National Action Plan: Ireland

Flag of IrelandIreland adopted a revised National Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR1325 for the period 2015- 2018. A Consultative Group consisting of statutory bodies, civil society and academic experts created inputs into the consultation process and prepared a Consultation Document which was reviewed by 37 relevant stakeholders through written submissions on how Ireland should renew the NAP. The recommendations of the Monitoring Group of the first NAP (2011-2014), which is referred to as a “living document”, were taken into account when drafting of the recent NAP. In the drafting of the first NAP, Ireland undertook a comprehensive process in developing this plan. Preceding its development, a cross-learning initiative was commenced involving participants from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Liberia and Timor-Leste. The Irish National Action Plan aims to facilitate a deeper understanding of the issues outlined in UNSCR 1325, allowing the goals of the resolution to be better carried out. Ireland consulted with women affected by conflict living in conflict and non-conflict settings to better understand the issue. There is a specific interest in “SMART” indicators used to monitor the commitments and actions specified in the NAP. There is also a lot of emphasis on cross-consultation and the sharing of lessons learned between countries and regions (Miller, Pournik, & Swaine, 2014).

Ireland has a history of ethno-political conflict, lasting from the late 1960’s and ending with the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998. Sporadic intensity conflict has persisted beyond the signing of the agreement, instigated by break-away dissident groups opposed to the peace process. Women’s peace activists and organizations have been integral to grassroots peace-building in Ireland and Northern Ireland, forming coalitions across ethno-political divides and taking a reconciliation and mediation approach to opposing groups within the conflict and localizing the peace agreement at the community level. Women have also been innovative in ensuring that their voices were heard during the peace processes. When faced with exclusion from the peace process, which would only include leaders from the top ten political parties, peace activists Monica McWilliams and May Blood formed the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition and gained a place at the negotiating table.

While Ireland participates on international and regional bodies advocating for the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, there are currently no legislative or constitutional protections to guarantee the political representation of women. Women represent only 15 per cent of elected officials in the lower house and 22 per cent in the upper house. Women may serve in the military without restriction, however, they represent less than 6 per cent of serving personnel and representation declines with seniority. As a result, a low proportion of women are deployed to peacekeeping operations.

 

 

Document PDF: 

Civil Society Organization Report

Irish NAP: Good Practice Guide

Ireland analysis: Miller, Pournik, Swaine

Revised NAP Ireland (2015-2018)

WILPF
WILPF International does not have a country section in Ireland and therefore was not involved in the development process of Ireland’s NAP.
Civil Society Actors

NAP Development

The second NAP of Ireland was developed with advice from a Consultative Group consisting of a balanced representation of  statutory bodies, civil society and academic experts. The Consultative Group was chaired independently and the Conflict Resolution Unit provided a Secretariat.

NAP Implementation

The Monitoring Group overseeing the implementation of Irelands second NAP will consist of 50% civil society organisations. The NAP does not specify which civil society organisations are actively involved with its implementation. However, the first NAP states that the following are included in the implementation process of the NAP: Organizations included: Glencree Peace and Reconciliation, Women’s Group (Wicklow), Works with Israel- PalestineWomen’s Peace Group, CIT Cork, Sexual Violence Centre (Cork), Donegal Women’s Network, Dochas for Women, Galway Travellers Movement, Women into Public Life (Donegal), COPE refuge (Galway), Immigrant Council Ireland, University of Ulster, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Women’s Aid, Cross Border Women’s Reconciliation Project, Global Women’s Studies, Programme Banulacht Trocaire, NUI Maynooth, Amnesty, National Women’s Council of Ireland, Irish Red Cross, UNIFEM (UN Women), Akidwa, Workshop Consultant.

NAP Monitoring and Evaluation

The revised NAP of Ireland states that a Monitoring Group consisting of representatives from relevant statutory bodies (and at least 50% representation from civil society and academia) will oversee the review of progress on achieving objectives, actions and targets across the Plan. The Monitoring Group has four independently chaired meetings every year and will be assisted with technical support and capacity building by the Conflict Resolution Unit in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Evaluation and Audit Unit. The Monitoring Group is set to have “the spirit and ambition of the Women, Peace and Security agenda as a guiding principle”.

Government Actors

NAP Development

A Consultative Group was created with the role to advise and inform the development of the second NAP. The Group consisted of a balanced representation of  statutory bodies, civil society and academic experts. Nominations for members of the Consultative Group were sought from the Monitoring Group of the first NAP and final appointments to the Group was made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Consultative Group prepared a Consultation which was published on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) website. Thereafter, an process receiving written submissions from relevant stakeholders on the revision of the NAP was opened. Input from the Consultative Group alongside recommendations of the Monitoring Group’s Mid-Term Progress Report were guiding principles in drafting the second NAP.

NAP Implementation

Specific government departments are named as actors in the implementation: Defence Forces, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Political Division, Legal Division, Development Cooperation Division, Development Cooperation Division) Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Justice and Equality (Gender Equality Division, Anti-Human Trafficking Unit, Asylum Policy Division), Health Services Executive, An Garda Síochána (Police Force), Health Service Executive.

NAP Monitoring and Evaluation

A Monitoring Group consisting of representatives from relevant statutory bodies and at least 50% representation from civil society and academia will meet four times a year in independently chaired meeting to oversee the implementation of the NAP. The Conflict Resolution Unit is providing a secretariat and technical support and the Monitoring Group is also supported by the Conflict Resolution Unit, in cooperation with Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Evaluation and Audit Unit with capacity building support.

Objectives

The second Irish National Action Plan is organized by four Pillars that closely relate to UNSCR 1325:

  • Prevention (Prevention of Conflict, Including Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA)).

  • Empowerment and Participation (Representation of Women in Decision Making

  • Protection, Relief and Recovery (Protection From Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) and Other Violations of Women’s Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, and Relief, Recovery, and Rehabilitation)).

  • Promotion (Promotion of Women, Peace and Security agenda in International, Regional and National Arenas)

Each Pillar is then broken down into specific objectives. For example, Pillar 1 - "Prevention of Conflict, Including Gender-Based Violence and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse" contains the following specific objectives: 

  • Ireland’s initial work under this pillar of the Women, Peace and Security agenda focused successfully on the provision of comprehensive training to personnel deployed overseas, and capacity building of partners and civil society organisations in conflict affected countries and contexts. The Government of Ireland will continue to strengthen these efforts.

  • Ireland will continue to advocate for open, representative, transparent and effective international organisations and institutions as a driver of stability.

Action/Activities

Each Pillar in the Irish NAP outlines a set of commitments. For example, for Pillar 2 - "Participation and Representation of Women in Decision Making", the NAP gives the following commitments which the Government of Ireland commits to:

  • Implement the commitments relating to the empowerment of women in Ireland’s policy for international development, One World, One Future relating to fragile and humanitarian contexts

  • When working with private sector entities and in promoting Irish interests, seek to promote synergies between this work and the empowerment of women in conflict and post-conflict situations

  • Support the empowerment and participation in decision-making of women on the island of Ireland, including those affected by conflict

  • Increase the participation of women at senior decision making and leadership levels in Irish defence, police and foreign services

  • Incorporate the Women, Peace and Security agenda as a key theme of engagement with situations of fragility

  • Support and promote women peace-builders and a gender perspective in peace-building

  • Support engagement of men in advancing gender equality and other initiatives which promote the principles of Women, Peace and Security
Timeframe
The second Irish NAP covers the period 2015-2018, and does not offers specific years of completion for each indicator, as the first NAP did.
Budget
The second Irish National Action Plan mentions the action of allocating a dedicated budget to the monitoring and evaluation of the NAP, including data collection. The corresponding indicator states that a budget should be made available to increase in availability of data. Other indicators also note the inclusion of dedicated funding to actions relating to the commitments made in the NAP. For instance, Pillar 2´s commitment - “Support the empowerment and participation in decision making of women on the island of Ireland, including those affected by conflict” has the corresponding indicator of “Baseline established of percentage of funding allocated to projects which support the empowerment and participation of women”
Indicators

Ireland's NAP includes a set of indicators for each action. For example, under Pillar 4's fourth action - “Support the implementation of CEDAW general recommendation No. 30 on women in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations” includes the following two indicators:

  • Inclusion of information on the implementation of CEDAW general recommendation No. 30 in Ireland’s periodic report to the Committee

  • Support given to the implementation of the general recommendation in international fora as appropriate
Monitoring & Evaluation

A Monitoring Group, chaired by independent actors and comprised of relevant government departments, Civil Society and academia is responsible for overseeing implementation, and evaluating the second Irish National Action Plan. The Monitoring Group is noted to have “the spirit and ambition of the Women, Peace and Security agenda as a guiding principle”. An independent progress report will be published  two years after the adoption of the NAP and another report will be published at the end of the term of the second NAP. The Monitoring Group will also be “a dynamic and engaged forum for the discussion of implementation of the National Action Plan and other issues relating to Irish engagement with the Women, Peace and Security agenda”. The commitment to fully support  the effective monitoring and evaluation of the commitments of the NAP by the Monitoring Group has a set of actions to be undertaken by various government bodies, such as the Defence Forces and Police Force. Each action also has specific indicators.

Disarmament

Previously, Ireland has been involved in small arms and light weapons (SALW) risk education and explosive remnants of war (ERW) initiatives. Building on this ongoing work, Ireland commits to support and promote women peace-builders and a gender perspective in peacebuilding under Pillar 2.

The following corresponding action includes disarmament: “Provide support to programmes that support the inclusion of gender perspectives and women’s effective participation in negotiation and implementation of peace agreements, as well as disarmament, nonproliferation and arms control” which will be overseen by the Political Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The corresponding indicator is “Level of financial support and number of cases documented where Ireland has encouraged programmes to include a gender perspective”.