Member States have the power to implement the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in their countries. They can create National or Regional Action Plans to translate their international commitments into national policies. Member States can also make commitments for particular policies, or develop localised initiatives to translate words into impact on the ground.
As of September 2017, there are 63 National Action Plans (NAPs) on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda. The following countries released their NAPs during 2017: Czech Republic, Montenegro, Brazil, Palestine, Nigeria, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Germany.
Despite this expansion of National Action Plans, key gaps remain in both the holistic approach and implementation. Lack of financial resources serves as a major barrier to the successful implementation of National Action Plans. In addition, conflict prevention is a critical, but neglected pillar of the WPS Agenda.
To ensure a holistic approach, National Action Plans should focus on conflict prevention - including regulation of the arms trade and disarmament - in order to uphold the conflict prevention intent of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. However, the three major arms exporting countries with Action Plans - France, the United Kingdom, and the United States - fail to specifically address military spending or armss and their impact on women in conflict and post-conflict countries and within their own borders.
Despite the notable gaps, a handful of the NAPs adopted to date do contain references to the issue of small arms and light weapons (SALW).
The German NAP includes a target to maintain Germany's "Heightened and appropriate attention to the needs of women in the planning and carrying out of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration activities".
The Philippine NAP supports an Arms Trade Treaty accompanied by local legislation on small arms regulation, and commits to confiscating, surrendering and destroying loose arms, and apprehending individuals illegally possessing small arms. The NAP highlights that within the Philippines, "women are intimidated, threatened, harmed and violated with the aid of small arms".
The Serbian NAP also acknowledges that seven percent of women who were victims of family violence were attacked by or threatened with firearms.
The Irish NAP commits to “provide support to programmes that support the inclusion of gender perspectives and women’s effective participation in negotiation and implementation of peace agreements, as well as disarmament, nonproliferation and arms control”
The Liberian NAP commits to training women to address issues related to small arms and the illegal acquisition of arms.
The Ugandan NAP commits to putting in place regional mechanisms to combat arms trafficking and the illegal acquisition of arms.
The NAP of Ghana includes extensive actions relating to disarmament. An objective is noted to ‘promote measures to prevent and/or control misuses of illicit small arms and light weapons’ which includes specific activities on disarmament, prevention and the role of women.
The Japanese NAP includes goals to address the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) process from a gender perspective as well as measures to prevent and address Gender-Based Violence
The NAP of Argentina notes the importance of offering capacity-building to the deployed personnel on peace missions on DDR from a gender perspective in their NAP.
The NAP of Norway will seek to ensure that the gender perspective is taken into account in humanitarian disarmament and efforts against armed violence through action ‘to strengthen the integration of SCR 1325 into processes relating to disarmament and control of conventional weapons, including clearance of unexploded ordnance and assistance to victims’.
A holistic approach that addresses the root causes of conflict in militarised gender inequality is critical to effectively preventing conflict and promoting gender equality and peace.