National Action Plan: Canada

Flag of CanadaThe Canadian Government drafted a NAP in 2006, which proceeded to consultation with Civil Society in 2007. The final NAP was not adopted until 2010 and covers the period up to March 31, 2016. The NAP’s development was led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade with contribution from the Department of National Defense, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Public Safety Canada, Status of Women Canada and Justice Canada, as well as Civil Society Organizations. The NAP of Canada expired in March 2016 and the government has pledged to renew the plan. However, no revised NAP has been adopted as of November 2016.

Canada does not have a recent history of internal armed conflict or face serious external armed threats. However, Canada is a contributor to UN Peacekeeping missions, UN sanctioned NATO military missions, international humanitarian relief support and development assistance. As such, the Canadian NAP has been interpreted in an international way, seeking to mainstream gender and implement UNSCR 1325 across these activities, particularly as related to peace operations and engagement in fragile states and conflict-affected situations.

From a recent academic analysis: The 2010 Canadian National Action Plan concretely encompasses not just UNSCR 1325 but the other security council resolutions relating to Women, Peace, and Security. The objectives of this action plan follow the resolution objectives of prevention, participation, protection, relief and recovery. Canada places a lot of focus on bilateral and multi-lateral advocacy, which includes significant roles with partners such as the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security. (Miller, Pournik, & Swaine, 2014)

Document PDF: 

Civil Society Monitoring Report

Canada analyisis: Miller, Pournik, Swaine

Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security: An Update

2015-2016 Progress Report – Canada’s National Action Plan for the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security

WILPF

WILPF-Canada was not involved in the development of the NAP.

Civil Society Actors

NAP Development
Civil Society participated in consultations following the Canadian governments drafting on the NAP. There was a significant delay in this consultation phase and the release of the NAP, in which Civil Society Organizations continued to lobby for it’s speedy adoption.

NAP Implementation
There is no joint Civil Society and government task force or mechanism for ongoing Civil Society engagement. Civil Society has no representation in the Interdepartmental Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. The NAP states that Civil Society engagement will be sought throughout the NAP’s lifetime, however, the Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group has reported that attempts to engage with and participate in the Working Group have been unsuccessful.

NAP Monitoring and Evaluation
Civil Society has taken an active role independent of these formal processes. In 2009 Peacebuild established the Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group, which is active in monitoring and promoting the implementation of UNSCR1325. Civil Society has been critical of the Canadian governments declining commitment to the implementation of UNSCR1325.

In its most recent Civil Society Monitoring report, the Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group made the following recommendations:

  • Full and transparent reporting on all indicators in the National Action Plan is possible in 2012.
  • Dedicated resources and accountability mechanisms
  • Senior leadership on the NAP
  • More critical reporting and analysis of implementation efforts and plans for
  • Annual progress reports should be tabled in both houses of Parliament and should be reviewed by a parliamentary committee.
  • Funding to organizations that promote the full and equal participation of women including women’s rights organizations in Canada and internationally,
  • Consistent, explicit commitments as expressed in the National Action Plan should inform and be reflected in major diplomatic, defense and development policy and programs
  • Clear policy direction should be provided to all relevant government departments indicating requirements and accountability structures on women, peace and security issues.
     
Government Actors

NAP Development
Various government bodies were instrumental in the development of Canada's NAP, including: Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), the Department of National Defence (DND), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Public Safety Canada, and the Status of Women Canada and Justice Canada.

NAP Implementation
Canada's NAP outlines responsibilities for different government institutions for implementation. These include the DFAIT for convening regular meetings of an interdepartmental working group, and DFAIT's Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START) for coordinating government wide implementation.

NAP Monitoring and Evaluation
The Canadian NAP is vague when it comes to monitoring and evaluation, but the assumption is that CIDA, DFAIT, Public Safety, and the RCMP will self-monitor themselves and give qualitative and quantitative analyses of their progress.

Objectives

The Canadian NAP includes 5 Objectives as follows:

  • Strategic Objective 1:  Increase the active and meaningful participation of women, including indigenous and local women, in peace operations and peace processes, in the management of conflict situations, and in decision making in all of these areas.
  • Strategic Objective 2:  Increase the effectiveness of peace operations, including the protection and promotion of the rights and safety of women and girls.
  • Strategic Objective 3:  Improve the capacity of Canadian personnel to help prevent violence and to contribute to protecting the human rights of women and girls in the context of peace operations, fragile states, conflict-affected situations and in humanitarian crises or relief and recovery operations.
  • Strategic Objective 4:  Promote and supporting relief and recovery efforts in fragile states and conflict-affected countries in a manner which takes into account the differential experiences of women and men, boys and girls.
  • Strategic Objective 5:  Make the leadership of peace operations more accountable for carrying out their mandated responsibilities by realizing, to the maximum extent practicable, the intent of the UNSCR’s on Women, Peace and Security.
Action/Activities

Canada’s National Action Plan is organized into SCR 1325's four main thematic areas: Prevention, Participation, Protection, Relief and Recovery.

Each thematic area includes a list of areas for action in which some (not all) are linked to specific indicators. For example, thematic area 2 “Participation” includes the following elements:

  • Encourage the active and meaningful participation of women in decision making and in deployments for peace operations, including by identifying and addressing barriers to full participation.
  • Identify Canadian specialists and trainers from various backgrounds with expertise in women, peace and security issues, and assist where practicable their professional development, placement on international deployment rosters or nomination for relevant multilateral assignments.Theoe specialists can also be a source of policy and program advice for Government of Canada departments and agencies.
  • Integrate the participation and representation of women and girls in Government of Canada international security policy frameworks and projects for or in peace operations, fragile states and conflict-affected situations.
  • Encourage troop- and police-contributing countries to foster the participation of women in peace operations and in training relevant to peace operations.
  • Actively encourage UN and other multilateral efforts to involve women, including Indigenous women, in peace agreements and mediation processes, and ensure that such agreements take into account the differential experiences of women and girls, women’s and girls’ human rights and the rights of the child.
  • Support UN human resources reform processes, particularly with regard to recruitment, to increase the number of women in decision-making positions relating to peace and security and, where appropriate, identify strong Canadian candidates for such positions.
Timeframe
Canada's NAP runs through 2016, but does not offer specific timeframe for its actions or indicators.
Budget

There is no dedicated funding or estimated framework for the implementation of the NAP.

No indicators or actions are included that formulate strategies for sourcing increased funding; detail what level of funding is required for which specific activities; or what accountability mechanisms will ensure funding is raised and used in implementing the NAP.

The Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights and Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group have highlighted the absence of dedicated funding, or mechanism to track funding expenditures on the NAP as a key impediment to successful implementation.

Indicators

For each action, Canada's NAP includes a set of indicators.  For example, for action 10 - "Encourage the active and meaningful participation of women in decision making and in deployments for peace operations, including by identifying and addressing barriers to full participation" - in thematic area 2, "Participation and Representation", they outline the following indicators:

  • Number of Canadian strategic-level national and international security policy directives or guiding documents that address the participation of women in decision making.
  • Number of Canadian strategic-level national and international security policy directives or guiding documents that address the deployment of women to peace operations.
  • Number and percentage of female Canadian Forces personnel, police officers and civilian Government of Canada personnel deployed to peace operations.
  • Number and percentage of voluntary selection processes for Government of Canada personnel to deploy on peace operations that offer specific measures which work to identify and address barriers to women's participation.
  • Number and proportion of women in executive-level roles in Government of Canada departments and agencies involved in peace operations, fragile states and conflict-affected situations.
  • Number and percentage of departmental international security policy frameworks that integrate the participation and representation of women and girls.
  • Number of and funding disbursed for Government of Canada funded projects in or for peace operations, fragile states and conflict-affected situations that integrate the participation and involvement of women and girls or work with key stakeholders, including men and boys, to promote increased participation and representation of women and girls.
  • Number of Canadian interventions in the United Nations Security Council, General Assembly, Special Committee on Peacekeeping or other relevant international fora that explicitly encourage troop- and police contributing countries to address the participation of women in peace operations and in training for peace operations.

The action areas are not attached to an allocated or estimated budget, or completion time-frames, and only selected actions are linked to indicators. The responsible actors are listed in an annex to the NAP. 

Monitoring & Evaluation

The Canadian NAP does not include a monitoring and evaluation framework, and instead states that “internal processes within departments and agencies will specify activities and accountabilities in support of the national plan”, based on the actions and indicators provided in the NAP to “to collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative information as to their progress and performance”.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Women Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the NAP and is required to provide annual progress reports, which will be made publicly available. The NAP is subject to a mid-term review in 2013. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is also required to convene regular meetings with the Interdepartmental Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. The Working Group is a government only body and is coordinated by the Women Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Forces’ Women, Peace and Security specialist.

In 2010 the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights conducted a study on the implementation of UNSCR, with a special focus on Canada’s efforts. In relation the NAP, the report made the following recommendations:

  • Specific target benchmarks for each indicator and timelines for achieving them is required.
  • The inclusion of a detailed analysis is needed of the more complex and qualitative aspects of women in situations of armed conflict in the government‘s forthcoming annual reports.
  • The allocation of dedicated and multi-year resources
  • Annual progress reports on the NAP should be tabled in both Houses of Parliament and a parliamentary committee should review progress annually.
Disarmament

Canada's NAP does not offer any specific actions for national disarmament.  It does, however, mention disarmament twice in an international context.  This is mentioned in its fourth thematic area, Relief and Recovery:  

Support projects in or for peace operations, fragile states and conflict situations that integrate the needs and capacities of women and girls in relief and recovery efforts including but not limited to: humanitarian assistance; support to refugees, internally displaced persons, and returnees; disarmament, demobilization, andreintegration (DDR);
Advocate internationally for equal access by female ex-combatants, and by women and girls associated with armed forces or groups, to appropriate benefits and resources from disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programs.