The Government of Ukraine launched its first National Action Plan (NAP) on February 24, 2016. The NAP was created to establish a framework as well as strategies and actions for coordinated implementation of UNSCR 1325. The NAP aims at contributing towards the elimination of cultural barriers that hinder the full participation of women in all aspects of negotiations and resolution of conflicts and/or matters of peace and security at the national level. The NAP is the result of joint efforts between different national institutions reporting to the Cabinet of Ministries of Ukraine. The Action Plan includes six pillars of action: Peacekeeping and peace-protecting activities; Women’s participation in peacebuilding; Prevention of conflicts and violence; Protection of women and girls affected by conflicts; Provision of assistance and rehabilitation of people affected by conflicts; and Monitoring of the National Action Plan for implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security until 2020. The National Action Plan has both internal and external elements. It aims at eliminating cultural barriers that prevent women from participating in all societal spheres.
Since 2014, Ukraine has experienced armed conflict, civil unrest and ethnic tension which was only intensified by the annexation of Crimea to join the Russian Federation. The fighting between Ukrainian government forces and separatists allegedly supported by the Russian Federation has continued. Women have been deeply affected by displacement in the wake of violence. Due to limited economic opportunities linked to austerity measures, women are forced to bear the burden of care for families with reduced resources, especially for internally displaced women. Despite numerous legislative protections, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and women NGOs have reported an increase in cases of domestic violence, rape, prostitution and survival sex. Widespread cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) have been reported and efforts have been made by the UNFPA to raise awareness and give advice for those women affected.
The internal issues the NAP focuses on include prevention of domestic violence and human trafficking and awareness-raising for survivors of SGBV. The NAP recognises the lack of criminal investigation and prosecution of sexual offenders and aims to improve the mechanism for reporting sexual crimes. The NAP also aims to increase the number of women in military-civil administrations in Eastern Ukraine. The external issues the NAP focuses on include having more women in peacekeeping missions and training social service agencies and armed forces in assisting survivors of sexual violence in conflict areas.