p.6 [13] Valerie M. Hudson (2017) Evidence: Security of Women & Security of States in Alexandra Arriaga, Linking Security of Women & Security of States, Blueprint, May 2017; OECD (2016) States of Fragility 2016: Understanding Violence, OECD Publishing, Paris: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264267213-en

Relation to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Both the Women, Peace and Security agenda and CEDAW are part of a wider international framework that promotes human rights and gender equality. While each are important in their own right, considering the two together and recognising their interconnection can amplify their impact and deliver greater outcomes for women and girls.

Australia and the women, peace and security agenda

Photo source: Department of Defence

The Office for Women (OFW) leads Australian Government efforts in promoting and advancing the United Nation’s Women, Peace and Security agenda. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent related resolutions, affirm the important role women play in conflict prevention, peacebuilding, peacekeeping and post-conflict resolution, call for the protection of women and girls from conflict-related sexual violence, and advocate for their full and equal participation in all areas of peace and security.

The Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018 (National Action Plan) is the primary mechanism through which the Australian Government seeks to achieve these goals. OFW works in partnership with other departments and agencies to coordinate the delivery and implementation of the National Action Plan. Actions taken in pursuit of the Women, Peace and Security agenda span across civil and military activities, including international development assistance, policing and defence.

Work is ongoing to ensure the aims of the Women, Peace and Security agenda are progressed. To date, the Australian Government has undertaken two progress reports and one independent interim review on the National Action Plan. The final progress report and independent review will be completed and released later in 2018. And, with the current policy extended to mid-July 2019, work is underway on the next National Action Plan.

Australia’s commitment to the Women, Peace and Security agenda goes hand in hand with our engagement in other international fora such as the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Together these human rights frameworks strive for gender equality and women’s empowerment, to end violence against women, and to achieve sustainable and durable peace and security.

Summary of the Women, Peace and Security agenda

The Women, Peace and Security agenda is an international policy framework that refers to a set of resolutions developed by the United Nations Security Council. United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 was adopted in 2000 and is the first Security Council resolution to recognise the disproportionate impact of conflict on women and girls. Since 2000, the United Nations have adopted seven additional resolutions and together these comprise the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda

The Minister for Women leads Australia’s implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The Office for Women supports the Minister for Women in this commitment, working across government to advance Australia’s priorities, contributions and success implementing this important agenda.

National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security

National Action Plans are tools to guide government policy and actions to realise commitments to the Women, Peace and Security agenda. They are recognised as best practice in translating the international policy framework to concrete actions relevant to the national context.

Government consultation on the design of the second National Action Plan?

Public consultation roundtables will be held nationally and are expected to commence in June. Civil society, non-government and academic communities, among others, will be invited to take part in the roundtables discussing the design of the next National Action Plan. There will also be opportunities to contribute to the discussion via the OFW Engage website.

Providing a written comment to inform the design of the next National Action Plan

We will be making a series of questions related to the design of the second National Action Plan available on OFW Engage. You will be able to submit written comments on these questions - we welcome your contribution and are keen to hear your thoughts, ideas, insights and input on the next National Action Plan. Watch this space!

Visiblity of comments

Comments submitted to OFW Engage won’t be visible on the website. We value your privacy and want you to feel comfortable putting forward your views. Your comments will be sent directly to the OFW team. But, we’re keen to share with you the feedback we’re receiving about the design of the second National Action Plan, so from time to time we will provide updates on this website in response to submissions.

UN security council resolutions on women, peace and security

In 2010, only 15.8 percent of all resolutions in the previous decade contained women and/or gender references. This has increased to almost 30 percent in 2015.[1]

‘We know that to sustain peace we must include women; not just in our words, but in our actions. And we must accelerate and strengthen practical efforts to place women front and centre in the peace and security agenda’.[2]

The mandate of the United Nation’s Security Council (Security Council) is to maintain international peace and security. The Security Council investigates emerging and existing security threats and conflicts and considers whether to take any action in response, including intervention in the conflict. The Security Council also adopts resolutions, as the formal expression of opinion and will of the United Nations. These inform, guide or bind Member States on international peace and security matters.

UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 (2000) was the Security Council’s first acknowledgement of women’s role and involvement in international peace and security. Its passing was the culmination of many decades of work by women’s groups to highlight and gain formal recognition of the interaction between women, peace and security. Since 2000, the Security Council has adopted another seven resolutions that build on UNSCR 1325. These collectively form the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

UN security council resolution 1325 (2000)

UNSCR 1325 [3] (2000) is a landmark resolution, acknowledging for the first time the particular and disproportionate impact of conflict on women. It links their lived experience to the global peace and security agenda. It calls for action around four key pillars:

  • Representation and participation of women in peace processes (including conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction).
  • The incorporation of gender perspectives in peacekeeping operations and training.
  • The protection of women and girls (including the prevention of gender-based violence).
  • The integration of gender perspectives in UN reporting and actions.

To advance these themes, Member States are encouraged: to increase representation of women in leadership in national and international institutions; to implement gender-sensitive training; to adopt gender perspectives in negotiating and implementing peace agreements; to protect individuals from and prosecute perpetrators of gender-based violence; and to consult with local and international women’s groups before missions in conflict contexts.

Integrating the women, peace and security agenda

The increasing number of Security Council Resolutions referencing Women, Peace and Security reflects the agenda’s growing importance to the United Nations. There is a clear commitment from the Security Council to consider Women, Peace and Security as a cross-cutting issue with respect to its broader thematic agenda: in 2016, it included references to Women, Peace and Security in 88% of all presidential statements and thematic resolutions.[4]

Beyond the Security Council, issues relevant to the Women, Peace and Security agenda are addressed in a range of relevant regional and international fora. The global commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development(External link) makes important contributions to the Women, Peace and Security agenda, particularly Goal 5 and Goal 16. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women(External link) (CEDAW) is a well-established framework for asserting women’s rights and a critical tool for advancing gender equality. The impact of these instruments is amplified when they are considered together as part of a broader agenda to achieve women’s full and equal human rights and secure sustainable peace.

References

[1] UN Women (2015) Fact Sheet: The Global Study on 1325: Key Messages, Findings, and Recommendations

[2] Gillian Bird, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in UN Security Council, 7793rd meeting, 25 October 2016, S/PV.7793

[3] S/RES/1325 (2000): http://unscr.com/en/resolutions/doc/1325

[4] NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security (2017) Mapping Women, Peace and Security in the UN Security Council: 2016

Definition of UNSCR 1820

UNSCR 1820[1] (2008) notes that conflict-related sexual violence is used as a tactic of war and stresses this significantly exacerbates conflict and prevents the restoration of peace. It demands the immediate and complete cessation of sexual violence against women by all parties to armed conflict and supports actions taken to prevent and respond to sexual violence in conflict situations. It requests the UN and Member States implement programs to help personnel better prevent, recognise and respond to sexual violence against civilians, including pre-deployment and in-theatre awareness training. It further stresses the importance of ending impunity against perpetrators and affirms the intention of the Security Council to consider targeted measures against parties to armed conflict who commit acts of sexual violence, within the framework of sanctions regimes.

[1] S/RES/1820 (2008): http://unscr.com/en/resolutions/doc/1820

Definition of UNSCR 1888

UNSCR 1888 [1] (2009) builds on UNSCR 1820 by establishing a Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, supported by a team of experts providing advice and strengthening coordination among stakeholders in the prevention of conflict-related sexual violence. The Secretary-General should ensure Women Protection Advisors are identified and provided for where necessary as part of all peacekeeping operations. UNSCR 1888 urges Member States to review their judicial and law enforcement systems to improve rates of reporting and responses to sexual violence. The UNSC requests that the Secretary-General provide an annual report on the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Resolutions.

[1] S/RES/1888 (2009): http://unscr.com/en/resolutions/doc/1888

Definition of UNSCR 1889

UNSCR 1889 [1] (2009) calls for strengthened implementation on UNSCR 1325 and establishes global indicators for its monitoring. Secretary-General reports to the Security Council will address women’s participation and inclusion in peacebuilding. In support, Member States will prepare gender-sensitive strategies that respond to the needs of women and girls in post-conflict contexts, including in health, law enforcement and justice, and capacity building. Rebuilding efforts should fund women’s empowerment and ensure full and equal access to education. The Secretary-General will develop a set of indicators to track global implementation of UNSCR 1325, to form a common reporting basis for the UN, Member States, and international and regional organisations. This is an important milestone in the advancement of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Significant gaps in gender data make it difficult to establish gender equality baselines and undermine evidence-based policy in this area [2]. Establishing indicators creates a valuable database for identifying challenges and monitoring progress in the implementation of UNSCR 1325 [3].

[1] S/RES/1889 (2009): http://unscr.com/en/resolutions/doc/1889

[2] UN Women (2018) Turning Promises into Action: Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: http://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2018/sdg-report-gender-equality-in-the-2030-agenda-for-sustainable-development-2018-en.pdf

[3] UN Security Council (2010) Women Peace and Security: Report of the Secretary-General, S/2010/173, p.11

Definition of UNSCR 1960

UNSCR 1960 [1] (2010) responds to the slow progress in ending violence against women in conflict. It reiterates deep concern that violence continues, and in some cases is highly brutal, systematic and widespread. Parties to conflict are again called upon to comply with their obligations under international law, to prevent sexual violence, combat impunity and enforce accountability for these crimes. UNSCR 1690 advances the agenda by establishing conflict-related sexual violence monitoring and reporting mechanisms. The Secretary-General is encouraged to identify and hold to account perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict to end a culture of impunity. Increased engagement between the United Nations, national institutions, civil society organisations and health care service providers is encouraged to enhance data collection and analysis of incidences and patterns of sexual violence to better inform appropriate actions of the Security Council. Where appropriate, the Secretary-General, the Security Council and Member States should consider including specific criteria related to these crimes in targeted sanctions.

[1] S/RES/1960 (2010): http://unscr.com/en/resolutions/doc/1960

Definition of UNSCR 2106

UNSCR 2106[1] (2013) addresses persistent gaps in the implementation of existing commitments relating to women and sexual violence in armed conflict. It reiterates the importance of addressing sexual violence in armed conflict within the context of mediation, ceasefires and peace agreements, including with respect to special provisions for security arrangements and transitional justice mechanisms. It challenges the ongoing impunity and lack of accountability of perpetrators, noting that serious sexual violence in conflict is a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Secretary-General and the UN should assist states in increasing women’s participation in addressing sexual violence issues, including in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration processes, security sector reform, justice sector reform and service provision for sexual violence survivors.

[1] S/RES/2106 (2013): http://unscr.com/en/resolutions/doc/2106

Definition of UNSCR 2122

UNSCR 2122 [1] (2013) recommits the UN and Member States to support women’s representation and address the root causes of conflict. It calls on Member States to support organisations promoting women’s participation, decision-making, and leadership in peace and security, and recognises the important role of civil society. The Resolution calls attention to other thematic areas relevant to Women, Peace and Security, including strengthening of the rule of law, capacity building in health and judicial institutions, threats to international peace caused by terrorism, and combating the illicit transfer of small arms.

[1] S/RES/2122 (2013): http://unscr.com/en/resolutions/doc/2122

Definition of UNSCR 2242

UNSCR 2422 [1] integrates women, peace and security concerns in all Security Council country-specific situations and establishes the Informal Experts Group on Women, Peace and Security to facilitate a more systematic approach to the Security Council’s work. The Resolution emphasises gender equality and Women, Peace and Security as cross-cutting issues, with a particular focus on counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism. It urges Member States and UN entities undertake gender-sensitive research and integrate a gender perspective in their work in this area.

[1] S/RES/2242 (2015): http://unscr.com/en/resolutions/doc/2242

Australia's national action plan on women, peace and security

’To sustain peace we must include women; not just in our words, but in our actions. We must all accelerate and strengthen practical efforts to place women front and centre in the peace and security agenda’ [1].

Australia is committed to advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018 guides a coordinated, whole of government approach to implementing our ongoing commitments under the agenda, led by the Minister for Women. The Office for Women supports the Minister to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment by advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda in Australia, our region, and internationally.

The National Action Plan acknowledges that the particular experiences of women and girls in conflict do not exist in a vacuum, but rather that violence, inequality and under representation are shaped by pre-existing, peace time gender roles [2]. Advancing gender equality is a mechanism for realising women and girls’ human rights and as a driver of sustainable peace [3]. This requires that women and girls’ needs are considered when pursuing political, economic and social, including health and education outcomes [4].

Photo source: CPL Christopher Dickson 1st Joint Public Affairs Unit, in Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018; Department of Defence

References

[1] Australia’s statement to the United Nations Security Council 24 October 2017

[2] Australian Government (2012) Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018, Australian Government, 2012, p.7

[3] UN Security Council, ‘Peace Inextricably Linked with Equality between Women and Men says Security Council’, in International Women’s Day Statement: Press Release of the UN Security Council, 8 March 2000, SC/6816, in Australian Government, Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018, p.7

[4] UNICEF (2006) The State of the World’s Children 2007, 2006, p.2, in Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018, Australian Government, 2012, p.7

The Australian National Action Plan

Australia is considered a global leader in promotion of the Women, Peace and Security agenda[1], and the National Action Plan highly relevant to its implementation.[2] Highlighted in particular is the strong involvement of civil society and commitment to independent reviews set out in the National Action Plan. The Australian Government recognises ongoing engagement with civil society as an essential outcome of the National Action Plan, acknowledging its vital role in promoting the Women, Peace and Security agenda gender equality[3].

[1] Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Office for Women, Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018, viewed on 23 March 2018: https://www.pmc.gov.au/office-women/international-forums/australian-national-action-plan-women-peace-and-security-2012-2018

[2] Humanitarian Advisory Group (2015) Independent Interim Review of the Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018, p.32

[3] Australian Government (2014) 2014 Progress Report: Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018, p.13 top of page

Number of countries having adopted National Action Plans

Since 2000, 74 countries have adopted National Action Plans. Australia was the thirty-sixth country to do so in 2012 (as at March 2018[1]). [1] PeaceWomen, Who Implements? Member States, viewed on 18 May 2018: http://www.peacewomen.org/member-states

The National Action Plan's strategies and actions

Five overarching strategies underpin the National Action Plan and drive Australian Government efforts to improve outcomes for women and girls in fragile, conflict and post-conflict environments: 

  1. Integrate a gender perspective into Australia’s policies on peace and security.
  2. Embed the Women, Peace and Security agenda in the Australian Government’s approach to human resource management of Defence, Australian Federal Police and deployed personnel.
  3. Support civil society organisations to promote equality and increase women’s participation in conflict prevention, peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and relief and recovery.
  4. Promote Women, Peace and Security implementation internationally.
  5. Take a co-ordinated and holistic approach domestically and internationally to Women, Peace and Security[1].

More detailed Australian Government actions support these strategies, and are organised in line with the Women, Peace and Security pillars introduced in UNSCR 1325: prevention, participation, protection, and relief and recovery. The Australian Government added ‘normative’ as an additional theme under its NAP, relating to raising awareness about and promoting the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

[1] Australian Government (2012) Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018 top of page

Governing the NAP implementation

The Office for Women, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Defence, Australian Federal Police, Attorney General’s Department and the Australian Civil-Military Centre all have implementation responsibilities under the National Action Plan.

The Women, Peace and Security Inter-Departmental Committee is responsible for monitoring implementation. It is supported by a Sub-Committee. The Australian Civil Society Coalition on Women, Peace and Security represents civil society on both the Inter-Departmental Committee and the Sub-Committee.

The National Action Plan requires Government release biennial progress reporting and two independent reviews of its implementation. The Australian Government has supported the Australian Civil Society Coalition on Women, Peace and Security to release an Annual Civil Society Report Cards since 2013.[1] Regular reports and independent review support progress on National Action Plan actions and upholds the principles of accountability and transparency integral to the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

[1] Australian Government (2017) 2016 Progress Report on the Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018, p. 13