Implementing the Women, Peace and Security agenda is the responsibility of national governments as well as the UN. Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) contains specific text regarding national implementation, particularly in regard to women's participation in decision-making and peace processes, the protection of women and girls and gender training. Noting slow implementation progress at the national level, in 2004 the Security Council called on Member States to implement resolution 1325 (2000), including through the development of National Action Plans (NAPs) or other national level strategies (S/PRST/2004/40 and S/PRST/2005/52).
National Action Plans offer a tool for governments to articulate priorities and coordinate the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 at national level. NAPs serve as a guiding national policy document that is able to capture the diverse set of government bodies and stakeholders tasked with security, foreign policy, development and gender equality.
NAPs have the potential to be effective tools for realizing the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda because they can mobilize different government branches and are often the result of the combined efforts of government and civil society. A NAP can facilitate non-duplicative interdepartmental coordination and accelerate gender mainstreaming and Security Council Resolution 1325 implementation across government.
Countries can also choose to collaborate on National Action Plans through a process called cross-learning, or twinning. More commonly, intergovernmental organizations develop Regional Action Plans. International and bi-lateral organizations also often offer funding and technical support or are directly involved in the development and implementation of NAPs. For more information on these implementation methods, click here.
National governments are responsible for implementing UN resolutions, while Civil Society holds government accountable by monitoring this implementation. Civil society often plays an important role in the development phase of a NAP, through consultations, submission processes and offering expertise to governments. Civil society will also often have a continuing oversight and monitoring role, being allocated a place in implementation bodies or through shadow reporting functions. The level of civil society involvement varies between nations, however comprehensive NAPs have extensive civil society involvement of civil society in common.
Outside formal processes, Civil Society also typically has an integral role in lobbying for a NAP, localizing implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, through education, training, promotion, advocacy and direct service delivery.
WILPF sections have engaged in many of these NAP processes including WILPF Sweden, WILPF UK, WILPF Australia, WILPF DRC, WILPF US and others. WILPF also recently adopted a Resolution on NAPs setting out WILPF position and calling for National Plans to have an increased focus on the prevention of conflict, including regulation of arms trade and disarmament to fully remedy violations of women’s human rights in conflict.
WILPF supports the need for national and local implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. WILPF underlines that NAPs have the potential of being an effective tool for the implementation of the spirit of UNSCR 1325 only if a comprehensive process is undertaken and as long as it is recognized as a means to an end rather than an end in and of themselves. It is of vital importance that civil society and women’s organizations participate in process of developing a NAP as this serves to promote awareness about the role of gender equality not only to nations in conflict, but also to peaceful nations.