Cross-Learning and Twinning for NAPs

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What is Cross-Learning or Twinning?

Cross-learning or twinning is the process by which two countries seek to support each other on NAP development or implementation. The countries may exchange ideas, experiences and resources in the creation of their plans. Most recently, cross-learning partnerships have been announced between Liberia and Ireland and between East Timor, Finland and Kenya.

Although it is too early in these partnerships for an extensive assessment of cross-learning arrangements, partnering for the creation of NAPs may prove to be a valuable model. Often, a NAP may not be implemented due to lack of funding or capacity, so coordination between a resource-rich country and a resource-poor country may serve to alleviate the financial strain. Other benefits of cross-learning could include:

  • Creating and maintaining international networks on women, peace and security;
  • Offering opportunities to learn from other states' experiences, often in areas of gender training for police and military forces, conduct codes for international peacekeeping staff and gender mainstreaming;
  • Sharing tools and resources for developing and implementing NAPs

Due to the diverse political, social and economic situations of partnered countries, the NAPs formed on women, peace and security issues would likely develop in very different ways. In general, cross-learning cooperation is a challenge to initiate and sustain.

"Bringing experts from different countries and administrative cultures, with no previous experience in international cooperation, to work together efficiently is in general a complex and difficult task." -- Official Journal of the European Union

Additional drawbacks to cross-learning or twinning NAPs have also been cited. Twinning could encourage an uneven, paternalistic relationship between countries with great economic disparity. Furthermore, it could enable a country to bypass national implementation of women, peace and security issues by allowing state actors to treat the agenda solely as an issue of foreign policy.