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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:

Canada strengthened a number of partnerships to drive transformational change on key aspects of the WPS agenda:

Canada worked assiduously to advance WPS in regional and multilateral forums:

Finally, over the reporting period Canada raised the bar significantly on its own implementation of the Action Plan, especially domestically:

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.

Canada’s WPS Ambassador

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.

No Peace without Women

In Afghanistan, Canada’s efforts contributed to all five main objectives of the Action Plan. Our support for women’s participation in the peace process alone ranged from amplifying women’s messages through policy dialogue and social media to NATO’s “No Peace without Women” campaign. Initiated by a Canadian deployed to the office of the NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Kabul, the campaign supported NATO’s first-ever civil society consultation with women’s organizations and activists in the lead-up to the NATO Leader’s Summit in July 2018, which resulted in an Afghan commitment, with NATO support, to promote women’s participation in the peace process in Afghanistan.

Canada’s commitments

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:

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.

Women in the White Helmets

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.

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.

Faces for Equality - recognizing gender equality champions

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.

Innovation in humanitarian response: A gender-responsive action plan

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:

Canada at NATO

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.

Breaking barriers

“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:

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.

Annex A

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.

  1. 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%.
  2. 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%.
  3. 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%.
    1. 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.
    2. 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%.
  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.

Annex B

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:

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.

Rating scale for achievement of targets
0Too Early to Report: We launched a new initiative the reporting fiscal year. We cannot report on progress.
1Attention 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.
2Mostly 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.
3On 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.
4Target Achieved or Surpassed: We achieved or surpassed the target by the end of action plan/specified date.

Annex C


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).

Annex D

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)

Outcomes (objectives)

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)

Intermediate outcomes

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.

Immediate outcomes

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
Diplomacy and political leadership

Strategic approach

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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