women outside DRC police station

A group of women take shelter from the rain under the roof of a newly built police station in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Photo: MONUSCO/Sylvain Liechti)

From Global Promise to National Action

Evidence shows that women’s participation in peace and security processes is associated with more successful outcomes. International frameworks on this agenda—like UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325—have advanced accordingly, but the role of national initiatives is less understood.

National action plans to implement UNSCR 1325 on women, peace, and security have tripled in the last several years. Sixty-three countries have now adopted them. New research from Inclusive Security and One Earth Future Foundation shows how these plans raise awareness of women’s distinct priorities for peace at the national level, while also strengthening dialogue among policymakers, civil society, and the security sector.

Our report, From Global Promise to National Action, investigates national strategies for advancing more inclusive approaches to peace and security in four post-conflict settings: the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Philippines, Serbia, and Sierra Leone. The findings are based on interviews with more than 200 government, security sector, and civil society representatives in all four countries.

We discovered that, in each case, governments and civil societies developed national action plans through a broadly inclusive process, increasing collaboration around key peace and security priorities in post-conflict settings that are often plagued by a lack of trust and communication.

This collaborative approach created new avenues for women to inform policymaking and articulate priorities that may otherwise be overlooked.

However, challenges remain in implementing national action plans. Persistent gender discrimination and lack of funding frequently prevented states from achieving their plans’ objectives. When new peace and security challenges emerged—such as Ebola in Sierra Leone or election-related violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo—the plans were not flexible enough to adapt.

In addition, plan implementers frequently failed to get beyond the national level to address provincial and municipal priorities or draw on local-level changemakers. In fact, in the implementation phase, all of the countries struggled with the key components associated with “high-impact” NAPs: political will, coordination, financial support, and monitoring and evaluation of results.

In the report, we argue that these obstacles are significant, but not insurmountable. As countries revise and renew their plans, and new countries seek to create them, this report offers a number of recommendations for advancing progress and deepening impact:

  1. Address structural barriers to women’s participation in peace and security processes;
  2. Create flexible plans that can adapt to new security threats;
  3. Localize plans to address diverse priorities for peace;
  4. Establish accurate cost estimates and identify and allocate sufficient funding in the NAP’s development phase;
  5. Strengthen political will and coordination for implementation; and
  6. Monitor, evaluate, and communicate results.

Read the report.

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