Ireland has adopted three National Action Plans (NAP) to date, in 2011, 2015, and 2019, to be implemented for the period of 2011-2014, 2015-2018, and 2019-2024, respectively. The following is a brief summary and analysis of the 2019-2024 NAP.
Ireland’s third NAP was developed based on the findings and recommendations of the midterm and final reviews of the country’s second NAP, review of 48 written public consultation submissions, and three public consultation workshops attended by over 100 representatives from civil society, academia, and the government.
Ireland’s NAP takes a holistic approach to the WPS Agenda, emphasizing the country’s overarching commitment to advance gender equality in all endeavors and to further examine the gendered impacts of poverty, inequality, climate change, and conflict. In line with this approach, the NAP not only recognizes the need for women’s meaningful participation in matters pertaining to peace, security, and conflict prevention, but also highlights the need for a root cause analysis that examines gender norms that lead to violence, inequality, and conflict (p. 6). The NAP also promotes an integrated agenda by linking WPS-related actions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Ireland’s NAP approaches the implementation of the WPS Agenda both domestically and internationally, and emphasizes the interconnected nature of these two realms (p. 5). The NAP highlights “strengthening the domestic dimension of the NAP” and placing “women and gendered perspectives at the center of our multilateral diplomacy including in the context of Ireland’s candidature to, and prospective membership of, the UN Security Council for the 2021–2022 term” (p. 9) as key highlights of the NAP. Internationally, the NAP identifies Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Zimbabwe as key geographical areas to focus on for humanitarian, peacebuilding, and development action.
Ireland has a longstanding policy of military neutrality, focused on refraining from joining military alliances and promoting international peace and stability. As such, the country is not a member of NATO, but is a signatory to NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program as well as a former contributor to NATO-led missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan. Ireland is also a contributor to UN Peacekeeping Operations, with a total of 626 personnel serving in missions as of July 2019. Ireland both signed and ratified the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which regulates the flow of weapons across international borders.
Ireland is a contributing donor to the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, a global partnership that works to empower women in conflict zones and humanitarian crises. Ireland is also a partner of the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies, a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to mitigate and provide accountability for gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies. Ireland regularly reiterates the country’s commitment to the WPS Agenda, and is currently aspiring for an elected seat on the UN Security Council for the 2021-2022 term.