France has developed a National Action plan or implementation of UNSCR 1325 for the period 2010-2013.
France has no recent experience of conflict, but is a contributor to international humanitarian aid, assistance, peacekeeping operations and diplomatic efforts through regional and international bodies. As such, the French NAP has been interpreted in a largely international way, seeking to mainstream the implementation of Women Peace and Security across these activities.
The development of the French NAP evolved from meeting of the CEDAW/CEDEF Committee in Paris, which was devoted to the rights of women in crisis and post-conflict situations and to the issues of protection and the participation of women in decision-making processes. Civil society was consulted during the drafting phases of the NAP, particularly through the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, an independent body with a pluralistic Civil Society membership, charged with advising government on human rights issues.
The stated objectives of the NAP are:
“The ability to draw up consistent and concerted policies and strategies on women and armed conflict and to effectively translate them into action that reinforces the protection of women and promotes their equal participation in decision making processes depends on the consultation and governance mechanisms employed.”
Theme: Country Context
France has considerable influence in matters of peace and security as a political and military power, nuclear armed state and permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Women may serve in the national police, but are subject to combat restrictions in the national defense forces and may not serve on submarines in the Navy. Women represent less than 20 per cent of serving personnel and representation decreases with seniority. France has no constitutional gender quota, but mechanisms in electoral law to protect the representation of women at the party level. Despite this, women remain below 30 per cent of elected representatives in both the lower and upper houses.
During the French presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2008, France made combating violence against women and promoting the role of women in conflict resolution and post conflict reconstruction its Human Rights priority. As a permanent member of the Security Council, France also has an important role to play in ensuring the Women Peace and Security are integrated into the ongoing work of the Council.
As a non-conflict country, France has elected to nationally implement UNSCR 1325 in an international way, with a domestic focus on increasing women’s participation in spheres of peace and security.
The French National Action Plan is organized by four thematic areas as follows:
1. Protecting women against violence and working to ensure respect for their fundamental rights
2. Participation of women in managing conflict and post-conflict situations
3. Raising awareness of respect for women’s rights in training programmes
4. Developing political and diplomatic action
Each thematic area is broken down into a General Objective, and a set of Specific Objectives. For example, thematic area 1 “Protecting women against violence and working to ensure respect for their fundamental rights” contains the following elements:
General objective: To ensure that the rights of women are taken into account and effectively respected and to implement the specific protections that are needed to assist populations that are victims of armed conflict, especially refugee and internally displaced women and women in post conflict situations.
Each objective is linked to a time-frame and a responsible actor in a separate annex to the NAP. The NAP does not include an allocated or an estimated budget.
The NAP does not include an allocated or an estimated budget. No indicators or actions are included that formulate strategies for sourcing increased funding, detail what level of funding is required for which specific activities, or what accountability mechanisms will ensure funding is raised and used in implementing the NAP.
A notation on the budget states:
“Given the political and diplomatic nature of certain commitments and the fact that the present action plan makes it possible to coordinate existing policies and programmes, the action plan is not covered by an autonomous budget.”
The French National Action Plan is a ‘living document’ which is subject to open and ongoing review.
A Steering Committee comprised of responsible government departments is tasked with coordinating implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The Steering Committee is required to meet bi-annually, in addition to holding ad hoc meetings as required.
Civil Society will be invited to participate in the bi-annual meetings which include the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, women’s rights organizations specializing in peace and security issues and parliamentary women’s rights and gender equality delegations.
An annual progress report will be prepared by the Steering Committee and tabled in parliament. The NAP will apply the monitoring indicators developed by the European Union
Theme: Civil Society Actors
Civil society was consulted during the drafting phases of the NAP and has an ongoing specified role in the implementation Steering Committee.
This includes women’s organizations and the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, an independent body with a pluralistic civil society membership, charged with advising government on human rights issues.