Lessons from the Middle East on the drafting of UN Women, Peace and Security national action plans.
Date: Wednesday, October 3, 2018
While the humanitarian crises that followed the Arab uprisings have impacted civilians in affected countries, women are particularly vulnerable and face specific challenges due to historic and structural gender inequalities. In response, Arab governments have increasingly been utilizing the UN Security Council’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS) framework as a tool to address issues of gender inequality in times of conflict. So far, four countries across the region have developed and adopted national action plans on WPS (NAPs-WPS); Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and Tunisia. These documents are strategic and important contributions to address and fulfil the human rights and needs of women and girls in these countries.
As these tools are relatively new in the region, states and civil society actors continue to seek support on how to develop NAPs-WPS that are effective and appropriate for their own context. In response, UN Women has analyzed the NAPs-WPS from Iraq, Jordan and Palestine (Tunisia was not covered as its NAP 1325 passed after the finalization of the report), to highlight good practices and draw lessons from them. The findings of this analysis are included in the publication Balancing Priorities: Lessons From Iraq, Jordan and Palestine for NAP-1325 Drafting Teams.
As other countries in the region are set to develop their own action plans, and NAP-WPS countries begin to develop a second generation of NAPs, this paper seeks to guide and inform the future NAPs-WPS in the region - to provide good practice on action-oriented text to address the range of conflict related issues that affect women and girls.
Fundamentally, the paper notes that it is imperative that the WPS agenda is implemented in ways that fulfil the rights of women and girls. Accordingly, it makes the following recommendations:
- In addressing the rights and needs of women and girls, NAPs-WPS should achieve a balance between practical and strategic needs, and increase the capacity of state actors and institutional engagement in their frameworks;
- As variant identity factors give rise to discriminations that impact women and girls and determine their rights and needs, a framework of inclusion and diversity should support the development of all NAPs-WPS and inform how actions are tailored to diverse populations;
- NAPs-WPS should achieve a balance between highlighting the victimhood of women and providing responses to it, while also including provisions to prevent such violations and promote women as actors in this regard;
- NAPs-WPS should be linked to national commitments to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and other human rights frameworks to promote more coordinated approaches to gender equality at national levels
- To ensure the effectiveness and accountability of NAPs-WPS, a participatory and inclusive monitoring mechanism should accompany their implementation.
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