Austria developed its first National Action Plan in 2007 and is now in its second generation NAP following the Austrian government’s 2010 review. A revised NAP was launched in 2012 for period inclusive to 2016.
Austria has no recent experience of conflict and does not face any external armed threat, but is a key contributor to UN peacekeeping missions and provider of international aid and humanitarian assistance. As such, the Austrian NAP has been interpreted in a largely international way, seeking implement UNSCR 1325 and coordinate humanitarian, diplomatic, peacekeeping and development policy activities.
The NAP was developed by the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, the Federal Chancellery, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports and the Austrian Development Agency. Civil Society representatives were consulted prior to the development of the first NAP and are required to have input into the review processes, however this did not occur.
The NAP compliments other national policy objectives seeking to mainstream gender and UNSCR 1325 and 1820, including the National Action Plan on Combating Human Trafficking and the Strategic Guideline on Security and Development.
The stated Objectives of the Austrian NAP are to:
• Increase the representation of women as well as enhanced consideration of the objectives defined in Resolution 1325 in training activities for international peace operations
• Strengthen the participation of women in peace promoting and conflict resolving activities, especially by promoting local peace initiatives by women and increasing the share of women in decision-making positions in international and European organizations
• Prevent gender-specific violence and protecting the needs of women and girls within the scope of peace missions, humanitarian operations and in camps for refugees and internally displaced persons.
Austria has no recent experience of conflict and does not face any external armed threat, but is a key contributor to UN peacekeeping operations and provider of international aid and humanitarian assistance.
Austrian women are eligible to volunteer for service in police and the military without restriction, however are not subject to compulsory service (men aged 18-35 are required to serve for at least 6 months). Women represent a small minority of those employed across security intuitions and face discrimination and resistance to their presence and advancement.
Austria has a constitutional quota which reserves 11 per cent of seats in the lower house; however this has proved to be a glass ceiling.
Austrian women have historically been important to advancing gender equality and peace advocacy, particularly during the first and second World Wars. Austrian women participated in the First International Women's Congress, and despite being actively persecuted during WWII, the Austrian National Council of Women survived and provided consistent powerful voices in calling for gender equality, political resolution of conflict and universal disarmament. Organizations such as Care Austria continue to play an important role in advancing these objectives.
Austria is an important contributor to international peace and security through its peace operations and development assistance. However, Austrian women are greatly underrepresented in security institutions, public office and decision making positions, and face high levels of discrimination. Despite the presence of such issues, the NAP does not seek to address these domestic inequities, instead focusing on women’s participation in regional and international fora.
The Austrian National Action Plan is organized by national, international/regional and bilateral, and development cooperation activities, which includes:
Activities in Austria
• Coordination, Monitoring and Reporting
• Recruitment for International Peace Operations, Nominations for Leadership Positions in International Organizations and for Elections Monitoring Missions
• Training and Code of Conduct
Austrian Activities in International and Supranational Organizations and in Bilateral Contacts
• United Nations
• European Union
• Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
• Bilateral Contacts
Activities in the Field of Development Cooperation
• Support for Programs and Projects Run by Regional and International Organizations
• Support for Programs and Projects in Fragile, Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations
Each strategic area is prefaced by an explanation of the strategic area and Austria’s priorities. This is broken down to a set of specific Activities, Status (current activities) and Indicators. For example in strategic area three “Activities in the Field of Development Cooperation”, is the primary responsibility of the Austrian Development Agency.
The projects and programmes supported by Austrian Development Agency are allocated to three core areas of “participation”, “prevention” and “protection, security and human rights” and the strategic area is also organized by these core areas.
In strategic area three “Activities in the Field of Development Cooperation”, the first priority “Support for Programs and Projects Run by Regional and International Organizations” contains the following elements:
• Promoting political participation of women. Strengthening the representation of women though capacity-building.
• Strengthening the implementation of Resolution 1325 by way of applying the indicators.
• Promoting public relations work and awareness raising on the rights of women.
Protection, security and human rights
• Promotion of a consistent and systematic prosecution of perpetrators and strengthening the fight against impunity.
• Provision of technical support to security sector reform and monitoring activities.
• Support for UN Women in a project aimed at promoting the political participation of women in the democratic transition process in Egypt.
• Support for UN Women in a project aimed at involving women in building peace and security, inter alia in the pilot countries Haiti, Liberia, Timor Leste and Uganda
• Support for the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women
• Support for the Women, Gender and Development Directorate of the African Union.
• Support for measures aimed at strengthening participation and the total amount of financial support provided
• Support for measures aimed at strengthening prevention and the total amount of financial support provided.
• Support for measures aimed at strengthening protection, security and human rights and the total amount of financial support provided
Each set of Activities is linked to a time-frame, however many are simply ‘ongoing’. Responsible actors for implementation are linked to activities and indicators. There is no allocated or estimated budget for implementation.
View all indicators here
The Austrian NAP does not contain an allocated or estimated budget, and instead states that “Financing of the activities resulting from implementation of the Action Plan will be ensured by the responsible ministries within the funds available in their respective budgets.”
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.
The implementation of the National Action Plan is monitored and supervised by an Inter-ministerial Working Group, which is led by the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and comprised of representatives of all relevant ministries and the Austrian Development Agency.
The working group is required to provide annual progress reports to the Austrian Council of Ministers, which is then forwarded to Parliament. Civil society is required to have input into the review process, facilitated primarily through annual joint meetings, and the provision of ad hoc civil society representation to the working group. Civil Society input must be sought in advance of preparing annual reports. As noted, this did not occur during the life of the first NAP.
Coordination, Monitoring and Reporting is a priority within the “Activities in Austria” strategic area of the NAP. As such, specific activities, indicators, time-lines and responsible actors are articulated.
Annual reports must forwarded to the Parliament and made publicly available through departmental websites.
A comprehensive review of the NAP, in cooperation with Civil Society is scheduled for 2016.
Theme: Civil Society Actors
Ten civil society organizations and three specific organizations (CARE Austria, University of Vienna – Department of International Relations, and Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights) were consulted prior to the development of the first NAP, and although it was mandated in the NAP, Civil Society were not provided opportunity to have input into the review that informed the current revised NAP.
Civil society has an ongoing specified role in providing input on specific cases and to annual reporting. The first and revised NAP articulate that the Inter-ministerial Working Group must hold at least one meeting In with Civil Society each year, however Civil Society implementation reviews have noted that although the Inter-ministerial Working Group has been accessible to Civil Society on an ad hoc basis, the requirement to schedule formal meetings had not been met. Further, although required in the NAP, implementation reviews for the first NAP were conducted without Civil Society consultation.
Civil Society also has a role outside the limited formal mechanisms specified in the NAP, particularly through oversight, promoting UNSCR 1325, education and training, as well as cooperation and support with international organizations and women at the grass roots level. Civil Society in Austria has lacked coordination, and in recognizing this in 2008 CARE Austria initiated the informal Group of Friends of UN SCR 1325, which has met on a semi-regular basis with government ministries and civil society groups.