Canadian government drafted a NAP in 2006, which proceeded to consultation with civil society in 2007. The final NAP was not adopted until 2010 and covers the period up to March 31, 2016.
Canada does not have a recent history of internal armed conflict or face serious external armed threats. However, Canada is a contributor to UN Peacekeeping missions, UN sanctioned NATO military missions, international humanitarian relief support and development assistance. As such, the Canadian NAP has been interpreted in an international way, seeking to mainstream gender and implement UNSCR1325 across these activities, particularly as related to peace operations and engagement in fragile states and conflict-affected situations.
The NAP’s development was lead by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade with contribution from, the Department of National Defense, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Public Safety Canada, Status of Women Canada and Justice Canada, as well as Civil Society Organizations.
The stated Objectives of the Canadian NAP are to:
• Increase the active and meaningful participation of women, including indigenous and local women, in peace operations and peace processes, in the management of conflict situations, and in decision making in all of these areas.
• Increase the effectiveness of peace operations, including the protection and promotion of the rights and safety of women and girls.
• Improve the capacity of Canadian personnel to help prevent violence and to contribute to protecting the human rights of women and girls in the context of peace operations, fragile states, conflict-affected situations and in humanitarian crises or relief and recovery operations.
• Promote and supporting relief and recovery efforts in fragile states and conflict-affected countries in a manner which takes into account the differential experiences of women and men, boys and girls.
• Make the leadership of peace operations more accountable for carrying out their mandated responsibilities by realizing, to the maximum extent practicable, the intent of the UNSCR’s on Women, Peace and Security.
See here for why implementation time frames are important and useful.
The Canadian NAP does not have a budget. A lack of dedicated funding is the foremost challenge for NAP implementation. Find examples of budgets built into NAPs here.
There are indicators by which to measure NAP implementation by ministries responsible, however, without a time frame. See here for examples of indicators that are forward looking, time bound, specific and tied to a ministry responsible for implementation.
Theme: Country Context
Canada does not have a recent history of internal armed conflict or face serious external armed threats.
Canada has historically been a significant contributor to UN Peacekeeping missions, however this has declined since 2001, and the government has instead directed resources to UN sanctioned NATO military missions. Canada’s peace and security priorities also include diplomacy, international humanitarian relief support and development assistance.
Canada was a non-permanent member of the Security Council when resolution 1325 was adopted in 2000 and played an important role in its development, and continues to chair the “Friends of Women, Peace, and Security” in Yew York.
Canada took early steps to nationally implement UNSCR1325, establishing the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security in 2001, which is comprised of parliamentarians, Civil Society representatives and government officials. However, Civil Society groups have been critical of the Canadian governments declining commitment since 2001, particularly the delay in adopting the NAP and the reduction in government funding for women’s organizations.
Women are eligible to serve in the Canadian police, peacekeeping forces and military without restriction, however, women representation in security forces is lower than other civilian and public service sectors, and decreases considerably with seniority. Canadian women are also poorly represented in senior security decision making positions and diplomatic posts.
In Civil Society, Canadian women are active agents in peace-building, particularly through domestic and international organizations that work for gender equality, peace and non-violence and equitable, sustainable development. Women’s Civil Society advocating for national implementation of UNSCR1325 were instrumental in lobbying the Canadian NAP and continue to be important in monitoring and promoting the NAP.
Canada’s national context has meant its NAP has been interpreted primarily in an international way, particularly as related to peace operations and engagement in fragile states and conflict-affected situations.
Canada’s National Action Plan is organized into thematic areas which include:
Relief and Recovery
Each thematic area includes a list of areas for action in which some (not all) are linked to specific Indicators. For example, thematic area 2 “Participation” includes the following elements:
Areas of action
• Encourage the active and meaningful participation of women in decision making and in deployments for peace operations, including by identifying and addressing barriers to full participation.
• Identify Canadian specialists and trainers from various backgrounds with expertise in women, peace and security issues, and assist where practicable their professional development, placement on international deployment rosters or nomination for relevant multilateral assignments. These specialists can also be a source of policy and program advice for Government of Canada departments and agencies.
• Integrate the participation and representation of women and girls in Government of Canada international security policy frameworks and projects for or in peace operations, fragile states and conflict-affected situations.
• Encourage troop- and police-contributing countries to foster the participation of women in peace operations and in training relevant to peace operations.
• Actively encourage UN and other multilateral efforts to involve women, including Indigenous women, in peace agreements and mediation processes, and ensure that such agreements take into account the differential experiences of women and girls, women’s and girls’ human rights and the rights of the child.
• Support UN human resources reform processes, particularly with regard to recruitment, to increase the number of women in decision-making positions relating to peace and security and, where appropriate, identify strong Canadian candidates for such positions.
• Number of Canadian strategic-level national and international security policy directives or guiding documents that address the participation of women in decision making.
• Number of Canadian strategic-level national and international security policy directives or guiding documents that address the deployment of women to peace operations.
• Number and percentage of female Canadian Forces personnel, police officers and civilian Government of Canada personnel deployed to peace operations.
• Number and percentage of voluntary selection processes for Government of Canada personnel to deploy on peace operations that offer specific measures which work to identify and address barriers to women's participation.
• Number and proportion of women in executive-level roles in Government of Canada departments and agencies involved in peace operations, fragile states and conflict-affected situations.
• Number and percentage of departmental international security policy frameworks that integrate the participation and representation of women and girls.
• Number of and funding disbursed for Government of Canada funded projects in or for peace operations, fragile states and conflict-affected situations that integrate the participation and involvement of women and girls or work with key stakeholders, including men and boys, to promote increased participation and representation of women and girls.
• Number of Canadian interventions in the United Nations Security Council, General Assembly, Special Committee on Peacekeeping or other relevant international fora that explicitly encourage troop- and police contributing countries to address the participation of women in peace operations and in training for peace operations.
The action areas are not attached to an allocated or estimated budget, or completion time-frames and only selected actions are linked to indicators. The responsible actors are listed in an annex to the NAP.
There is no dedicated funding or estimated resource framework for the implementation of the NAP.
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 Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights and Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group have highlighted the absence of dedicated funding, or mechanism to track funding expenditures on the NAP as a key impediment to successful implementation.
The Canadian NAP does not include a monitoring and evaluation framework, and instead states that “internal processes within departments and agencies will specify activities and accountabilities in support of the national plan”, based on the actions and indicator provided in the NAP to “to collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative information as to their progress and performance”.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Women Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the NAP and is required to provide annual progress reports, which will be made publicly available. The NAP is subject to a mid-term review in 2013.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is also required to convene regular meeting with the Interdepartmental Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. The Working Group is a government only body and is coordinated by the Women Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Forces’ Women, Peace and Security specialist.
In 2010 the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights conducted a study on the implementation of UNSCR, with a special focus on Canada’s efforts. In relation the NAP, the report made the following recommendations:
• Specific target benchmarks for each indicator and timelines for achieving them is required.
• The inclusion of a detailed analysis is needed of the more complex and qualitative aspects of women in situations of armed conflict in the government‘s forthcoming annual reports.
• The allocation of dedicated and multi-year resources
• Annual progress reports on the NAP should be tabled in both Houses of Parliament and a parliamentary committee should review progress annually.
Civil Society groups have echoed these recommendations, which are summarized in the Civil Society section below.
You can read the full senate report here
Theme: Civil Society Actors
Civil Society participated in consultations following the Canadian governments drafting on the NAP. There was a significant delay in this consultation phase and the release of the NAP, in which Civil Society groups continued to lobby for it’s speedy adoption.
There is no joint Civil Society / government task force or mechanism for ongoing Civil Society engagement. Civil Society has no representation in the Interdepartmental Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. The NAP states that Civil Society engagement will be sought throughout the NAP’s lifetime, however, the Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group has reported that attempts to engage with and participate in the Working Group have been unsuccessful.
Civil Society has taken an active role independent of these formal processes. In 2009 Peacebuild established the Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group, which is active in monitoring and promoting the implementation of UNSCR1325. Civil Society has been critical of the Canadian governments declining commitment to the implementation of UNSCR1325.
In its most recent Civil Society Monitoring report the Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group made the following recommendations:
• Full and transparent reporting on all indicators in the National Action Plan is possible in 2012.
• Dedicated resources and accountability mechanisms
• Senior leadership on the NAP
• More critical reporting and analysis of implementation efforts and plans for
• Annual progress reports should be tabled in both houses of Parliament and should be reviewed by a parliamentary committee.
• Funding to organizations that promote the full and equal participation of women including women’s rights organizations in Canada and internationally,
• Consistent, explicit commitments as expressed in the National Action Plan should inform and be reflected in major diplomatic, defense and development policy and programs
• Clear policy direction should be provided to all relevant government departments indicating requirements and accountability structures on women, peace and security issues.