Progress Report for Canada’s National Action Plan 2017–2022 for the Implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security Fiscal Year 2018–19
The year 2020 will mark 20 years since the adoption of landmark UN Security Council Resolution 1325 – the cornerstone of the women, peace and security agenda. It is also the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a breakthrough moment for women’s rights and gender equality, and the fifth anniversary of the international community’s agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals. Taken together, these important international commitments are key to achieving sustainable peace, and the milestones merit celebration, reflection and redoubling of efforts. Canada played a significant role in advocating for these important global norms and remains seized of the need to translate the ideals of these norms into lived reality.
Toward 2020: With the countdown toward the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 well underway, the Government of Canada’s objectives are focused on the work ahead. The anniversary must not mark the end of two decades, but the continuation of momentum towards sustainable peace. The Government of Canada is working to continuously improve on the tools at its disposal to carry out this important work.
In 2017, the Government of Canada launched an ambitious second National Action Plan for the Implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (Action Plan). This five-year roadmap galvanizes efforts toward more peaceful and secure nations and communities at home and abroad.
During the period covered by this Progress Report, Canada has seized new opportunities to lead global women, peace and security (WPS) initiatives, advanced WPS in regional and international forums, stood firmly against attempts to rollback gains made on WPS, strengthened partnerships with other countries and with civil society, raised the bar on implementation of the Action Plan – including by appointing a new Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security – and increased the Action Plan’s domestic focus.
Since then, the global COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront the importance of implementing the WPS agenda in responding to crises and conflict. Women have been on the frontlines of the pandemic response, including women peacebuilders, who continue to advocate for ceasefires and humanitarian access and contribute to conflict prevention during the crisis. Given the prominence of women’s contributions on the front lines of the response to COVID-19, Canada has an opportunity to ensure that women’s inclusion and leadership in peace and security processes comes out stronger from this crisis. While this report does not cover Canada’s efforts in this regard as it falls outside the period covered, the next report will address how Canada is championing the full implementation of the WPS agenda in response to COVID-19.
The government is deeply grateful for the continued guidance provided by Indigenous and civil society partners through the Action Plan’s Advisory Group. We thank its co-chair, the Women, Peace and Security Network-Canada, and congratulates it on its incorporation as a not-for-profit organization. The government welcomes this step towards increased capacity and engagement, as it is through this dialogue with civil society that Canada will continue to improve its ability to fully and effectively implement the WPS agenda in the future.
Canada seized numerous opportunities to show global leadership in integrating gender equality into peace and security activities:
- The implementation of the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations progressed significantly, in particular with the launch by the UN of the Elsie Initiative Fund for Uniformed Women in Peace Operations in March 2019. This fund will, among other goals, test the impact of financial premiums in incentivizing a faster pace of change in increasing the meaningful participation of women in UN peace operations.
- In July 2019, Canada took the lead of the WPS Chief of Defence Staff Network, which aims to improve WPS integration into national armed forces, and released Integrating Gender Perspectives in Operations, a tool to assist Canadian Armed Forces members in applying gender considerations.
- Canada launched implementation guidance for the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers that strengthened the Principles’ gender dimensions, and announced the establishment of the Dallaire Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security located within the Canadian Defence Academy.
- By hosting the Challenges Forum in Montréal in June 2019, Canada was able to further promote the importance of the gender dimensions in the United Nations Secretary-General’s landmark Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) Initiative.
- In response to the Rohingya refugee crisis, Canada piloted a gender-responsive humanitarian action plan to improve leadership, accountability and coordination on the ground.
- During 2019-2020, Canada leads the global Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies, a multi-stakeholder forum launched in 2013 to fundamentally transform the way gender-based violence is addressed in humanitarian emergencies.
- In the disarmament realm, Canada announced in April 2019 that it would serve as a champion for the Full and Equal Participation of Women in Decision-Making Processes action items in the Secretary General’s Agenda for Disarmament, working together with co-champions Sweden and Spain.
Canada strengthened a number of partnerships to drive transformational change on key aspects of the WPS agenda:
- At the Women Deliver Conference hosted in Vancouver in June 2019, Canada committed up to $300 million in official development assistance to establish a new partnership with the philanthropic community, the private sector, and not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations. Known as the Equality Fund, the new partnership will mobilize unprecedented levels of resources and create a sustainable source of funding for women’s organizations and movements in developing countries, including to support peacebuilding efforts.
- Canada is also a top donor to the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF), contributing $1.5 million in 2018–2019. WPHF is a global pooled-funding mechanism that aims to re-energize action and stimulate a significant increase in financing for women’s participation, leadership and empowerment in humanitarian response and peace-and-security settings. In Iraq, for instance, WPHF supported Iraqi women and girls to combat violent extremism, increased their participation in peace processes across five provinces affected by Daesh, and contributed to the provision of legal and psychological support.
Canada worked assiduously to advance WPS in regional and multilateral forums:
- Canada was instrumental in the 2019 adoption of the first ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) ministerial statement on WPS. Canada partnered with co-sponsors to draft a statement that reflected the ARF’s priorities, strengths and abilities to promote the WPS agenda in the Asia-Pacific region. This ministerial statement lays the groundwork for continued efforts to advance the WPS agenda through the ARF.
- G7 members continued to advance the G7 WPS Partnerships Initiative, which was launched under Canada’s presidency of the G7 in 2018. Through this partnership, Canada supported the renewal of Côte d’Ivoire’s National Action Plan. In 2019, the G7 also renewed its commitment to advance WPS with the adoption of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Dinard Declaration on Women, Peace and Security.
- By supporting the offices of the African Union’s Special Envoy on WPS and the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for WPS, Canada contributed to deeper mainstreaming of WPS objectives in these critical organizations.
- In June 2019, Canada acceded to the Arms Trade Treaty, the first international treaty to address the connection between conflict-related sexual violence and the international arms trade.
Finally, over the reporting period Canada raised the bar significantly on its own implementation of the Action Plan, especially domestically:
- Canada appointed its first WPS Ambassador to provide advice to Action Plan ministers on strengthening the implementation of the Action Plan.
- In December 2018, the Government of Canada released a National Strategy on Countering Radicalization to Violence, which explicitly considers gender dynamics.
- In collaboration with Indigenous organizations and experts, the government expanded the Action Plan to address the experiences of Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people in Canada, and to promote their rights and safety. The recommendations of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls will be taken into account in this work.
- The Government of Canada developed a new Gender Results Framework, introduced in Budget 2018, to track how Canada performs in advancing gender equality in Canada and around the world. Its goals and indicators align with the Action Plan and also contribute to Canada’s advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Government of Canada intended to table the 2018-2019 annual report in September 2019, however, the tabling was delayed due to the government transition period following the 2019 fall election, and the unforeseen consequences of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
On June 12, 2019, Canada appointed Jacqueline O’Neill as Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security. Ambassador O’Neill will provide advice to Action Plan ministers on the implementation of the National Action Plan, engage and consult with stakeholders, and represent the Minister of Foreign Affairs in related activities. Her work will help identify additional opportunities for engagement and improvement in the government’s implementation of the Action Plan.
With the Equality Fund, Canada supports a shift in power to support women’s organizations and the women pushing back against the push back. Behind this effort is Canada’s and the international community’s best in philanthropy, feminist leadership, banking and investment, and international development. Canada’s foundational $300 million to establish the Equality Fund, along with its $150 million Women’s Voice and Leadership signature initiative, puts Canada amongst the world’s top donors to women’s organizations and movements in developing countries.
“The Arms Trade Treaty sets a real global standard, and helps prevent human rights abuses and protect lives. It is about protecting people from arms. It ensures countries effectively regulate the international trade of arms, so they are not used to support human rights abuses, gender-based violence, terrorism, international organized crime, or violations of international humanitarian law.”
– The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs (2017-2019)
Canada’s second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security for the period 2017–2022Footnote 1 calls for a government-wide approach to improving security, promoting gender equality, preventing conflict and building sustainable peace. It aims to ensure a coherent response to the needs identified in the WPS agenda and to advance the agenda together with Canadian and international partners. The Action Plan is central to Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy, which includes the Feminist International Assistance and Canadian defence policies.
Federal partners responsible for implementing Canada’s Action Plan are Global Affairs Canada, the Department of National Defence (DND), the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Public Safety Canada (PS), Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the Department of Justice, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC), and Indigenous Services Canada (ISC).
This report and the attached departmental progress reports outline achievements toward meeting the objectives and targets outlined in the Action Plan and in the related implementation plans defined by each federal partner. These plans have been revised and strengthened since the last progress report was tabled in September 2018, and CIRNAC and ISC will launch a new implementation plan that seeks to improve the situation for Indigenous women and girls in Canada and abroad.
Canada’s second Action Plan provided government departments with clear objectives and political impetus to enhance the integration of the WPS agenda into their work. It also provided a framework for transparent and inclusive dialogue with civil society and Indigenous organizations through the Advisory Group, annual progress reports and publicly available departmental implementations plans.
Canada’s Action Plan sets out the Government of Canada’s specific commitments to advance the WPS agenda for the period 2017–2022. The Action Plan commits Canada to:
- increase the meaningful participation of women, along with women’s organizations and networks, in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict state-building;
- prevent, respond to and end impunity for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) perpetrated in conflict and sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by peacekeepers and other international personnel, including humanitarian and development staff;
- promote and protect women’s and girls’ human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in fragile, conflict and post-conflict settings;
- meet the specific needs of women and girls in humanitarian settings, including the upholding of their sexual rights and access to sexual and reproductive health services; and
- strengthen the capacity of peace operations to advance the WPS agenda, including by deploying more women and fully embedding the WPS agenda into CAF operations and police deployments.
The above objectives apply to all of Canada’s efforts across development, diplomacy, humanitarian and peace and security interventions in all fragile and conflict-affected states, and to efforts within Canada related to these issues. Action Plan partners have also committed to improving their own capacity and tools to effectively implement the key objectives of the action plan. The implementation plan for each federal partner defines specific commitments toward these objectives and the attached departmental progress reports summarize recent achievements.
During the second year of Action Plan implementation, a number of internal and external challenges have shaped the outcomes described in this report.
The challenges of working in fragile and politically unstable contexts present, at times, significant barriers to implement the WPS agenda on the ground. For example, the violent uprisings in Haiti during the past year highlighted the urgent need to support women and girls and promote respect for their human rights, while the deteriorating security situation prevented Canada’s implementing partners from advancing such efforts.
Despite global progress, including through the adoption of 83 National Action Plans worldwide, implementation of the WPS agenda is lagging. The October 2019 annual report of the UN Secretary General noted the low level of women’s participation in peace and security efforts; the record levels of political violence targeting women; the continued use of sexual violence during conflict; the persistent targeting of refugee and displaced women; the increasing need for humanitarian aid and protection, including sexual and reproductive health services; the enduring low levels of aid funding for women’s organizations in conflict-affected states; and the rising misogynistic, sexist and homophobic speech by political leaders that leads to increased violence against women, LGBTQ2I+ individuals, women human rights defenders and women peacebuilders.
Significant challenges also arose in multilateral forums, as pushback against women’s human rights and the rights of LGBTQ2I+ people is becoming increasingly common. In particular, during negotiations on resolutions and statements, other Member States increasingly contested language referring to gender, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). For example, during negotiations for Security Council Resolution 2467 (2019) on sexual violence in conflict, references to SRHR and LGBTQ2I+ persons were deleted or severely weakened, and for the first time a WPS resolution was not passed by consensus.
During the past year, Canada stepped up its efforts to support the meaningful participation of women in formal and informal peace negotiations. However, despite repeated global calls for the increased participation of women, their low participation remains pervasive in all ongoing peace talks, including in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Libya, Mali and Yemen. There has also been an equally concerning general downtrend in the inclusion of gender provisions in peace agreements.
Canada is proud to have met the targets set by the UN’s Uniform Gender Parity Strategy for women’s participation in peace operationsFootnote 2. However, despite Canada’s leadership, the participation rate of women in peace operations overall remains low, and without significant acceleration in the rate of change it is unlikely that the target set by the United Nations to double the number of women peacekeepers deployed to peace operations will be met.
While not an exhaustive list of global challenges, the situations described illustrate an increasingly difficult global context in which to advance the WPS agenda, and which Canada must navigate while implementing this Action Plan.
Challenges internal to the Government of Canada also exist. The National Action Plan sets out a high level of ambition that requires ongoing and sustained efforts to attain the objectives by 2022. In particular, further training, increased outreach, improved coherence on language and concepts, and the development of additional tools are required to support the meaningful advancement of the agenda across the country.
Furthermore, the ability to accurately measure results as part of the annual reporting exercise for the Action Plan continues to pose some challenges. As the Action Plan is only in its second year of implementation, it is still too early to show tangible results or meaningful change for some targets. Attribution of results also presents a methodological challenge: as Canada works to address complex global issues in collaboration with other Member States and organizations, results cannot be easily ascribed to a single effort or actor in any given context. Since the publication of the first progress report, implementing partners have leveraged best practices to improve their implementation plans by shifting indicators, adding or adjusting targets, and updating activities to better capture and measure the results of Canada’s efforts.
This section summarizes results stemming from Canada’s efforts for fiscal year 2018–19 (April 1, 2018–March 31, 2019) to implement the Action Plan’s five main objectives.
Further can be found in the departmental progress reports that complement this summary narrative. The reports assign each target one of five ratings to measure progress: too early to report; attention required; mostly on track; on track; and target achieved or surpassed. This summary provides an aggregated rating of targets found in the implementation plans for the year in review and includes illustrative examples of Canada’s results.
Objective 1: Increase the meaningful participation of women, women’s organizations and networks in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict statebuilding
Rating: On Track
In the last year, Canada has supported conflict prevention, post-conflict peacebuilding, and conflict resolution initiatives that range from formal track one peace negotiations to local peacebuilding and mediation efforts. Canada has focused on promoting women’s meaningful participation at the earliest stages of these efforts. Through working directly with women’s rights organizations and women peacebuilders, Canada has advanced their important work, advocacy and self-organization.
- In Syria, Canadian programming and advocacy resulted in more women participating in the Syria Civil Defense (White Helmets), with the number of women volunteers recruited and trained increasing from 62 to 290 in 2018–2019; an additional 20 women were recruited to management positions; and two women were elected to its Board of Directors. Canada’s efforts also facilitated the creation of a political platform for the Syrian Women’s Political Movement (SWPM) and strengthened the capacity of Syrian civil society to participate in political dialogue.
- In Myanmar, as Chair of the Joint Peace Fund (JPF), Canada helped initiate the JPF Troika's WPS Platform and brought together women leaders and decision-makers from diverse backgrounds to advance women's roles in the peace process and integrate gender into policies and procedures in the overall process. By focusing on reducing barriers to women’s leadership, JPF’s work has directly facilitated women’s participation in the peace process, such as by supporting childcare facilities for working mothers participating in related activities and events.
- In South Sudan, Canada funded a gender advisor in the office of the Special Envoy on South Sudan of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The IGAD Gender Advisor helped to enhance the participation of South Sudanese women and inclusion of their perspectives in the peace negotiations in South Sudan. As a result, the Signed Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) agreement included key provisions to enhance gender equality and women’s full participation in the implementation of peace, including representation in all of the transitional governance institutions in the executive branch and legislature of South SudanFootnote 3.
- On the Korean peninsula, Canada supports Korean women’s participation in the peace process by funding Korea Peace Now!, a global campaign between Women Cross DMZ, Nobel Women’s Initiative, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the Korean Women’s Movement for Peace. Launched in March 2019, this campaign seeks to educate, organize and advocate for peace on the Korean Peninsula by advancing women’s leadership and gender-based analysis.
- In Mali, Canada’s support to Peace Direct has resulted in 40 women’s groups and networks receiving peacebuilding training, and an additional 147 women and girls from different regions increasing their capacity to develop and implement effective strategies to advocate for their inclusion in the peace process.
- In Iraq, Canadian women police officers contributed to the successful training of 25 Iraqi women police officers in Erbil (Iraqi Kurdistan) and another 63 in Baghdad. Canadian support for women’s organizations and networks, such as the Cross-Sector Task Force for WPS, helped create platforms for women to voice their security needs and develop solutions tailored to the local contexts. This was accomplished in collaboration with police services and customary, religious and political leaders in areas liberated from Daesh.
- In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Canada’s support to Fonds pour les femmes congolaises resulted in 196 women from 10 provinces being trained in civic education and electoral conflict management. Of these, 131 women were accredited and deployed to observe the Presidential elections.
- In Colombia, Canada continued programming and advocacy efforts to strengthen the role of women, including Indigenous women, in the peace process. For example, Canada chaired the International Cooperation Gender Coordination Group until the end of 2018. This group is an important element of Colombia’s donor coordination architecture, and gathers 43 organizations, including bilateral and multilateral donors, United Nations agencies and international non-governmental organizations, to coordinate advocacy and development cooperation efforts focused on gender equality and women’s rights. This group was instrumental in promoting women’s participation in the peace process and implementation of the peace agreement by facilitating dialogue with key Government of Colombia decision-makers and advancing policy reforms that made progress on gender equality in Colombia.
- In Burundi, Canada supported 50 young women from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds to meet with politicians, academics and civil society to advocate for policies and programs that meet their needs and priorities. Through this advocacy, these young women had a platform to express themselves and to influence decision makers by building awareness among key government officials.
- Sixty local women’s rights organizations received funding through Canada’s Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), and disbursements of over $2.8 million (or approximately 100 projects out of 600) directly advanced the WPS agenda (representing a slight increase from last year). Recognizing that grassroots organizations often do the hard work of peacebuilding, CFLI intentionally funds small-scale, high-impact projects with average budgets of $25,000. The simplified application and reporting requirements associated with projects of this scale enable for small, new and maturing organizations to access funding.
- Canada’s National Action Plan on WPS is expanding to address the experiences of Indigenous women and girls. The WPS agenda has been historically silent on the experiences of Indigenous women and girls, and with the development of a new implementation plan for CIRNAC and ISC, Canada will be one of the first countries to officially recognize the need for an expanded understanding of women, peace and security. This process has been strongly informed by the Action Plan Advisory Group, civil society, Indigenous women and Indigenous organizations.
- In March 2019, the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence (Canada Centre) hosted Countering Radicalization to Violence, a series of events that brought together international and Canadian experts and practitioners. One of the sessions featured the all-day symposium Best Practices for Integrating Gender into Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Efforts. A summary of best practices will be published with the goal of assisting the design, implementation and evaluation of CVE programs.
- Canada consistently raised the issue of women’s participation and advocated for the inclusion of women’s organizations and networks in country-specific, thematic and regional meetings of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). Through Canada’s role as Chair for the PBC’s Sierra Leone configuration, the PBC maintained a strong focus on equal rights and empowerment of women and girls, as well as on women’s political participation.
Canadian programming and advocacy support enabled the Syrian Civil Defence (the White Helmets) to increase the number of women on its board of directors and as emergency first responders, and create broad recognition of the important and unique role women play in the organization. During the reporting period, the number of women volunteers recruited and trained increased from 62 to 290; an additional 20 women were recruited to management positions; and two women were elected to the Board of Directors.
“Educate girls who are victims of unwanted pregnancies to return to school for a better future.”
- A young Burundian woman’s recommendation to her country’s political leadership
Objective 2: Prevent, respond to and end impunity for sexual and gender-based violence, and sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers and other international personnel, including humanitarian and development staff
Rating: Mostly On Track
Preventing conflict-related SGBV, supporting survivors and ensuring accountability remains a top priority for the government. This also holds true for addressing SEA by peacekeepers and international assistance personnel who are entrusted to protect the most vulnerable.
- In Mali and South Sudan, Canada worked to prevent and respond to SGBV by supporting women and survivors. For example, Canada supported an initiative in Mali that provided legal assistance to over 1,200 women who survived sexual violence. In South Sudan, Canada provided programming support to an innovative project that trained women to leverage media and the arts to prevent and respond to SGBV.
- Through its support to UN Women, Canada deployed SGBV investigators to the Burundi Commission of Inquiry (OHCHR), Côte d’Ivoire Investigation (ICC), Mali Commission of Inquiry (MINUSMA), Myanmar Fact-Finding Mission (OHCHR), Occupied Palestinian Territory Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 Protests (OHCHR), Syrian Commission of Inquiry (OHCHR), Syria IIIM and the Yemen Group of Eminent Experts (OHCHR). These deployments ensured that survivors of sexual and gender-based crimes were engaged by professional investigators who upheld the principle of “do no harm” and knew how to overcome the specific challenges in sexual violence investigations. Sexual and gender-based crimes were also documented so that perpetrators can one day be held to account and survivors can access justice.
- Canada advocated for the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Dinard Declaration on WPS to include commitments to increase efforts in support of survivors of SGBV.
- In Haiti, Canada assumed leadership of the Specialized Police Team (SPT) on SGBV under the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH). Of the 26 members of the RCMP and Canadian police partners deployed to Haiti at the end of 2018–2019, 6 worked with the SPT. The SPT provided training on the investigation of sexual crimes, and supported the development of comprehensive policies related to SGBV and the establishment of sexual crime investigation cells within the Haitian National Police.
- Canada introduced a new clause into international assistance funding arrangements requiring each partner organization to have a code of conduct that addresses SEA, and published reporting guidance for partner organizations to report SEA allegations to the government through a dedicated and confidential email account.
- There were no new allegations or substantiated cases of SEA perpetrated by Canadian peacekeepers during the reporting period, and the United Nations considers as closed all alleged cases of sexual exploitation by a deployed Canadian police officer. Canada ensured continued UN focus on SEA through its co-hosting of the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial preparatory meeting on WPS, which included a focused conversation on the need for greater efforts to implement the UN zero-tolerance policy, and to properly resource responsible UN offices. Canada continues to take a unified stance against SEA and will continue to work to improve accountability and other measures, where possible.
- Canada is implementing It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence (the GBV Strategy). Canada has launched the GBV Knowledge Centre’s online platform, developed a performance measurement framework to monitor progress, and through the Gender-Based Violence Program, committed $50 million to support nearly 60 projects that will address gaps in support for survivors and their families.
- With support from WAGE through its Minister’s Gender-Based Violence Advisory Council and the Deputy Minister’s Indigenous Women’s Circle, Canada updated our gender- and culture-related training at the RCMP. The RCMP is designing and developing two training courses that will be delivered to RCMP employees over a three-year period, starting in 2019-20, to build capacity across the RCMP to effectively respond to GBV in a gender- and culturally appropriate manner. This includes violence against Indigenous women and girls.
Objective 3: Promote and protect women’s and girls’ human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in fragile, conflict and post-conflict settings
Rating: On track
Women’s and girls’ empowerment and the protection of their human rights are at the core of Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy, including its Feminist International Assistance Policy, and are necessary for their ability to participate in peace and security efforts.
- Canada’s advocacy resulted in the use of progressive language on gender equality, women’s human rights and their participation in peace processes during negotiations on Human Rights Council resolutions related to fragile, conflict and post-conflict settings, and the inclusion of this language in country resolutions pertaining to Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
- Through the Women’s Voice and Leadership program, Canada supports projects with women's organizations and networks in 30 countries and regions, including 12 of the 13 countries of focus in the Action Plan. These projects will strengthen the implementation of the Action Plan by increasing the capacity of local women’s organizations in these countries to advocate for gender equality, women’s and girl’s human rights and advance women’s empowerment.
- Canada’s support to the Ujamaa Africa’s Girls’ Empowerment and Self-Defence program has empowered more than 10,000 South Sudanese girls and boys to defend themselves and others from sexual assault and harassment, and to combat negative attitudes toward women.
- Canada advocated to include gender-informed perspectives in counterterrorism and CVE spaces, including by the Counterterrorism, Crime and Intelligence Bureau at Global Affairs Canada participating at 9 events focused on gender and counterterrorism/counter crime. The Bureau ensured that gender and WPS considerations were a central, not peripheral, aspect of the discussion in every international forum it attended. This included highlighting the role that masculinities play in the context of terrorism and violent extremism and the ways in which healthy masculinities can contribute to effective and sustainable solutions. Through these efforts, Canada is actively educating, raising awareness, and fostering buy-in, support and ownership to make gender and the WPS agenda front and centre in Counterterrorism and CVE efforts.
- At the First Committee of the UN General Assembly in New York, Canadian-led advocacy resulted in gender perspectives being incorporated into 10 disarmament resolutions, including the Canada-led Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty resolution. This represents 25% of all resolutions, up from 15% in 2017.
- Canada is on track to meet its Budget 2018 commitment to resettle an additional 1,000 refugee women and girls by the end of 2019. This is in addition to planned refugee-resettlement targets and increased resettlement through the Women at Risk program.
- Under the Visible Minority Newcomer Women Pilot, Canada provided clients with employment-related services by existing settlement service providers; a pilot is further being developed to test the effectiveness of employment-related services.
- Along with G7 partners and through Vienna-based initiatives such as Group of Friends for Women in Nuclear, Canada promoted gender equality within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) secretariat and in IAEA resolutions. Canada successfully helped secure gender references in 3 out of 7 resolutions adopted at the General Conference in September 2018. Canada also promotes gender perspectives in the IAEA’s nuclear security and technical cooperation programs.
- In Ukraine, Canada’s support to a police training project resulted in the creation of the Ukrainian Association of Women in Law Enforcement, which aims to promote equal rights and opportunities for women and men within law enforcement by: helping to overcome barriers to a career in law enforcement; advocating for leadership and professional development for women; and developing networks and mentoring opportunities for women. The membership and influence of the UAWLE continues to grow as it establishes itself as an advocate for women in law enforcement and a resource to help women move into management positions.
- Canada supported the drafting and adoption of a new gender equality strategy by the International Organisation of La Francophonie. This will lead to a greater gender equality focus in the organization’s programming strategy for 2019–2022, including in programs in support of peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
- Canada’s efforts at the 63rd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW), led to greater participation by Canadian CSOs, including six national Indigenous leaders. Through inviting expert advice of Canadian civil society, Canada was able to secure positive language in the UNCSW Agreed Conclusions. Language included non-discrimination, Indigenous women and girls, violence and harmful practices, and women’s leadership. Canada worked with like-minded countries to maintain the advances made in 2018 on difficult items such as SRHR.
- Canada updated Voices at Risk, guidelines to support human rights defenders, to reflect Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy, including an understanding that human rights defenders – and in particular women and LGBTQ2I+ human rights defenders – have intersecting identities (such as race, age, disability, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity) that impact the numerous and concurrent forms of discrimination, harassment and marginalization that they face.
- In Guatemala, Canada’s support to improve women’s access to justice, particularly for Indigenous women, provided training in women’s rights and gender-responsive justice to 43 officials who work in criminal investigation.
- Canada became a member of the High-Level Working Group on Women's Access to Justice, under the Task Force on Justice co-chaired by ministers from Sierra Leone, the Netherlands and Argentina, along with a representative from the Elders, and supported by the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies. The report examines challenges for women to access justice, including in conflict settings, and presents strategies and tools to address these challengesFootnote 4.
The Faces for Equality award, part of Canada’s work to support human rights defenders, supports and promotes the work of gender equality champions in Latin America and the Caribbean. In Colombia, Canada acknowledged the work of an Afro-Colombian woman working to promote the rights, participation and voices of Afro-Colombian women and for peace. In Guatemala, Canada recognized a young Indigenous woman for her leading contribution to a campaign that successfully changed Guatemalan legislation to prohibit child, early and forced marriage, and for her work to advance of girls’ education and SRHR.
“It has been a great opportunity for me to be the delegate of #FemParl from Myanmar. It was a great sharing and learning experience with other feminist leaders in the region. One of the best things about the program is talking about the barriers to change and finding ways to break through them together.”
– Myanmar delegate Maw Day Myar
Objective 4: Meet the specific needs of women and girls in humanitarian settings, including the upholding of their sexual rights and access to sexual and reproductive health services
Rating: On Track
Canada is a global leader in promoting gender-responsive humanitarian assistance and sexual and reproductive health services through increased levels of funding and intensified advocacy.
- As G7 President, Canada championed the commitment to the G7 Whistler Declaration on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls in Humanitarian Action, which sought to promote system-level change, and to ensure that humanitarian action is principled, evidence-based and empowering. The Declaration has served as a foundation to bolster broader advocacy efforts to highlight critical gender gaps in humanitarian action and to signal G7 donors’ commitment to advancing gender-responsive humanitarian action.
- In February 2019, Global Affairs Canada and the Humanitarian Response Network co-hosted a public lecture by Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator and Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as well as a side panel with Marie-Claude Bibeau, former Minister of International Development, on gender-responsive humanitarian action. This public lecture identified key actions to be taken by humanitarian actors to ensure that the needs of women and girls are met in humanitarian crises and that their skills and capacities are better understood and represented at all levels of the humanitarian system. Mr. Lowcock’s speech was influential in helping to prioritize gender within the humanitarian system.
- After co-chairing the States and Donors Working Group of the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies (Call to Action) in 2018 – a global, multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to transform the way gender-based violence is addressed in humanitarian emergencies – Canada became the global lead for the Call to Action in 2019–2020. As lead, Canada oversees the commitments of partner states, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGO) to advance measures to address SGBV in humanitarian response, including prioritizing the active involvement of local women’s organizations in SGBV prevention, mitigation and response. In February 2019, Canada hosted the first round of consultations with 22 key stakeholders in New York to shape the Call to Action objectives through 2025.
- During a high-level panel discussion at the UN General Assembly, Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, reiterated Canada’s commitment to strengthen sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response strategies in humanitarian settings, and confirmed Canada’s lead of the Call to Action.
- Canada updated its humanitarian NGO proposal guidelines to strengthen the advancement of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, including by requiring partners to conduct a rigorous gender analysis during the design of projects. For SRHR projects, partners are now required to provide information including key performance indicators and the percentage of funding related to SRHR activities. As a result, and through ongoing advocacy efforts, Canada’s humanitarian partners have integrated stronger gender analyses in their programming, demonstrating their commitment to more effective, gender-responsive programming in all humanitarian contexts.
- Of the $650 million three-year commitment made in 2017 to support SRHR, $594 million had been disbursed as of April 2019. This funding is expected to close gaps in identified areas including: comprehensive sexuality education; strengthening reproductive health services, family planning and contraception; prevention and response to SGBV, including child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) and female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C); and support for the right to choose safe and legal abortion, as well as to access post-abortion care; and advocacy and public engagement.
- Canada co-led with Zambia a new UN resolution on CEFM, which recognized that armed conflict and humanitarian emergencies are exacerbating factors for CEFM. The resolution included language on access to sexual and reproductive health services and called upon states to ensure women’s and girls’ access to services such as health and education in humanitarian settings. It was adopted by consensus with 114 co-sponsors across all regions.
- In Afghanistan, Canada supported humanitarian mobile clinics staffed with women doctors and midwives. These clinics provided direct help to women experiencing pregnancy distress in their home communities while respecting cultural norms. Since 2016, these teams delivered a total of 407,000 healthcare services to women and children.
- In Haiti, Canada’s support to midwives led to: an additional 118 students to enrol in midwifery training; 8,122 pregnant women receiving health services by midwives; and over 10,000 women and girls being sensitized in SRH.
- At the OSCE, Canada co-sponsored an event that promoted the need for the OSCE to take a comprehensive approach to SRHR. Canada highlighted the fact that SGBV encompasses the experiences of violence in the everyday life of women and girls, including violations of their sexual and reproductive health (SRH), and that SRH offers a unique entry point to address violence against women. This event was an important opportunity for awareness-raising, as SRHR is not a usual topic or area of effort for the OSCE.
Canada has piloted an action plan to strengthen gender-responsive action in the response to the Rohingya refugee crisis. The plan seeks to improve leadership, accountability and field-level implementation and coordination, and is being implemented through a series of projects developed with partners. Projects include the UN Women-led Gender Hub that addresses the entire humanitarian response through training programmes and technical support for humanitarian workers about gender, gender-based violence, and sexual exploitation and abuse. The results, best practices and challenges from this innovative initiative will be used to demonstrate further evidence of the importance of gender-responsive humanitarian action in all responses.
“My presence in the team has encouraged a lot of women and young girls to know about family planning approaches.”
– Afghan woman from a mobile health team
Objective 5: Strengthen the capacity of peace operations to advance the WPS agenda, including by deploying more women and fully embedding the WPS agenda into CAF operations and police deployments
Rating: Mostly On Track
Through the continued implementation of the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, the Government of Canada is working to increase the meaningful participation of uniformed women in United Nations peace operations. Listed below are other significant initiatives designed to strengthen the capacity of peace operations and stabilization efforts to advance the WPS agenda:
- As part of Canada’s contribution to the UN mission to Mali (MINUSMA), Canada deployed three gender advisors. The gender advisors supported senior management in the development of a gender strategy for the mission, provided technical support to the various components of the mission on gender issues, strengthened the technical capacities of MINUSMA staff on gender issues through training, and supported the Malian authorities and civil society organizations working in the field of gender, in cooperation with UN agencies in the country.
- In August 2018, Canada successfully advocated for the inclusion of stronger WPS language in the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping Operations, which Canada subsequently endorsed, along with more than 150 Member States on the margins of UNGA in September 2018. Canada continued its advocacy on WPS in the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial context by co-hosting a preparatory meeting on WPS in Addis Ababa in January 2019.
- Canada deployed a gender advisor to its bilateral police mission in Ukraine. The gender advisor has supported donor coordination on issues relevant to gender and policing, and through this contributed to Canadian leadership on gender, and implementation of the WPS agenda in Ukraine. Additionally, the gender dimensions of training delivered by the Canadian Police Mission in Ukraine (CPMU) have been strengthened and a stand-alone course on domestic violence has been developed and is being delivered to the National Police of Ukraine by the CPMU. Finally, the gender advisor has also supported the gender-based violence training delivered by other donors (e.g. UN Women).
- In Iraq, Canada advocated for, staffed and deployed a female chief superintendent to the most senior policing position in the anti-Daesh Coalition’s Ministerial Liaison Team. She is also a gender advisor.
- Of the 65 Canadian police newly deployed to international peace operations during the fiscal year, women made up 47.7%, as compared to 18% the previous yearFootnote 5.
- Canada provided support for the adoption and implementation of the second NATO Action Plan on WPS. Canada was the lead financial donor to the Office of the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for WPS, enabling the Office to expand its activities, including by leading the development of NATO’s first comprehensive policy on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), and the adoption of NATO’s second Action Plan on WPS at the July 2018 Leaders’ Summit.
- In Jordan, Canadian forces provided training and mentorship to a team of Jordanian women soldiers who had previously occupied clerical or administrative roles. Through the program, they trained in physical fitness, soldiering, gender perspectives, gender-based violence, and international humanitarian law and rules of engagement, to enable them to perform in an operational environment. As a direct result, the team can now participate in an operational context, assisting the Jordanian Armed Forces with liaising with the local population, as well as responding to and ensuring the protection of civilians in their operating environment.
- Domestically, additional measures were taken to recruit and retain women in the CAF, including the Dare to be Extraordinary recruitment campaign that targets people of all gender expressions and sexual orientations. During the reporting period, the CAF made 5,032 offers of regular-force employment, which resulted in the recruitment of 896 women (17.4%). Currently, women make up close to 16% of the CAFFootnote 6.
Women comprise an average 10.9% in the military ranks of NATO countries, but only 6.8% of forces active in NATO operations and missionsFootnote 7. Women are particularly under-represented in NATO decision-making positions. As the top financial donor to the Office of the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative (SGSR) for WPS, Canada was well positioned to call for enhanced NATO commitments to WPS by systematically advocating for the integration of gender perspectives in NATO operational and planning policies, and to leverage visits by the SRSG for WPS to allied and partner countries to promote and advocate for the WPS agenda. Canada also contributed to the ongoing development of the first comprehensive NATO policy on SEA, and played a vital role in the adoption of NATO’s second Action Plan on WPS at the July 2018 Leaders’ Summit. Canada continues to provide a Deputy Chair to the NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives and a gender advisor to the International Military Staff.
Improving the Government of Canada’s capacity to implement the Action Plan
Rating: On Track
Action Plan partners have set a number of targets to improve their own capacity to implement the Action Plan objectives, including those related to WPS training, improved integration of GBA+ and gender equality programming.
- Employees of Action Plan partners increased their capacity to advance WPS as a result of completing the GBA+ online course or making use of the additional gender training opportunities that were increasingly made available. Several networks provided valuable opportunities for Action Plan partners to share resources and best practices, including a GBA+ in National Security Working Group, and a wider GBA+ interdepartmental community on defence and security. This collaboration and dialogue allowed WAGE to develop targeted GBA+ training and presentations to meet the different needs of Action Plan partners.
- The RCMP improved the number of personnel in the International Police Peacekeeping and Peace Operations (IPP) Program who received GBA+ training (100% completion rate). It also introduced additional pre-deployment WPS training (100% completion rate), and began assessing the extent to which Canadian police officers deployed to peace operations deliver and facilitate gender-sensitive programming (with the aim of enhancing this capacity).
- The RCMP conducted a survey to identify barriers facing women police officers in deploying to peace operations. The survey was completed by members of the RCMP and police service partners in November 2018, and results were compiled and analyzed. In collaboration with a working group of RCMP and police-partner colleagues, a draft WPS Barriers Survey Report has been developed, including proposed actions.
- The Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN in New York, the Embassy of Canada to Guatemala, and the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program have all adopted gender pledges to improve their own practices to integrate gender perspectives and achieve greater gender equality in their operations. Preliminary changes are starting to be seen as a result of these gender pledges, and further information on the success of this innovative model will be available in subsequent reporting years.
- WAGE partnered with Government of Canada uniformed agencies, including CAF and RCMP, to provide expertise on how GBA+ can be applied to modernize uniforms. A working group of Government of Canada uniformed agencies used GBA+ to develop shared principles for improving uniform policy in support of a more inclusive and representative workforce. This initiative has the potential to transform uniform policies to be more inclusive of all genders and abilities. The working group, currently led by the Canadian Coast Guard, is exploring other areas of shared interest, including, for instance, procurement.
- IRCC led gender sensitivity training for 20 Visa Officers based in the National Capital Region, based on materials from the United Nations Refugees Agency Resettlement Handbook and Training Materials.
- IRCC hosted discussions involving over 40 IRCC staff on countering gender-based violence to illustrate the unique needs of diverse populations who have survived gender-based violence.
- The Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs) at Global Affairs Canada developed a new three-year strategy based on broad consultation, including with the Women, Peace and Security Network of Canada (WPSN-C), to ensure that the strategy is gender-sensitive and includes a strong WPS focus. The strategy also includes a gender pledge.
- In its 2019–22 Strategy, PSOPs committed to develop a coherence package for each of its priority countries to help ensure that Canada’s policy and programming across development assistance, humanitarian action and peace and security engagements more systematically address gender equality and GBA+ dimensions. This integrated approach shows great promise in its systematic and rigorous attention to inclusion and gender equality in both analysis and response to violent conflict and instability.
“Experience has shown that women bring valuable perspectives, increase situational awareness of missions by accessing a greater diversity of information about threats and conflict dynamics, and help built trust with local communities. This supports both the safety and security of peacekeepers as well as the operational effectiveness of missions. [...] We must redouble efforts and engage in new and creative thinking to resolve persistent gaps and structural barriers to female participation and leadership. We recognize the importance of political will, attitudinal change, and resources for increasing the meaningful participation of women in peacekeeping.”
– The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
The Elsie Initiative knows that United Nations peace operations need women in uniformed military and police roles to succeed. And it’s breaking down barriers to make that happen. From catalyzing the establishment of a multi-donor fund to which Canada has contributed $15 million, to creating an innovative approach to assess the barriers uniformed women face in deploying to UN peace operations, the Elsie Initiative helps to ensure that women peacekeepers will increasingly play crucial, meaningful roles in UN peace operations.
Conclusion and next steps
Considerable progress has been made during the reporting period toward achieving the Action Plan objectives. Activities are increasing across the spectrum of the WPS agenda, and more targets are on track to be achieved.
Of the areas outlined in last year’s report as requiring further attention by the government, work remains to be done, particularly to:
- engage men and boys in addressing SGBV and advancing gender equality in conflict settings;
- understand the multiple and complex roles of women in conflict;
- double down efforts to ensure that our approaches to WPS implementation address intersectional experiences of marginalization, discrimination, and violence, including of Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people, and
- develop a common understanding of gender and a feminist approach in the context of the WPS agenda.
The new WPS Ambassador and her office will increase capacity and allow Canada to further its ambition in implementing the WPS agenda. As Canada heads into the third year of the Action Plan’s lifespan, the important task of a mid-term review will provide an additional opportunity for analysis and further improvement of the Action Plan to ensure the government shapes its efforts to achieve optimal results.
While this progress report describes progress and challenges related to Canada’s efforts, it also identifies weaknesses and gaps in global implementation and acceptance of the WPS agenda. It will be important to increase efforts to protect and promote the human rights of all people in advancing the agenda, including LGBTQ2I+ persons, Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people, youth and human rights defenders and women peacebuilders. Promoting a greater understanding of the role of masculinities and gender stereotypes in upholding gender inequality and violent behaviour will also be a priority.
The international community has an important task ahead to rethink the structures set up at the national, regional and global levels to facilitate peace negotiations, and why they consistently fail to meaningfully include women. Canada can make important contributions to such discussions.
The challenges outlined in this report call for strong leadership to counter rollbacks and to move forward on implementation of the WPS agenda on the ground. Canada is increasing collaboration with like-minded states and civil society partners in seeking out new partnerships and opportunities to meet these challenges, including through our chairing of the Chiefs of Defence WPS Network, as lead of the Call to Action, and co-chairing of the WPS Focal Points Network in 2020 with Uruguay.
Tracking of International Assistance Investments to Advance Women, Peace and Security
Background: While there is no internationally agreed method to track international assistance investments to advance WPS, Canada has developed a methodology to track WPS spending that builds on the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) approach to capturing international assistance spending allocated to advancing gender equality in fragile states. This method is based on a combination of OECD-DAC purpose codesFootnote 8, Global Affairs Canada’s gender equality (GE) codesFootnote 9, and a list of fragile and conflict-affected states created using three indices: the Fragile States Index, Global Peace Index and OECD States of Fragility Report. The projects are collected in our project database using these search criteria. Because of the application of OECD-DAC codes, the method can more accurately identify the relevant WPS components of projects and enable more accurate reporting on funding amounts.
WPS funding: Based on this method, preliminary reporting demonstrates that Global Affairs Canada disbursed approximately $497 million to projects advancing the WPS agenda in 2018–2019, as compared to $408 million in the previous year, and $221 million the year prior. These figures stem from 226 projects that fully integrated gender considerations (GE-02) and from 78 projects that aimed to advance gender equality (GE-03).
In the Action Plan’s countries of focus, Global Affairs Canada disbursed the following amounts to WPS programming: $37.1 million in Syria; $33 million in Afghanistan; $28.8 million in Jordan; $28.7 million in Mali; $27.9 million in Iraq; $25 million in the DRC; $22.8 million in Haiti; $18.5 million in Lebanon; $16.8 million in Colombia; $13.6 million in Myanmar; $13 million in South Sudan; $5 million in Guatemala; and $1.7 million in Burundi.
Below is a breakdown of Global Affairs Canada’s disbursements broadly aligned with the Action Plan’s main objectives.
- Gender-responsive peacebuilding, peacemaking, and post-conflict state-building, including support to women and women’s groups working on peace-related issues: $24.5 million in 2018–19, as compared to $27 million in 2017–18, representing a decrease of 9.3%.
- Prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence, including ending impunity and providing services to survivors, and addressing sexual exploitation and abuse: $55.7 million in 2018–19, as compared to $60.4 million in 2017–18, representing a decrease of 7.8%.
- Promotion and protection of women’s and girls’ human rights and empowerment in fragile and conflict-affected settings, including support to a gender-responsive security sector, women’s political participation, girls’ primary education and combatting violent extremism: $130.1 million in 2018–19, as compared to $106.3 million in 2017–18, representing an increase of 22.4%.
- Advancing gender equality in humanitarian settings: $100.1 million in 2018–19, as compared to $100.7 million in 2017–18, representing a slight decrease.
- Sexual and reproductive health and rights in fragile, conflict-affected states and humanitarian settings: $ 160.9 million in 2018–19, as compared to $113 million in 2017–18, representing an increase of 42.4%.
- Strengthening the capacity of peace operations to advance WPS: $25.5 in 2018-19 as compared to $664,000 in 2017–18, representing an increase of 3,740%.
Note that some of above areas capture a much broader range of issues than others, which the funding amounts will reflect.
Methodology for Objective Ratings
The ratings for each Action Plan objective in this summary narrative are based on a whole-of-government analysis and consider the progress reports of all implementing departmental partners. In the departmental progress reports, lead partners (GAC, RCMP, and DND/CAF) categorized each target under the five Action Plan objectives or under internal efficiency and capacity, and subsequently assigned a rating to each target based on the scale below. The objective categories were maintained from 2017–2018, except in a very few circumstances to allow for accurate methodology and consistency in reporting. The ratings for individual targets were assigned with the following considerations:
- Year-over-year progress;
- Change in target, activities and indicators; and
- Contexts in which implementation takes place.
To ensure quality control, the Action Plan coordination team at Global Affairs Canada reviewed all target ratings for accuracy, consistency and cohesion across the departmental reports. Feedback and recommendations were provided to responsible focal points, resulting in each individual target rating undergoing several rounds of consultations, discussion, and approval. This extensive process allowed for reduced subjectivity and improved accuracy.
The individual target measurements were compiled under their respective Action Plan objectives to provide an overall picture of progress by lead implementing partners. This compiled progress was subsequently considered alongside supporting partner departmental reports (which underwent the same level of feedback and discussion with the Action Plan coordination unit), to come to an overall whole-of-government rating for each objective.
The objective ratings outlined in this progress report represent cooperation between focal points in GAC, lead partners, supporting partners and the PSOPs coordination unit. The overall ratings considered both qualitative and quantitative data, and those responsible for compiling the ratings endeavoured to maintain consistent methodology across every phase of analysis. The scale below was used for all target ratings across the departmental progress reports, which resulted in a cohesive, whole-of-government rating for each Action Plan objective.
|0||Too Early to Report: We launched a new initiative the reporting fiscal year. We cannot report on progress.|
|1||Attention Required: Our efforts are not on track to achieve the target by the end of action plan/specified date|
Experiencing serious problems and intervention is required to ensure the target will be met by the end of action plan/specified date.
|2||Mostly on Track: Our efforts are mostly on track to achieve the target by the end of action plan/specified date|
Experiencing manageable problems and minor attention/intervention is required to ensure the target will be met by the end of action plan/specified date.
|3||On Track: Our efforts are on track to achieve the target by the end of action plan/specified date.|
Normal procedures/level of effort are sufficient to achieve the target by the end of action plan/specified date.
|4||Target Achieved or Surpassed: We achieved or surpassed the target by the end of action plan/specified date.|
These definitions are formulated and compiled to help readers understand the terms as they are used in the Action Plan and progress reports.
Child, early and forced marriage (CEFM): The term “child marriage” refers to a marriage in which at least one of the parties is a child. According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a child is “every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier”. “Early marriage” is often used interchangeably with “child marriage” and refers to marriages involving a person aged below 18 in countries where the age of majority is attained earlier or upon marriage. Early marriage can also refer to marriages where both spouses are 18 or older but other factors make them unready to consent to marriage, such as their level of physical, emotional, sexual and psychosocial development, or a lack of information regarding the person’s life options. A forced marriage is any marriage that occurs without the full and free consent of one or both of the parties and/or where one or both of the parties is/are unable to end or leave the marriage, including as a result of duress or intense social or family pressure.
(Source: The April 2014 report on Preventing and eliminating child, early and forced marriage by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights)
Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) refers to the process of disarming soldiers or other fighters, disbanding their military units, and helping them integrate socially and economically into society by finding them civilian livelihoods.
Fragility is characterized as the accumulation and combination of risks combined with insufficient capacity by the state, system, and/or communities to manage, absorb, or mitigate its consequences. This situation of exposure to risk can lead to negative outcomes, including violence, armed conflict, protracted political crises, and chronic underdevelopment. Risks and coping capacity are measured in five dimensions to include political, societal, security, economic, and environmental aspects. (Source: the OECD)
Gender refers to the roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society may construct or consider appropriate for men and women. It can result in stereotyping and limited expectations about what women and men can and cannot do (e.g. femininity and masculinity). Gender is different from sex, which refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men, women and intersex persons.
Gender equality refers to equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for women, men and gender-diverse people. Equality refers to the state of being equal while equity refers to the state of being just, impartial or fair. However, equality of opportunity by itself does not guarantee equal outcomes for women, men and gender-diverse people.
Gender mainstreaming means ensuring that gender perspectives and attention to the goal of gender equality are central to all activities, such as policy, programming and advocacy, and in all phases: planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) is an analytical tool used by the Government of Canada to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people may experience policies, programs and initiatives. The “plus” in GBA+ acknowledges that the analysis goes beyond biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) differences. We all have multiple identity factors that intersect to make us who we are; GBA+ also considers many other identity factors, like race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, and mental or physical disability. The Government of Canada committed to using gender-based analysis in 1995, as part of the ratification of the United Nations’ Beijing Platform for Action.
Gender-responsive policies or programs are developed with the consideration of gender norms, roles and inequalities with measures taken to actively address them.
Gender-sensitive indicates a cognitive awareness of gender differences, but appropriate action may not have been taken. However, the terms gender-responsive and gender-sensitive are often used interchangeably.
Gender transformative interventions go beyond gender responsiveness and specifically aim at transforming unequal gender relations to promote shared power, control of resources, decision making, and support for women’s and girls’ empowerment.
Justice and security sector reform (JSSR), security sector reform (SSR) or security system reform (SSR) refers to reforming or rebuilding a state’s security sector to establish effective, accountable and representative security institutions that carry out their legitimate functions in a manner consistent with democratic norms and sound governance (i.e. good security sector governance). The term “security sector/system” includes the military, police, and other institutions such as border management and correctional services, the judiciary, and legislative oversight bodies. SSR is an important part of post-conflict statebuilding.
Multiple and intersecting discrimination: Individuals have layered identities based on intersecting identity factors such as gender, ethnicity, race, religion, age, sexual orientation and ability. The discrimination they face is multidimensional and its various components cannot be addressed separately.
Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV): Gender-based violence (GBV) is violence perpetrated against someone based on their gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender. Specifically, GBV includes any act of violence or abuse that can result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering. It affects every society and every social class and occurs in both private and public life. Whether the context is the use of rape as a tool of war, sex trafficking, intimate partner violence, female genital mutilation, or other forms, GBV is a violation of human rights in all cases. It is a disempowering force that erodes a person’s self-dignity, health and ability to participate in social, economic and political life. GBV is a barrier to gender equality, sustainable development and peace. GBV is rooted in gender inequalities and is intensified by other forms of discrimination, including racism, colonialism, disability, homophobia, transphobia and poverty. It is often exacerbated in conflict settings.
Sexual violence is a prevalent type of GBV. Sexual violence in conflict includes rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy and forced sterilization or abortion. The international legal framework clearly establishes that rape and other forms of sexual violence may constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Many states have laws that punish these acts, either as the specified crimes or as ordinary crimes under national law. The International Criminal Court in the Hague will in some instances have jurisdiction. Some international treaties and, arguably, customary international law, oblige states to either prosecute or extradite persons who commit war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The international regime and many states agree that amnesty cannot be granted for these serious violations of international law.
Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) include: age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education; reproductive health services; family planning services, including contraception; safe and legal abortion services and post-abortion care; prevention and management of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections; prevention of and response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), including the prevention of harmful practices such as child and early forced marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting and the provision of psycho-social services for SGBV survivors; training of health care professionals in the provision of sexual and reproductive health care services and family planning; advocacy activities of women’s, youth, Indigenous and LGBTQ2I+ civil society groups; addressing social norms that limit women’s and adolescents’ control over their bodies and reproductive decision making; and removal of judicial and legal barriers to the fulfillment of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Transitional justice consists of judicial and non-judicial measures implemented in order to redress legacies of human rights abuses. Measures include criminal prosecutions, truth and reconciliation commissions, reparations programs and various kinds of institutional reforms.
Women’s and girls’ empowerment is about women and girls taking control over their lives: setting their own agendas, gaining skills and developing self-reliance. Policies and programs can support these processes. Women and girls can be empowered, for instance, by establishing conditions in which women can decide about the use of resources and income (economic empowerment); have access to good quality education (social empowerment), and can participate in political life (political empowerment).
Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2017-2022
Canada leads in implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) and subsequent WPS resolutions.
Women participate in peace and security efforts, women and girls are empowered, and their human rights’ are upheld in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS)
Women participate in peace and security efforts, women and girls are empowered, and their human rights’ are upheld in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS)
- Increased and meaningful participation of women and women’s organizations and networks in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and post-conflict statebuilding.
- Prevention of, response to and the end of impunity for sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated in conflict and for sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers and other international personnel
- Promotion and protection of women’s and girls’ human rights, gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment in FCAS
- Meeting the specific needs of women and girls in humanitarian settings, including the upholding of their sexual rights and access to sexual and reproductive health services
- Strengthened capacity of peace operations to advance the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, including by deploying more women and fully embedding the WPS agenda into Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operations and police deployments
Positive changes in behavior, social norms, institutionalized practices and legal systems, including customary and religious laws, in relations to gender equality, sexual and gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers and other international personnel.
National and local governments, civil society, donor states, the UN and other multilateral organizations working in and in relations to FCAS have increased capacity and motivation totake a gender-responsive and gender-transformative approach and promote and protect women’s and girls’ human rights, their empowerment and gender equality, and engage men and boys in these efforts.
Actions (What we do)
Increased capacity to deliver
- Consult and cooperate with civil society organizations (CSOs) in Canada and locally on WPS and Action plan implementation
- Conduct pre-deployment training for military, police and civilian experts on gender and WPS, including preventing sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA)
- Develop a Canadian Action Plan to address SEA by peacekeepers
- Take measures to increase the number of Canadian women (military, police and civilian experts) available for deployment to multilateral peace operations and other stabilization efforts
- Ensure that Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) is undertaken and incorporated into policies, strategies, programs, projects and initiatives
- Learn from domestic policies and programs such as countering radicalization to violence and preventing gender-based violence
- Engage with women’s rights CSOs and government officials responsible for gender issues in scoping and assessment missions.
- Make WPS and gender expertise available to staff working within and in relations to FCAS
- Enhance training on gender, GBA+ and the specific needs of women and girls in situations of conflict for staff working within and in relations to FCAS
- Incorporate the Action Plan into departmental planning and reporting frameworks
- Table annual Action Plan progress reports in Parliament
- Conduct independent mid-term and summative Action Plan evaluations
- Make use of available research and guidelines, including by CSOs, the UN, academia and other states, to ensure the adequacy of intervention
- Monitor activities to evaluate efficiency and increase the evidence base interventions
Diplomacy and political leadership
- Advocate at all levels to advance the WPS agenda in bilateral, regional and multilateral forums
- Cooperate with the national and international actors and courts to end impunity for conflict-related sexual andgender-based crimes and bring perpetrators to justice
- Demonstrate leadership by, for example, recruiting more women to the CA and addressing workplace sexual harrassement
- Collaorate with other states and through participation in bilateral and multilateral forums on policy development, including to ensure that the agenda responds to the changing nature of conflicts
- Consult with CSOs to ensure the adequacy of internventions and their participation in regional and international peace and secuirty meetings
- Engage men and boys, alongside women and girls, as agents and beneficiaries of change in advancing the WPS agenda
- Assist national authorities, community leaders and other actors in exerting influence over parties to armed confluct with respect to addressing sexual violence
- Advocate for a more active role by national, local and community leaders in sensitizing communities on sexual violence to help prevention, avoid stigatization of survivors and assist with social reintergration
- Nominate women for senior posts in the UN and other multilateral organizations
- Promote the WPS agenda in the international community’s response to to migration and refugees
- Advocate for initiatives tht address unequal power relations in FCAS, including girls’s access to education and women’s economic empowerment
- Provide targeted support for WPS projects and mechanisms and mainstream WPS and gender into international assistance including:
- Support women’s participation in conflict resolution
- Prevent, mitigate and respond to sexual and gender-based violence in conflict, including child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation and cutting
- Support local women’s CSOs, including human rights, defenders Indigenous people and women in all their diversity
- Increase gender expertise and representation of women in international peace operations
- Provide support for gender-responsive security sector reform
- Improve women’s access to justice n FCAS and provide gender-responsive legal technical assistance and support for justice sector reform
- Assist the UN and other international organizations to carry out WPS and gender transformative programming
- Facilitate the development and implementation of national action plans to implement WPS
- Promote access to sexual and reproductive health services in conflict and humanitarian settings
- Engage men and boys in advancing the WPS agenda
- Address gender dimensions and women’s participation in counterterrorism efforts and prevention of violent extremism and radicalization to violence
- Give special consideration for women and girls in refugee protection and Canada’s immigration processing, programs and services
- Take gender-responsive approaches to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, to transitional justice and reconciliation, to small arms and light weapons, to mine action, and to human trafficking
- Support women’s economic empowerment and girls’ education in FCAS
A gender-responsive, human rights-based and whole-of-government approach to peace and security interventions and the situation of women and girls in FCA
Despite evidence that women’s participation is vital to achieving and sustaining peace and the women are critical change agents, often leading peace movements and driving community recovery after conflict, they are largely excluded from peace negotiations and processes. Sexual and gender-based violence in conflict, constraints on women’s ability to participate in conflict-resolution and violations of women’s and girls’ human rights remain urgent issues requiring action in order to achieve progress toward more inclusive, equal and stable societies.
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