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 2019–2020
Table of contents
- Canada’s commitments
- The context: external and internal challenges
- Objective 1: Increase the meaningful participation of women, women’s organizations and networks in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and post-conflict state-building
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Improving the Government of Canada’s capacity to implement the Action Plan
- Conclusion and next steps
- Annex A: Tracking of International Assistance Investments to advance Women, Peace and Security
- Annex B: Definitions
- Annex C: Theory of Change
- 2018 Action for Peacekeeping
- Arms Trade Treaty
- Special Committee on UN Peacekeeping Operations
- Child, early and forced marriage
- United Nations Women Peace and Security Chiefs of Defence Network
- Canada’s Integrated Conflict Analysis Process
- Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
- Canadian Police Arrangement
- Canadian Police Mission in Ukraine
- Countering radicalization to violence
- Correctional Service of Canada
- Civil-society organization
- Countering violent extremism
- Development Assistance Committee (OECD)
- Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration
- International Gender Champions Disarmament Impact Group
- Department of National Defence
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- European Union Advisory Mission
- Female Engagement Teams
- Global Affairs Canada
- Gender-based violence
- Generation Equality Forum
- Human Rights Commission
- Human rights defender
- Interagency Standing Committee
- Intergovernmental Authority on Development
- Integrated Peace and Security Plan
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
- Indigenous Services Canada
- Jordanian Armed Forces
- Justice and security sector reform
- Lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, 2-spirited and intersex
- 2-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual plus
- Monitoring, evaluation and learning
- UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic
- UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization
- NATO Mission in Iraq
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
- International Organization of la Francophonie
- Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
- UN Peacebuilding Commission
- Public Safety Canada
- Peace and Stabilization Operations Program
- Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- Sexual exploitation and abusec
- Sexual and gender-based violence
- Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa
- Commander of a Standing NATO Maritime Group
- Sexual and reproductive health and rights
- Security sector reform or security system reform
- United Nations General Assembly
- United Nations Institute for Training and Research
- United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial
- United Nations Security Council
- United Nations Secretary-General
- Women and Gender Equality Canada
- Women, peace and security
- Women’s Voice and Leadership Program
This report is a summary of the 2019-2020 progress reports produced annually by federal partners of Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and SecurityFootnote 1. The progress reports outline partners’ achievements toward meeting the objectives and targets outlined in the Action Plan and its accompanying implementation plans. This summary and the progress reports are tabled together in Parliament.
The year 2020 was to be a milestone year for progress toward realizing global commitments on gender equality and women, peace and security (WPS). It marked, 75 years since the creation of the United Nations, 25 years since the ground-breaking Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 20 years since the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325, and five years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. Commitments were to be renewed, efforts redoubled.
Much progress toward these goals has been made. Yet, 2 decades since the adoption of landmark Resolution 1325, women still face exclusion from peace and political processes; the number of attacks against women peacebuilders, human rights defenders and humanitarians is on the rise; and racism, homophobia and violent misogyny continue to spread.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant global responses have made it clear that implementation of the WPS agenda is more important than ever. Hard-fought gains in advancing gender equality and inclusion have, in some instances, eroded in just a few months. Sexual and gender-based violence increased significantly, access to sexual and reproductive health care was limited, funding for women’s organizations was reallocated toward pandemic response, and economic insecurity grew. Despite these challenges, women were often at the frontlines of the pandemic response, including as health-care workers, community leaders and peacebuilders.
Canada took concerted steps to ensure that responses to the COVID-19 pandemic protected and advanced gender equality and human rights, and were informed by feminist principles. At home, measures included emergency funding for Indigenous communities and for organizations providing support services to those experiencing sexual and gender-based violence, including for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres.
Globally, Canada advocated for a COVID-19 response that took into account the differentiated needs and priorities of women and girls, and those of vulnerable groups, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, 2-spirit and intersex (LGBTQ2I) communities, refugees, persons with disabilities, and racialized communities, among others. In multilateral forums, the government worked to ensure that gender-responsive approaches and gender equality considerations were top of the agenda, including at the UN, NATO, OECD and in the G7 and G20. In response to the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire in March 2020, Canada initiated the first joint statement by countries belonging to the 3 Groups of Friends of Women, Peace and Security; of Children and Armed Conflict; and of Protection of Civilians. This joint statement endorsed the UNSG’s call, highlighting the plight of civilian women and children and marginalized groups caught in armed conflicts and humanitarian crises. As global lead of the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Emergencies, Canada spearheaded a joint statement on behalf of its 87 partner states, international organizations and NGOs. This statement advocated for the recognition of GBV services as life-saving and essential in all humanitarian responses to the pandemic.
Canada adjusted its conflict prevention and peacebuilding engagements to reflect COVID-19 realities. As a board member of the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, Canada supported and provided new funding for the establishment of a COVID-19 emergency response window to channel support through women and women’s organizations in 30 fragile and conflict-affected states. Canada also worked with its programming partners to adjust project activities and timelines to address and mitigate pandemic impacts. In Afghanistan, for example, many partners adapted quickly with new or modified activities, including awareness-raising sessions on COVID-19, distribution of hygiene kits, and messaging on domestic violence. Together with co-chair Uruguay, Canada also launched its 2020 co-chair term of the global WPS Focal Points Network with a special session on the intersection of the WPS agenda and COVID-19 response.
In addition to these specific efforts to respond to the pandemic, Canada’s National Action Plan on the implementation of the UNSC WPS resolutions continued to guide the Government of Canada’s efforts both in Canada and abroad to advance peace and security objectives. The anniversary of UNSC Resolution 1325 was an opportunity to identify implementation gaps, develop new initiatives, further consolidate whole-of-government efforts on WPS, and improve coordination across the Action Plan’s 9 federal partners.
Over the period covered by this progress report, Canada strengthened its global leadership role on WPS through a number of important initiatives:
- Canada co-chaired, together with Uruguay, the WPS Focal Points Network, organizing a number of online events for government representatives and civil society, including on funding and protection of women peacebuilders, and impact-driven national action plans on WPS. Particular attention was paid to inviting speakers with different lived realities and perspectives, including youth, elders, Indigenous people, racialized communities and persons with disabilities, among others. These events provided a platform for continued multilateral collaboration and progress on the WPS agenda during the pandemic.
- As chair of the WPS Chiefs of Defence (CHODs) Network, Canada strengthened the network through increasing its membership by 23%,Footnote 2 developing a Network Charter that, among other things, will allow for the monitoring of member state pledges and the development of a training package for junior officers and non-commissioned members to address a gap in available WPS training. The WPS CHODs Network aims to strengthen the implementation of the WPS agenda in national armed forces.
- As lead of the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies, Canada set a strategic course for its next phase through the development of a 2021-2025 Road Map. This road map has a strengthened focus on gender equality, empowerment of women and girls, intersectionality, sexual and reproductive health services, localization and accountability.
- Canada’s multi-faceted Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations made important progress. It advanced bilateral partnerships with the Ghana Armed Forces, Zambia Police Service and the Ministry of the Armed Forces of Senegal; funded, alongside Norway, the design and pilot of a comprehensive barrier assessment methodology in 8 countries; and supported the launch of UN Women’s Elsie Initiative Fund for Uniformed Women in Peace Operations. This innovative fund is designed to provide financial contributions to incentivize efforts by troop and police contributing countries and the UN to accelerate the increase of women’s meaningful participation in UN peace operations in police and military roles.
- Through the establishment of a new Office of the Ambassador on WPS in June 2019, Canada improved coordination and coherence among federal Action Plan implementing partners, and Canada’s ability to act quickly when opportunities to advance the WPS agenda arose. In Sudan, where women were at the frontlines of the revolution, Ambassador Jacqueline O’Neill’s outreach to civil society and government, in combination with flexible programming delivered by Canada’s Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs), helped support women’s participation in the political transition.
“Talking about increasing women's access to decision-making processes and positions not only aims at ensuring quantitative representation, but also achieving a clear qualitative leap in integrating women's issues into all development efforts and public policies ... we will create a strategy that will provide a clear path for us as women.”
- Najla Al-Amin Cody, participant in 1 of 6 women’s networks established through a project supported by Canada in Sudan, implemented by the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA).
“The existence of a gender equality network enables tangible advocacy for the issues of women and young women, and it is a real breakthrough toward achieving the goals of UN Security Resolution 1325, especially in the transitional period...”
- Rayan Bashir (who has a visual disability), participant in 1 of the 6 women’s networks established through the SIHA project in Sudan.
Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security: Her first year
In her first year, Ambassador Jacqueline O’Neill helped reinforce several initiatives of Canadian diplomatic missions abroad. In a visit to Khartoum, she advocated for the meaningful inclusion of women and youth in transition processes following Sudan’s revolution, including in police and military reform. In Lebanon and Jordan, she helped build momentum among national governments to fully implement each country’s recently adopted national action plans on WPS. Accompanying Prime Minister Trudeau to Ethiopia and Senegal, Ambassador O’Neill represented Canada in meetings with the African Union and met with women peacekeepers. On all travels, Ambassador O’Neill ensured that she met with diverse women peacebuilders to hear directly from them about their priorities and perspectives to help better inform Canadian efforts.
Ambassador O’Neill also advanced Canada’s objectives through her participation in a number of multilateral forums. At the UN, she participated in 18 activities associated with the General Assembly, including as a speaker or moderator, and in 11 events at the UNSC, where she also delivered Canada’s national statement and a statement on behalf of members of the Group of Friends of WPS in the annual open debate on WPS in October 2019. At Egypt’s Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development in Africa, she shared Canadian and global experiences related to WPS and sought to integrate attention to gender and women’s perspectives throughout the agenda.
Canada was the first country to appoint an ambassador dedicated to WPS. From the outset of her mandate, demand for the Ambassador’s time—from civil society, multilateral organizations, and governments—has been very high. This interest affirms that at home and abroad, there is great interest in deepening engagements and strengthening capacities to implement the full WPS agenda.
Canada worked assiduously to advance WPS in regional and multilateral forums:
- Canada became chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) for 2020 with priorities to strengthen the focus on conflict prevention, economic security and improved alignment across the UN system, while mainstreaming inclusion, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment. During the year, the PBC developed a gender action plan to strengthen implementation of its gender strategy. The number of women peacebuilders invited to brief the PBC increased significantly, from 6 in 2019 to 25 in 2020. Canada is also among the top donors to the UN Peacebuilding Fund, which provides fast, flexible and risk-tolerant financing for peacebuilding in fragile states.
- Canada took command of the NATO Mission in Iraq (NMI) with the deployment of Lieutenant-General Jennie Carignan, who through her outstanding leadership, skills and expertise as commander of the NMI effectively modelled the value of deploying women in senior defence and security roles.
- At the UN in New York, Canada used its role as chair of the Group of Friends of WPS and the capacity of its WPS Ambassador to advance the WPS agenda, including by undertaking advocacy to achieve better outcomes in WPS resolutions 2467 (2019) and 2493 (2019). It also sought to build linkages between the participation pillar of the WPS agenda and other peace and security issues at the UN, notably disarmament and non-proliferation, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, anti-crime and counterterrorism, including by sponsoring or cosponsoring a number of resolutions with specific reference to increasing women’s participation.
Normative gains – despite ongoing challenges
UNSC Resolution 2493 (2019) served to standardize the phrasing women’s “full, equal and meaningful” participation in all stages of peace processes. It also recognized the importance of ensuring that “formal and informal community women leaders, women peacebuilders, political actors, and those who protect and promote human rights” are able to carry out their work safely and without interference.
- Canada renewed its support to the African Union Commission (AUC), which will help build the AUC’s capacity and support its efforts to increase gender equality and women’s empowerment, including in peace and security and by advancing the FemWise-Africa initiative, the AUC agenda for WPS, and the mandate of the Bureau of the AU Special Envoy for WPS.
- At NATO, Canada was the top financial donor to the Office of the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, and supported the development and adoption of NATO’s first policy on preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA).
Domestically, Canada worked to apply the WPS agenda and feminist principles to a number of new initiatives:
- The Government of Canada launched the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, which brings together federal efforts under a strategic framework and is supported by new funding to bolster efforts.
- In 2019 the Government of Canada brought into force Bill S-3, an act to amend the Indian Act to remove all known sex-based discrimination against First Nations women and their descendants from the provisions regarding entitlement to status. These amendments had the effect of reducing a long legacy of discrimination against First Nations women and their descendants.
- The government strengthened criminal laws in the context of intimate partner violence to enhance victim safety, and included in the Divorce Act a broad, evidence-based definition of family violence that refers specifically to coercive and controlling behaviour.
- Since the release of the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in June 2019, the Government of Canada has been working with various Indigenous, federal, provincial and territorial partners to develop a National Action Plan to End Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex and Asexual plusFootnote 3 (2SLGBTQQIA+) people. A structure, composed of over 100 Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, was established to oversee the development of the National Action Plan, and represents various components, such as family members and survivors, distinctions (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), different communities (urban, data/research, 2SLGBTQQIA+ people) and levels of government (federal and provincial/territorial). Each is developing its own specific contribution to the National Action Plan. Since late 2020, work on the National Action Plan has accelerated, and a number of these components are nearing completion. Over time, the National Action Plan will evolve, remaining evergreen and accountable to families, survivors and partners across Canada, and will set a clear road map to combat gender-based violence and systemic discrimination against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
- Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) continued to implement It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence(GBV), including through its ongoing efforts to address gender-based violence and provide expert advice to Action Plan partners. The federal strategy builds on current federal initiatives, coordinates existing programs and lays the foundation for greater concerted action on GBV. The Knowledge Centre is the focal point of the GBV Strategy, responsible for governance and coordination, reporting annually on results, working with federal partners to undertake data collection and research in priority areas, policy development, and knowledge mobilization. In December 2019, WAGE was mandated to build on the foundation laid by the federal GBV Strategy and advance the development of a National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence. WAGE has since engaged with federal and provincial/territorial governments, Indigenous leaders, and other stakeholders to advance the development of this National Action Plan.
- WAGE also ensured that a gendered and intersectional lens was applied across all government policies, programs and initiatives, including those related to the implementation of Canada’s Action Plan on WPS. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, WAGE ensured that robust GBA Plus was applied to response measures, given that the pandemic magnified gender and intersecting inequalities in Canada.
Finally, Canada assumed a number of new leadership responsibilities in 2020 and launched initiatives that will strengthen the government’s ability to drive change globally:
- Canada, together with the Netherlands, Malawi, civil society and youth-led organizations, among others, became the lead of the Generation Equality Forum’s (GEF) Feminist Movements and Leadership Action Coalition, and was selected as a catalytic member of the GEF’s Compact for Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action. Through this forum, Canada seeks to generate renewed action on gender equality and counter the ongoing anti-rights backlash, particularly in multilateral forums, and help to set agendas for urgent action and accountability to accelerate progress toward gender equality and Agenda 2030. Convened by UN Women and co-hosted by France and Mexico, the GEF commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action by bringing together key stakeholders to identify concrete actions to advance gender equality.
- To highlight the 20th anniversary of UNSC Resolution 1325 and address gaps in its implementation, Canada announced a number of new initiatives:
- dedication of a $5-million envelope to support grassroots women peacebuilders
- creation of an annual woman, peace and security awards program to highlight excellence in research and civil-society leadership
- launch of a global advocacy campaign by Canada’s network of diplomatic missions to recognize, support and protect the important work of women peacebuilders
- Canada committed to strengthening its Feminist Foreign Policy through the development of a policy paper in collaboration with civil society and building on its experience in implementing feminist approaches, including through its second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.
The Government of Canada is deeply grateful for the continued guidance provided by Indigenous and civil-society partners through the Advisory Group for its National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. This group enables the government to stay informed of civil-society priorities, have access to its expertise, and to improve its programming and policies accordingly. The government thanks its co-chair, the Women, Peace and Security Network-Canada, for its tireless engagement and vital contributions to improve the implementation of Canada’s Action Plan.
It is with renewed resolve that the government continues its efforts in collaboration with all of its partners toward the full implementation of the WPS agenda and Canada’s National Action Plan.
Canada’s second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security for the period 2017-2022 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.
While the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of UNSC Resolution 1325 in 2020 offered opportunities to celebrate progress, global trends underline the need for renewed efforts:
- Between 1992 and 2019, women constituted on average 13% of negotiators, 6% of mediators and 6% of signatories in major peace processes worldwide. Between 1995 and 2019, the percentage of peace agreements with gender equality provisions increased from 14% to 22%;
- As of May 2020, 5.4% of UN military personnel and 15.1% of police personnel were women, compared with 3% and 10%, respectively, in 2015;Footnote 4
- While bilateral aid supporting gender equality efforts in fragile and conflict-affected countries increased, bilateral aid going directly to women’s organizations stagnated at 0.2% of total bilateral aid to these countries. Women-led organizations working on peacebuilding receive only a portion of this funding.
- In 2019, more than 50 parties to conflict were credibly suspected of having committed or instigated patterns of rape and other forms of sexual violence in situations included OR listed on the agenda of the UN Security Council;
- Record levels of political violence targeting women were demonstrated in new data in 2019, and findings by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders showed that the rise of misogynistic, sexist and homophobic speech by political leaders contributed to increased violence against women, LGBTQ2I individuals and women human rights defenders;
Women peacebuilders and human rights defenders under attack
At the end of 2019, Somali-Canadian women’s rights activist and aid worker Almaas Elman was shot and killed in Mogadishu, a few hours after she had posted on social media about her sister’s speech at the United Nations on the importance of reconciliation.
- In 2019, at least 1 in 5 refugee or displaced women experienced sexual violence; 9 out of the 10 countries with the highest rates of child marriage were in fragile contexts; and refugee girls at secondary level were only half as likely to enrol in school as boys.
- The representation of women in national parliaments increased from 13.1% in 2000 to 24.9% in 2020; in conflict-affected countries, the representation of women in parliaments remained at 18.9%.
- As of July 2020, 85 member states (44% of the UN membership) had adopted national action plans on women, peace and security, representing an increase from 53 member states in 2015.
- Many of the best examples of leadership during the pandemic came from women, yet women led under 7% of countries at the pandemic’s onset.Footnote 5 A survey of 30 countries with COVID-19 task forces and committees showed that on average only 24% of members were women. In conflict-affected countries, they represented 18%.Footnote 6
In this context, 2 new WPS resolutions were adopted in 2019,Footnote 7 bringing the total to 10 UNSC resolutions centred on the importance of women’s human rights and their leadership in preventing and responding to conflict and crises. Yet, the level of implementation globally continues to lag.
This report and the attached departmental progress reports outline efforts to address some of these global implementation challenges and include achievements toward meeting the objectives and targets outlined in the Action Plan and departmental implementation plans to accelerate implementation of the WPS agenda during fiscal year 2019-20.
The tabling of this report, originally scheduled for September 2020, was delayed due to operational constraints brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These federal partners are responsible for implementing Canada’s Action Plan:
- Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
- The Department of National Defence (DND) and 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)
- Indigenous Services Canada (ISC)
Canada’s National 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, 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 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 upholding their sexual rights and their 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. Specific commitments toward these objectives are defined in the implementation plans for each Action Plan partner. CIRNAC and ISC adopted their joint implementation plan in April 2021.
The context: external and internal challenges
During the third year of the Action Plan, Canada faced both external and internal challenges to its implementation. Externally, on a global level, this included structural and cultural barriers to the meaningful participation of women and women’s organizations in peace and political processes, and pushback against the realization of women’s human rights. Internally, challenges included coordination and coherence across the large number of federal Action Plan partners. The COVID-19 pandemic brought a wide range of new challenges.
The COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic occurred at the tail end of the reporting period, and was only starting to have an impact on Canadian programming and other efforts. One such effect was the difficult decision to repatriate many of Canada’s police officers from overseas peace operations missions, primarily due to postponement or cancellation of operations by host countries or partner agencies. However, many members continued aspects of their activities via teleworking, and while some delays oncurred, key relationships and deliverables were maintained. Globally, to counter the increase in sexual and gender-based violence and redirection of resources to pandemic response efforts, Canada advocated for a response that protected gender equality and human rights, and worked to ensure that gender-responsive approaches and gender equality considerations were top of the agenda, including at the UN, NATO, OECD and in the G7 and G20. This included, for example, Canada initiating the joint statement by members the 3 UN-focused Groups of Friends of Women, Peace and Security; of Children and Armed Conflict; and of Protection of Civilians, in support of the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire.
Canada encountered notable difficulties in its efforts to advance the WPS agenda at the multilateral level, including at the UNSC, NATO and the OSCE. While member states generally expressed their support for the WPS agenda, resistance to certain aspects of it remained. For example, although there is clear consensus at NATO on the necessity of policies on issues such as SEA and conflict-related SGBV, the complexity of obtaining consensus on language can be a challenge. At the OSCE, the notion of “gender” creates deep divides along national lines, which, in a consensus-based decision-making model, sometimes results in the failure to adopt decisions that would have advanced WPS. In some cases, there was backtracking from previously agreed language. At the UN, references to, in particular, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) led to highly contentious negotiations around UNSCR 2467, and resulted in previously agreed SRHR language being left out of the text. This was the first WPS resolution that was not adopted by consensus.
Approximately 70% of UNSC resolutions in 2019 made reference to WPS, but only 1% of the Security Council’s discussion of country-specific situations included mention of women’s meaningful participation in peace and security processes.Footnote 8 Briefings by women civil-society representatives continued to increase in 2019, growing from 9 women in 2016 to 41 in 2019. Of those, the number presenting at country-specific meetings grew from 2 to 23 during the same period.Footnote 9 However, the upward trajectory was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 and the UNSC’s subsequent move to virtual meetings, with a reported 38.9% drop in total women civil-society briefers between January and June 2020. The trend was partly corrected during the second half of 2020, with a final number of 28 women civil-society briefers in 2020, 14 of whom presented at country-specific meetings.Footnote 10 This decrease is illustrative of the fragility of the structures supporting women’s participation. It is also important to note that civil-society briefers often take risks when sharing their perspectives publicly. In 2019, at least 3 civil-society briefers were harassed following their briefings at the Security Council.Footnote 11
Progress in the implementation of policy and programming is not necessarily linear, with progress often followed by setbacks. In Guatemala, for example, Canadian programming and diplomatic efforts have long focused on ensuring women’s access to justice for sexual and gender-based violence. Guatemala became an example to the world on transitional justice for women when in 2016 it delivered the first sentence in a national court for sexual violence and sexual and domestic slavery during an internal armed conflict in the Sepur Zarco case. Canada was among the donors that accompanied the Indigenous women who took the case to court, through project support and advocacy. Maintaining access to justice for this type of crime, however, has been challenging. In June 2019, a court dismissed the case of sexual violence committed against Achí women between 1981 and 1985, a case that Canada had helped these women to build through support to the local legal clinic.
Internal factors also challenged the effective implementation of the Action Plan. Canada’s Action Plan is operationalized by 9 federal partners with their own, evergreen implementation plans. These plans allow for a wide and expanding reach both in Canada and internationally in implementing the WPS agenda. At the same time, the diversity in ministerial mandates, and ongoing learning considering the use and understanding of fundamental WPS concepts and feminist principles, highlighted the need to develop a common understanding of how the agenda applies to individual departmental objectives.
The use of departmental and program-level targets and indicators has increased partners’ ownership of the Action Plan, as compared to the first Action Plan, but the model requires a sustained focus that has proven difficult in the face of high staff turnover and competing priorities. Any multi-partner, multi-year endeavour is vulnerable to inconsistency in focus and efforts, but even more so when ministerial level commitments must translate into program-level implementation. Objectives and targets are not in all cases fully integrated into federal partners’ day-to-day work, at times creating a perception of the Action Plan as being an annual reporting exercise rather than a guiding strategic framework.
The Action Plan’s Advisory Group, co-chaired by the government and the Women, Peace and Security Network-Canada with participation from Indigenous organizations, has proven a highly useful forum for regular communication and—for the government—continued learning and opportunities to improve its work. However, this collaboration has also put the sometimes different organizational cultures to a test, and some members, including Indigenous organizations, have wanted to engage but found themselves short-staffed or over-consulted. The switch to online meetings in 2020, due to COVID-related restrictions, allowed for more flexibility in both participation and meeting format, enabling more diverse participation and dynamic discussions—important lessons learned for the future.
Demonstrating change through the annual progress report remained difficult, despite efforts to improve the implementation plans and reporting process. While some of the measurable results during the reporting period, such as the adoption of a piece of legislation, met the immediate or intermediate outcome levels in the Action Plan’s theory of change (see Annex C), most were mere outputs, such as “the number of trained persons”. In general, it is also rarely possible to directly attribute results to improved stability, security or the lived experience of beneficiaries.
The government has tried to address these challenges, including through the creation of a WPS Ambassador, strengthening the roles of WPS champions, increasing outreach to and coordination between departmental focal points, and providing additional training opportunities for government employees. For example, recognizing the extensive and complex nature of the Action Plan reporting process, the large number of new reporting focal points and the difficulties brought about by working from home during the pandemic, GAC as the coordinator, built upon best practices from previous fiscal years to ensure that focal points had adequate support. Further efforts to continuously improve upon these processes are under way.
The mid-term review of the Action Plan, delayed due to the 2019 federal election and subsequent delay in tabling of the 2018-19 Progress Report, will present another opportunity to surface and address internal challenges to Action Plan implementation. The review will be an occasion to further evaluate current practices and make additional improvements to the government’s ability to effectively deliver and demonstrate progress with Action Plan targets. This will include a closer look at objectives, targets and indicators, and how to strengthen leadership and ownership across the government at all levels.
Results for fiscal year 2019-20 (April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020) from Canada’s efforts to implement the Action Plan are found in the progress reports from each government implementing partner that complement this summary narrative. This section includes examples of those results.
Objective 1: Increase the meaningful participation of women, women’s organizations and networks in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and post-conflict state-building
Canada continued its support to conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and conflict resolution initiatives ranging from formal track one peace negotiations to supporting local conflict prevention, peacebuilding and mediation efforts. To address the continued underrepresentation of women in these processes, Canada increased efforts to support the inclusion of women in all their diversity, as well as youth, LGBTQ2I persons and marginalized groups. Examples of Canadian efforts from the past fiscal year include the following:
- CIRNAC and ISC co-developed their joint Action Plan implementation plan with Indigenous stakeholders in Canada to ensure that it addressed their relevant needs. A goal of the joint implementation plan is to increase the participation of Indigenous women in consultation and engagement processes, including modern treaty negotiations, to ensure that their specific concerns and needs are addressed in the implementation of modern treaties.
- In fragile and conflict-affected states, 38 local women’s rights organizations received funding from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI). These organizations have a strong understanding of the local context and community needs, and the CFLI’s project size, averaging $28,000, and simple application and reporting requirements, allowed new and maturing organizations to access funding. For example, in Colombia, the CFLI supported a local project to promote the political participation of Awá Indigenous women. Through training on women’s empowerment and political participation, the leadership of Awá women was strengthened, and the political process within the Awá councils and in local government more inclusive, responsive and effective in meeting the needs of their constituents.
- In Colombia, 460 women in local communities strengthened their capacity to participate in political decision-making spaces through the Women’s Special Instance, supported by Canada through the UN Multi-Partners Trust Fund. The Women’s Special Instance is a mechanism that strengthens women’s voices in the implementation of the peace agreement, in particular its gender provisions, by promoting women’s participation and decision making in influential forums. This includes ensuring that protective spaces are available to mitigate the risk of gender-based violence targeting participants. Colombian women who have suffered the greatest in terms of violence (Afro-Colombian, Indigenous, children and adolescents) have reported improvements in their daily lives since the implementation of the peace agreement, but implementation is uneven, and enormous challenges remain in some regions. Through another project in Colombia, Canada improved the inclusion in the peacebuilding process of LGBTQ2I victims of the armed conflict. This was achieved by increasing the capacity of LGBTQ2I activists and survivors to understand their rights in the context of peacebuilding, and contributing to the operations of the Transitional Justice mechanism.
- Canada’s financial support to Cordaid in Afghanistan facilitated the creation of a core group of 30 women from all across the country, including those in remote districts and areas controlled by the Taliban, and provided them with training to advocate for the inclusion of the views of Afghan women in the peace process. This project was particularly important and appreciated by participants in a context where women’s participation in peace talks remained critically low. Canada also supported women’s inclusion in peacebuilding in Afghanistan through advocacy activities such as hosting events and training with women peacebuilders, Islamic scholars, academics, journalists and students; amplifying women’s rights activists’ messaging through policy dialogue and on social media; and publishing op-eds in local media. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Embassy in Kabul also provided a safe physical space for women to convene.
- In Iraq, Canada continued to support the implementation of the WPS agenda by providing training to both the 1325 Decision Making Network and the 1325 Alliance to further develop and advance organizational strategies and capacity-building plans. As a result, both the Network and the Alliance were able to develop several committees to implement these strategies. Canada also supported the establishment of 5 women’s advisory boards and helped to build the capacity of women’s rights organizations within Iraqi civil society through workshops in organizational development, communications and outreach. A total of 85 individuals from the women’s advisory boards and women’s rights organizations supported by Canada adapted their approaches and methods to advocate for inclusive governance at the local and governorate levels.
- In Lebanon, Canada’s advocacy and programming supported the increased participation of women and women’s rights organizations in peace and security matters. An example was a 3-day WPS conference, which underscored the important role of women in peacebuilding and in the security sector. It provided an opportunity for women community mediators to voice their views, and served to strengthen networks among stakeholders from the Lebanese government, security forces, civil society and international organizations. They all play important roles in the implementation of Lebanon’s National Action Plan on WPS.
- Canada and Uruguay co-hosted a workshop on “Opportunities for the WPS Agenda in the Americas” in Montevideo in December 2019, as preparation for their role as 2020 co-chairs of the WPS Focal Points Network and to explore the idea of a WPS regional initiative for the Americas. This was the first such regional workshop on WPS in the region, and was well attended by government, military, Indigenous and civil-society partners from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Women in leadership and political representation
- At the OSCE, Canadian efforts helped ensure that 2 out of 3 secretariat vacancies in senior positions were filled by women (the Deputy Secretary General and Director of the Conflict Prevention Centre, and Director of the Transnational Threat Department), and that a gender parity strategy was adopted.
- In Mali, Canada supported several projects that provided training on transitional justice, reconciliation, mediation and conflict prevention. Beneficiaries included civil society and community leaders. Of the women leaders who participated, 18 were later elected as municipal or village councillors, and 11 as town-hall councillors. The president of a local partner organization, herself a beneficiary of Canadian mediation training, was elected Minister for the Promotion of Women in the transitional government.
- Canada set a positive example by appointing women Canadian military officers to key senior positions at NATO:
- Commodore Josée Kurtz was the first woman in NATO’s history to be appointed Commander of a Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG), leading SNMG2 from June to December 2019
- Lieutenant -General Jennie Carignan, one of the highest-ranking women in the Canadian Armed Forces, led the NATO Mission in Iraq (NMI)
- Brigadier-General Darlene Quinn was in command of Canada’s Formation Europe (since September 2018)
- Lieutenant-General Christine Whitecross commanded the NATO Defense College in Rome (2016-2020)
- The RCMP pursued senior and influential positions within the UN and other multilateral bodies and missions for Canadian women police officers, securing, for example, the position of the Gender Advisor for the Global Coalition in Iraq by a Canadian woman.
- Gender-based quota systems have proven effective tools to increase women’s political representation.Footnote 12 In Haiti, Canada, in collaboration with UN Women, the EU and other donors, led in 2020 the development of an advocacy strategy in favour of a gender quota to increase women’s participation in politics. In South Sudan, Canadian advocacy and programming efforts supported calls for the government to uphold the provision in the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) of 35% women’s representation at all levels of government. While the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity fell short of the R-ARCSS quota, Canada continued to call for the quota to be upheld, in coordination with like-minded countries.
- Canada supported the advancement of women’s leadership in Iraq’s chemical security sector through a project implemented by CRDF Global. In 2019-20, 40% of qualified Iraqi women engaged in the project completed month-long fellowships in the chemical security sector in either a policy or scientific capacity. These participants subsequently reported that they would share the knowledge gained directly with colleagues, as well as through the development of workshops and trainings.
- Canada supported the Global Mentorship Program of the International Federation of Biosafety Associations (IFBA), which pairs biosafety/biosecurity professionals with young scientists seeking to launch their careers. An emphasis was placed on low- and middle-income countries in the Global South and women scientists. In 2019-2020, there were 28 mentorship matches made (which included 10 women mentors and 16 women mentees). Canada’s support to IFBA strengthens biological risk management across West Africa, the Middle East and North Africa.
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
Preventing conflict-related SGBV, ensuring accountability and supporting survivors remained a top priority for the government as these violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law remain unacceptably high worldwide. This also held true for addressing SEA by peacekeepers and international assistance personnel who are entrusted to protect the most vulnerable. During the reporting period:
- In September 2019, the Government of Canada announced its new 5-year National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, a key tool in countering SGBV, including in fragile, conflict and post-conflict settings. Built on the “4 Ps” approach (prevention, prosecution protection and partnership), the National Strategy aims to prevent human trafficking in Canada and abroad by increasing public awareness and building capacity; support prosecution by increasing law enforcement capacity; protect victims by addressing gaps in existing support services; and build and improve national and international partnerships. The National Strategy introduces a new pillar, empowerment, to help victims and survivors regain control and independence through age- and gender-appropriate, and trauma-informed services. As part of the Strategy, Canada joined Alliance 8.7, a global partnership to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 on the eradication of forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and launched a multilingual 24-hour national human trafficking hotline.
- In Canada, Public Safety Canada supported the Clan Mothers Turtle Lodge National Healing Gathering Initiative for the Support of Survivors of Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking. The program built on the success of the Clan Mothers’ promising practices and long-standing experiences using Indigenous models and methodologies of healing, and was the first national project to incorporate Indigenous, provincial and federal resources to prevent human trafficking and sexual exploitation through support for survivors. The program completed activities in Kelowna, British Columbia and Thunder Bay, Ontario, and honoured persons with lived experiences of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, acknowledging their strength and resilience.
- WAGE, in collaboration with Statistics Canada, conducted 3 national surveys in Canada to gather data and information on SGBV in public and private spaces, post-secondary environments, and workplaces, which will help to build evidence in support of improved and targeted policies and interventions.
- With the ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in June 2019, Canada increased its participation in conventional arms control at the multilateral level. The ATT requires states parties to assess the risk of negative effects of conventional arms exports, including violations of human rights and gender-based violence. During its first year as a state party, Canada provided funding to the ATT’s Voluntary Trust Fund to support ATT implementation, including work on gender and SGBV. Canada also provided funding to the ATT Sponsorship Program, notably to support the meaningful participation of women in decision-making forums and a wider, more diverse representation in the ATT discussions among states parties, and demonstrated leadership in mainstreaming gender in the ATT. For example, at the ATT Working Groups Meeting of February 2020, Canada supported an event on the capacity of states to accurately assess the prevalence of gender-based violence and other forms of human rights violations that lie at the heart of ATT Articles 6 and 7. The event contributed to promoting sound practices for generating GBV and human rights violations data outside of official statistics efforts, to allow for a more effective implementation of Articles 6 and 7.
“Stop fuelling conflict … we implore all countries to stop the export of arms to my country when there is a risk that they will be used in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, including to perpetrate sexual and gender-based violence, in line with the Arms Trade Treaty.Footnote 13”
- Sudanese student and activist Alaa Salah, speaking to the Security Council at the 2019 annual debate on women, peace and security.
- Canada continued efforts to enforce accountability for SGBV, including through support to UN Women’s deployment of expert investigators and advisors to collect evidence that sexual violence was used as a tool of genocide against the Yazidi community in Iraq. Support was also provided to UN efforts to investigate the use of sexual violence as a tactic to terrorize and control victims and their communities in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. UN Women also documented sexual violence against men and boys, often in detention centres as a tactic for interrogation, and against LGBTQ2I persons in Yemen and Syria.
- The deployment of a Canadian policewoman investigator to the International Criminal Court for the Central African Republic, to investigate and conduct interviews with victims and witnesses of SGBV crimes, contributed to 2 arrests, marking important steps toward delivering justice.
- Canada was at the forefront of increasing NATO’s capacity to prevent and respond to conflict-related SGBV, including by helping organize a conference with the Mukwege Foundation that enabled the testimony of SGBV survivors from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to inform NATO’s work in this challenging area.
- In the DRC, Canada continued to support programming and advocacy on the national strategy on gender-based violence, which was revised and finally adopted—5 years since the work began—by the Council of Ministers (June 2020), thanks to efforts by Canada and other actors.
- With Canada’s support, UN Women collaborated with the National Federation of Women Mayors of Haiti to hold in April 2019 a 3-day forum: “No to violence against women and Yes to their participation for inclusive democratic governance”. More than 100 people participated, including civil-society organizations led by women, and elected officials. During the forum, more than 30 police, justice and other actors in the security and justice system were sensitized on women’s political rights, the importance of women’s political leadership and the impact of electoral and political violence against women.
- At Canada’s insistence, along with like-minded countries, the OSCE secretariat took new measures to address sexual harassment, including the preparation of an action plan and the introduction of mandatory anti-sexual harassment training for all OSCE staff members.
- Canada strongly supports the UN Secretary-General’s Zero Tolerance Policy on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) by UN personnel, and in particular efforts to implement a system-wide approach involving all actors within or associated with the UN system. Canada also strongly supports the emphasis on victims and their rights in the development and implementation of UN policies and actions to prevent and respond to SEA. Canada maintained a focus on coordination and coherence on all Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) lines of effort, as reflected by the UN in the most recent UNSG report on SEA. Canada has established the PSEA Unit within GAC, which leads on coordination of PSEA efforts across the department and facilitates coordination between GAC and other government departments and agencies. Canada recognizes that SEA is grounded in a fundamental power imbalance between the victim and perpetrator and poses a serious operational risk to the viability of UN activities, including peacekeeping operations. Effectively preventing and responding to, and ensuring accountability for SEA-related misconduct by UN personnel is at the heart of the UN’s credibility and legitimacy, as outlined in the Conduct pillar of the 2018 Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative in particular. In this context, Canada continued to work with other donors, multilateral organizations and civil society to prevent and respond to SEA in the delivery of international assistance as well as peace operations. We did this through active support for training initiatives, active participation in multilateral prevention and coordination efforts such as the UN’s Special Coordinator on SEA and the SEA Victim’s Rights Advocate, and the adoption and implementation of prevention and accountability measures at the national level. This includes the requirement for Canada’s international assistance partners to adopt a code of conduct to prevent, investigate and respond to SEA.
- Canada played a key role in the negotiation and adoption of the first NATO Policy on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and subsequent implementation plan. This policy is seen as a “gold standard” for SEA, and a key tool aimed at promoting good conduct and accountability at NATO and within NATO’s allies’ and partners’ defence and security institutions.
- Canada funded the Canadian Centre of Expertise on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (Digna) through a collaborative partnership with Cooperation Canada to help close PSEA capacity gaps in the Canada civil-society organization (CSO) sector.
- A Canada-funded publication developed by the Gender and Mine Action Programme of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, “Guidance on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse,” helped operationalize a set of robust standards on reporting, investigation, prevention and monitoring to protect mine action sector employees from sexual exploitation and abuse.
Getting to the root of conflict: Canada’s Integrated Conflict Analysis Process
To ensure that Canada’s interventions are efficient, strategic and address the root causes of conflict and violence, in 2019, Canada introduced the Integrated Conflict Analysis Process (CICAP) and Integrated Peace and Security Plan (IPSP). The CICAP is a participatory process led by GAC’s Peace and Stabilization Operations Program that enables key Government of Canada stakeholders to develop a common understanding of the conflict drivers and opportunities for peace within a specific country. Findings are used to develop an IPSP, which outlines Canada’s overall peace and security objective for that specific country, as well as the key lines of effort and entry points to guide Canadian engagement. During the reporting period, CICAPs and IPSPs were completed for Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Haiti, Burkina Faso and Myanmar. New CICAPs and IPSPs were also initiated for Ukraine, Colombia and South Sudan. Efforts were made to ensure that the processes were gender-responsive, with new guidance developed to enhance the application of GBA Plus and integration of the WPS agenda. Each of the completed CICAPs identified several conflict and fragility drivers unique to each country, with gender inequality found to be deeply entrenched in all cases, as demonstrated, for example, by the low numbers of women in leadership positions in formal security, police, military and justice structures and institutions, and impunity of police and security forces’ crimes against women.
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
Women’s and girls’ empowerment and the protection of their human rights are at the core of Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy and its Feminist International Assistance Policy, and are necessary for their ability to participate fully in peace and security efforts. Violations and abuses of their human rights, patriarchal structures and a lack of adequate funding for women’s rights organizations, among other things, remain urgent issues requiring action in order to achieve progress toward more inclusive, equal and stable societies. Results in the Action Plan’s third year under this theme include the following:
- Canada’s $150 million Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL) program, along with Canada’s $300 million partnership with the Equality Fund, aim to address the funding gap faced by women’s organizations and movements that work to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in developing countries by providing them with a predictable and flexible source of funding, along with technical assistance.
- During the reporting period, the WVL projects implemented in over 31 countries and regions supported 434 women’s organizations and networks advancing women’s rights and gender equality. Those organizations received support for programming and/or institutional strengthening, including in fragile and conflict-affected states and regions.
- The Equality Fund will have a grant-making stream focused on crisis and humanitarian settings, including conflict-related crises, which will contribute to WPS objectives. During the reporting period, the Equality Fund held global consultations with women’s organizations to inform the design of the initiative, and provided multi-year and core funding to women’s organizations through direct grants for a total of $501,500 disbursed to 23 grantee partners working in 24 countries.
- Through the Women of Courage project implemented by KAIROS in the DRC, South Sudan, Colombia and the West Bank, Canada worked with local women’s rights organizations and women human rights defenders to provide legal and psycho-social support to women surviving domestic and community violence, and to become voices of change at the community and national levels. Local project partners participated in over 150 campaigns advocating for the passing and enacting of laws, legal reform and initiatives related to women, peace and security, of which 54 were specifically oriented toward male allies in government, multilateral organizations and the media.
“During these 2 and half years of the women, peace and security project, I have learnt what my rights are, how to claim and protect them. I am now a trainer in my community, educating other women of their human rights.”
- Marie Jeanne Bushosi, beneficiary of the Women of Courage project in South Kivu, the DRC.
- In Guatemala, Canada used a variety of advocacy tools to raise awareness about the rights of women and girls, especially Indigenous women and girls, to access justice in a post-conflict society. This included the creation in June 2019, in coordination with the U.S. Embassy, of the Indigenous women’s platform, a dialogue space for 25 Indigenous women leaders with government representatives, including the Vice-President and cabinet ministers, with 5 meetings held in 2019-20. The Embassy continued its Indigenous Peoples Professional Experience Program, contracting a Maya Quiche woman to support its programming and advocacy activities on Indigenous rights.
- A total of 77 Burundian human rights defenders (HRDs) were trained in a project by Defend Defenders, a regional human rights organization, with support from the CFLI program. This project was designed to empower and protect Burundian HRDs, including those living in Burundi as well as those in exile in Uganda and Rwanda by providing them with personal protection and advocacy training. It included activities exclusively focused on women HRDs, including a 2-day training session on safety and security for 30 women HRDs, and a 3-day training session on advocacy and networking for 5 women HRDs.
- In Myanmar, 425 women participated in mentorship activities supported by Canada, focusing on leadership, public-speaking skills, self-confidence, financial management, negotiation and persuasion skills. This translated into 83% of respondents reporting that they had participated in or led community groups or meetings in the last 12 months. In a project implemented by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) that oversaw gender-related research, grantees analyzed their own organizations for ways to improve gender equality, such as better maternity leave policies for researchers, and sharing what they learned with their communities.
- At the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF), Canada contributed to the establishment of a new gender equality unit that will help implement the OIF’s gender equality strategy by ensuring that all OIF programming integrates gender equality.
- Canada completed a gender analysis of all resolutions and decisions put forward in the First (Disarmament) Committee of the UN General Assembly, and through collective efforts with like-minded, achieved the inclusion or enhancement of gender perspectives in 17 of (28%) of the 60 resolutions and decisions adopted in 2019. Through the International Gender Champions Disarmament Impact Group (DIG), Canada also advocated for gender equality in non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament work multilaterally, regionally and locally. This included advocating for the inclusion of gender perspectives and for the equal, full and effective participation of women within the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons’ process.
- GAC continued its advocacy and programming efforts to include gender-responsive perspectives and WPS principles in anti-crime, counterterrorism and countering violent extremism (CVE) spaces, including at the UN, where it succeeded in incorporating gender-responsive language into several UN resolutions, including the Resolution on Victims of Terrorism. Concrete efforts included seeking to differentiate “gender” from “women” by highlighting the role that masculinities play in the context of crime, terrorism and violent extremism, the ways in which healthy masculinities, women’s empowerment and gender equality can contribute to effective and sustainable outcomes, and the need to account for the varied experiences of diverse groups of women, men and children across all anti-crime, counterterrorism and CVE efforts. Programming included, for example, support for a project in Kenya and Somalia to prevent recidivism and radicalization among female young offenders and children. This project provided vocational training in women’s and girls’ correctional and rehabilitation facilities, responded to gender-based violence through psychosocial support services, and improved women and girls’ access to educational and employment opportunities to support their social reintegration. GAC also worked closely with other government departments to integrate gender perspectives in a variety of policy documents, strategies, action plans and resolutions in this area, and to make linkages to and leverage domestic expertise and experiences to increase Canada’s policy and programming influence in counterterrorism and CVE globally.
- Domestically, the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence maintained its financial support for 7 countering radicalization to violence (CRV) intervention programs throughout the country located in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. Many projects funded through the Community Resilience Fund continued to develop the evidence base of the nexus between gender and security, paying special attention to the specific needs, risks and strengths of diverse communities and youth.
- Canada met its 2018 commitment to resettle an additional 1,000 refugee women and children over 2 years from various conflict zones around the world. In addition, over 2,500 women participated in the Visible Minority Newcomer Women Pilot launched in December 2018 to address the multiple barriers they face when trying to enter the Canadian labour market, including gender-based and intersecting forms of discrimination. Access—through the pilot—to employment-related services such as work placements, mentorships and employment counselling, supported them in acquiring knowledge, skills and connections to prepare for the Canadian labour market.
- Canada’s $400-million commitment to women and girls’ education in fragile, conflict and crisis situations, in support of the 2018 G7 Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls and Women in Developing Countries, has resulted in a number of initiatives. During the reporting period, this included the Dismantling Barriers and Improving the Quality of Education for Women and Girls in Fragile, Conflict and Crisis Situations Call for Proposals, under which GAC has allocated $83.7 million over 5 years. An additional $5 million was allocated to UNICEF Canada under the same commitment.
Working together: Groups of Friends of WPS
Groups of Friends of WPS, donor groups on gender, and similar groups provide opportunities for Canada to coordinate its programming efforts and positions with other actors, learn from civil-society experts, and conduct joint advocacy to advance the WPS agenda in multilateral forums and on the ground.
- Canada established the Group of Friends of WPS at the UN in New York in 2000 and remains its chair. During the reporting period, Canada convened this 60 plus members group 6 times, facilitated discussions with experts on a variety of issues related to the agenda, including women’s meaningful participation in peace processes, and helped build support for stronger language in UNSCR 2467 (2019) and 2493 (2019).
- In 2018, Canada achieved an important Action Plan target when it launched the Group of Friends on Women, Peace and Security in Geneva, which takes a cross-sectoral approach (human rights, disarmament, humanitarian affairs, accountability and international humanitarian law) with representation and participation of women as the cross-cutting thematic element. Canada has focused the group’s efforts on maintaining a network of well-informed stakeholders, including civil-society activists, to help identify gaps and opportunities for collaboration, aiming to effect concrete change for women and girls in fragile and conflict-affected situations. During the reporting period, Canada used the group to, among other things, promote the Arms Trade Treaty’s gender equality focus.
“During a lobby visit to Geneva that I did with other women human rights defenders and peacebuilders from the MENA region, the Canadian mission organized a closed meeting for us with the U.S., Norway and others in the WPS Group of Friends. This secured us access to government representatives during a very busy season for them, and allowed us to share our recommendations.”
- Rasha Jarhum, Peace Track Initiative At the OSCE, Canada helped to advance gender and WPS issues through several different groups, including the Network of Women Ambassadors and the Women in the First Dimension Network. The latter was created by a group of OSCE diplomats, including from Canada, to address the under-representation of women diplomats on security and politico-military issues (the first dimension of the OSCE), and on OSCE panels, where women mostly appear for WPS-themed discussions. The network’s first action was to provide, to the Chair of the Forum for Security Cooperation, a list of qualified women experts in the security field who could be invited as speakers.
- At NATO, although there is clear consensus on the crucial necessity of NATO policies on issues such as SEA and SGBV, the complexity of obtaining consensus on language relating to these sensitive topics can be a challenge. Canada helps to facilitate these discussions through its work as the de facto leader of the NATO Group of Friends of 1325.
- In South Sudan, Canada is an active member of the Women, Peace and Security Working Group (chaired by Norway and Sweden), using this forum to mobilize partners for enhanced coordination and to leverage their advocacy on women, peace and security-related issues and opportunities, including on respecting the 35% quota for women’s political representation at all levels of government.
- In Afghanistan, Canada co-chaired the Women, Peace and Security Working Group alongside a civil-society representative, and used this platform to coordinate efforts and amplify the messaging of Afghan women’s rights activists, and to advocate for women’s participation in the peace process.
- In Mali, Canada co-chaired the Gender Equality Donor group and used this platform to promote and advance the human rights and empowerment of women and girls, and support the implementation of resolution 1325, as well as the National Action plan on Gender Equality, which was developed with Canadian support.
- In Lebanon, Canada used its role as chair of the gender donor coordination group to promote gender equality and the human rights of women and girls through policy dialogue and advocacy. This included lobbying with the government and development and humanitarian response actors for improved data collection, analysis and reporting on gender, as well as the integration of gender in strategies, plans, programs and the crisis response. As a result, a gradual increase in sex-disaggregated data and analysis was observed in reports and presentations.
- Canada assumed leadership of the coordination of the donor gender group in the DRC, which collaborates with government ministries responsible for gender at the national and provincial levels.
- In Myanmar, Canada continued co-chairing the Gender Equality Women Empowerment group, which enables dialogue among donors, UN agencies and civil society on strategic approaches to advance women’s empowerment and gender equality in Myanmar. During the reporting period, Canada used this group as a platform to advocate for the Prevention of Violence Against Women draft law. Unfortunately, the drafting process came to a halt due to the government’s competing priorities.
- Through the Group of Friends of Corrections in Peace Operations, Correctional Service Canada contributed to advance WPS-related priorities in the group’s provision of political, technical, and personnel support to corrections work in UN peace operations.
- Canada continued to co-chair, along with Ireland, Namibia, the Philippines, and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, the Geneva-based International Gender Champions Disarmament Impact Group, which promotes gender equality, inclusion and diversity across the disarmament community and in relevant forums.
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
In the face of the pushback by certain governments against SRHR, Canada renewed its efforts to promote gender-responsive humanitarian assistance and sexual and reproductive health services through increased levels of funding and intensified advocacy. Throughout the reporting period, efforts included:
- During the reporting period, 96% of Canada’s humanitarian assistance funding integrated gender equality. Further efforts to articulate the Feminist International Assistance Policy in humanitarian contexts resulted in the launch in April 2019 of A Feminist Approach: Gender Equality in Humanitarian Action. This policy aims to address the systemic challenges that the humanitarian system faces in meeting the unique needs of women and girls, and identifies areas within the humanitarian response that have received less attention from the international community.
- Canada’s work in gender-responsive humanitarian action included a strong focus on support to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in crisis. In 2019-20, in line with Canada’s 3-year, $650 million commitment to SRHR, Canada provided $74.4 million in support of SRH services in its humanitarian assistance programming. This support helped prevent death, disease and disability related to unwanted pregnancies, obstetric complications and reproductive disorders, and gender-based violence.
- Canada chaired negotiations on the Human Rights Commission (HRC) resolution on eliminating violence against women and girls, which included more progressive language on SRHR than previous HRC and UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions.
- Canada continued to advocate for the specific needs of women and girls in humanitarian settings at the UN, including UNGA, the UNSC and other UN bodies. Sitting on the UNICEF and UNFPA boards, Canada advocated for a strong focus on SRHR, and stayed engaged with a number of civil-society organizations working specifically on SRHR in humanitarian and conflict situations, including CARE International, the Global Justice Center, and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
- Canada supported training of humanitarian actors on the Interagency Standing Committee (IASC) GBV guidelines to ensure lasting change within the humanitarian system in combatting and responding to GBV. In Syria, for example, Canadian support enabled training of 548 humanitarian actors on the IASC GBV guidelines, 13 GBV coordination meetings took place, and 46 humanitarian actors were involved in the implementation of the Whole of Syria GBV capacity-building strategy. In Jordan, an interactive mapping tool was developed for all facilities providing clinical management of rape services, containing information on geographical location and the availability of trained staff and medication in the mentioned facilities.
- Canada supported the implementation of the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies country-level Road Map in the DRC, including through direct support to UNFPA to convene local groups and coordinate advocacy efforts. The country-level road map in DRC—modelled on the initiative’s global road map but adapted to the country-context to address priority needs—was launched in 2019 alongside 68 members from national and state government entities, civil-society organizations and global Call to Action partners that work in DRC, including Canada.
- 180 beneficiaries in humanitarian settings in Jordan and Lebanon received training through a CFLI project with 12 local civil-society organizations to increase participants’ capacity to raise awareness on adolescent SRH issues. In Jordan, Ministry of Health officials were also engaged. It proved difficult to involve men and boys in the local follow-up sessions, both because families and associations refused the mixed gender session, and because SRH was seen as a “women’s issue”.
- In South Sudan, over 60,000 women gave birth with the assistance of a skilled birth attendant, close to 50,000 people adopted modern family-planning methods, and 3,300 women received post-abortion care as a result of services offered by the Health Pooled Fund and the project My Health, My Choice, supported by Canada. This support also increased knowledge on SRHR and helped to shape positive attitudes and practices in order to support women’s and girls’ agency.
- In 2019-2020, Canada continued to provide support, through various partners, to improve the SRHR of the poorest and most vulnerable women and girls in fragile and conflict-affected communities in Mali. For instance, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund, Canada promoted gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls by combatting SGBV in the southern, northern and central regions of Mali. In collaboration with the Canadian Red Cross, Canada provided SRHR services, including family planning, for women and girls in 6 districts of Mali during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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
To address the continued low numbers of women deployed to peace operations, Canada continued implementation of the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, the deployment of Canadian military and police officers to key positions in peace and stabilization missions, including as gender advisors, and helped to increase the meaningful participation of women and advance the integration of the WPS agenda in these missions and in national security forces:
- Canadian police deployed through the Canadian Police Arrangement (CPA) continued their efforts in promoting gender-sensitive policing, and the empowerment of women and girls in society and policewomen in beneficiary police organizations. This included deploying a Canadian policewoman to the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), who helped improve the training of women police officers serving in formed police units at UN missions across Africa, and the development of police training programs for the Palestinian Civil Police with gender-sensitive policing initiatives such as the establishment of a woman police officer committee.
- Recognizing that the participation of women is paramount to the success of international police peace operations and missions, the RCMP exceeded the UN targets of 22% for 2019 by deploying 30% (21 out of 70) Canadian women police in peace operations.
- Canada worked with like-minded countries to strengthen WPS language in the UNGA 4th and 5th Committees, the Special Committee on UN Peacekeeping Operations (C34), and the Contingent Owned Equipment Manual negotiations. Canada also undertook efforts to protect gender advisor and women protection advisor positions in peace operations and to advance WPS in the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial (UNPKM) process, including by holding a breakout session on WPS as part of a UNPKM preparatory meeting co-chaired by Canada in November 2020. Canada was named an Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) Women, Peace and Security champion and organized a meeting of the Group of Friends of WPS on this issue. Canada organized a high-level side-event on the Elsie Initiative and the importance of increasing women’s meaningful participation in peacekeeping during the 74th UNGA High-Level Week, and worked closely with the UN departments of Peace Operations and Operational Support to promote gender equality and WPS throughout all aspects of their work.
- The CAF continued to build on previous year’s successes in partnership with the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF), by conducting 2 additional mentoring and training serials for JAF’s Female Engagement Teams (FET). The JAF FET program is composed of both individual and collective training, ranging from basic physical fitness and soldier skills to specialized skills required for operating in complex military environments. The program aims to increase the meaningful participation of women in operational environments, beyond the predominantly women-dominated occupations, such as clerical or administrative roles. As a result of this partnership, the women of the JAF FET have been able to enhance JAF operational effectiveness by ensuring that women are involved in conflict prevention and resolution at the tactical level, facilitating liaison with the local populations and ensuring that vulnerable population’s concerns and needs are better understood by the JAF leadership. This support also helped implement Jordan’s first National Action Plan on WPS (JONAP). Since JONAP’s adoption, the number of uniformed women in Jordanian national security sector organizations increased slightly, from 4.73% in 2018 to 5.43% in 2019. The number of women in senior leadership and high-ranking positions increased from 4.7% in 2018 to 5.5% in 2019 within the Civil Defence Department; and from 1% to 1.6% within the Gendarmerie.
- Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) developed an international course, “Effective Practices for Gender Responsive Treatment of Women Prisoners”, and deployed 2 women facilitators to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in Bangui, Central African Republic to deliver the 3-day training to 25 staff (8 women and 17 men) from the Central African Republic Prison Administration, and to 1 member of MINUSCA. The training raised awareness of women prisoners’ unique needs, and enhanced the capacity of participants to challenge culturally established gender roles and manage the women prisoner population more effectively. CSC facilitators returned to MINUSCA to deliver the training of trainers version of the course to further develop local capacity.
“As a commander, my decisions and our actions were influenced by extremely talented and professional key female officers/senior NCOs in vital positions of influence. Our strength was this diversity.”
- Colonel Chris McKenna, Commander Canadian Armed Forces Task Force Mali, at the Forum for Security Cooperation, October 2, 2019
Improving the Government of Canada’s capacity to implement the Action Plan
Action Plan partners have set a number of targets to improve their own capacity to implement the Action Plan objectives, including on WPS training, improved integration of GBA Plus and gender equality programming, and the development of resources and expertise:
- Canada’s mission to the UN in New York continued the implementation of its Gender Pledge, which among other things calls for balanced gender representation in Canadian delegations, strong language on gender equality and women’s empowerment in resolutions, statements and side events, and regular consultations with women’s groups.
- More women were appointed as honourary captains (Royal Canadian Navy), and honourary Colonels and Lieutenant Colonels (Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force). In the Canadian Armed Forces, they contributed to increasing the meaningful participation of women through acting as role models and ambassadors to the public. They informed about CAF’s contribution to defence and security of Canada and assisted in the recruitment of quality personnel for the CAF. The CAF aims to increase the representation of women in honourary appointments to 50% by 2024 and is on track to meet this objective.
- GAC’s PSOPs took several measures to improve the quality, consistency and integration of gender analysis in PSOPs programming and policy. It engaged in dialogue with project partners; shared relevant tools to help partners apply GBA Plus and improve their gender analyses; and created a gender advisor position to support PSOPs officers. PSOPs also conducted targeted country gender assessments in Mali, Ukraine and Colombia. As a result, partners improved their gender mainstreaming practices by increasing their capacity to develop and implement gender strategies, consulting with diverse women's organizations, and facilitating women's participation in peace processes. For example, even in the absence of a formal process (e.g. Yemen); or lacking participation in the formal process (e.g. Mali), diverse women's groups, representing different political perspectives, have begun a process of dialogue, capacity building, and advocacy to express their demand not only for peace but also for equitable peace. These measures have also provided PSOPs with a better understanding of challenges and opportunities.
- RCMP appointed a GBA Plus expert to its senior executive committee to ensure that GBA Plus is integrated throughout decision making, and established a GBA Plus network to deepen GBA Plus competencies and application across the organization. The network works to identify and bridge gaps in employee knowledge, tools and resources.
- Progress resulting from the government’s GBA Plus Action Plan for 2016-2020 included new requirements for GBA Plus in Cabinet proposals; the establishment and strengthening of networks; the launch of GBA Plus implementation surveys to gauge progress in implementation; and enhanced GBA Plus training and tools. A review of progress and the impact of activities is under way, and consideration will be given to the development of additional training and tools to ensure that GBA Plus is applied across government, at all levels. The government also directed that GBA Plus be integrated into departmental results frameworks, departmental plans and departmental results reports, to strengthen its ability to monitor the impact of GBA Plus on government programs, policies and initiatives. The government has also directed that GBA Plus be integrated into the design and conduct of future government consultations, and guidance to this effect is being created in partnership with the Privy Council Office. Budget 2019 moved GBA Plus even further, reflecting concerted efforts to incorporate GBA Plus in the policy development process and to make the government’s analysis available to Canadians.
- The WVL program was supplemented by a monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) strategy that aims to generate evidence on best practices to support women’s rights organizations. Using feminist principles of learning as a process of inclusive participation, alliance building and social transformation, GAC hosted a 2-day MEL workshop in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, enabling inclusive spaces for dialogue and synergy between WVL stakeholders and contributing to amplifying the voice of women’s rights organizations in fragile and conflict-affected states in the region.
“The NATO Mission in Iraq continues to be successful in terms of women, peace and security, and I am quite pleased with the progress DND/CAF has made here on the ground. Collaboration with like-minded nations has been strengthened, with a high point being our partnership with the EUAM Iraq in organizing and conducting a high-level conference discussing how to advance the WPS agenda and overcome the obstacles between the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior. Conferences and training opportunities such as these open the door for more in-depth discussion surrounding WPS and how we can help people, specifically women and children, in the area.”
- Canada’s Major Carl Nielsen, NMI Gender Advisor
Gender Advisors – what for?
Canada deploys and/or funds gender advisors to peace and stabilization missions and international organizations to provide subject matter expertise and impact operational and strategic planning. As they often interface with partners, government and NGOs, and civil-society stakeholders, the gender advisor positions can also be key in ensuring proper engagements in support of gender and WPS efforts by host governments and other actors. One consistent challenge is that these positions are often staffed outside of regular budgets and staffing structures, posing a risk to the sustainability of these efforts.
- During the reporting period, Canada funded 2 gender advisor positions in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and 2 gender advisor positions in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) to support these operations. These advisors, recruited through the UN, worked to increase gender mainstreaming throughout the missions, facilitated the meaningful participation of women in peace negotiations, and supported COVID-19 prevention campaigns.
- In Iraq, the Canada-deployed Global Coalition Against Daesh’s Chief of Gender and Protection regularly shared best practices and lessons learned with other actors, including the European Union Advisory Mission to Iraq (EUAM Iraq) and the NATO Mission in Iraq (NMI) to ensure coordination of efforts toward gender-sensitive programming. Canada also provided a gender advisor to the NMI who assisted NMI members in their efforts to integrate WPS and gender perspectives into Iraqi military institutions and military schools. The NMI gender advisor also worked closely with the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and non-NATO entities, helping to advance gender perspectives and WPS in operations and programs.
- The Canadian Police Mission in Ukraine (CPMU) has a gender advisor position dedicated to providing advice on gender issues. During the reporting period, she delivered courses to the National Police of Ukraine to reduce incidents of sexual and gender-based violence in communities and improve the meaningful participation of women police officers in Ukraine. She participated in regular engagements, such as monthly round-table meetings with NATO partners and local ministerial representatives, and relevant activities, such as assisting in the organization of the annual conference of the Ukrainian Association of Women in Law Enforcement.
- Canada funded a senior gender advisor position at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a trade bloc in Africa in charge of mediating the South Sudan peace process. She provided the IGAD special envoy with gender analysis and tools to facilitate the mediation work, and supported the continued mobilization of women’s groups and networks across South Sudan and the diaspora and their engagement on the R-ARCSS. A concrete achievement was the establishment of a Women’s Ad-Hoc Mediation Committee, whose members received training as trainers and mediators, playing a major role in addressing conflicts in and between political parties.
- Canada continued funding the senior gender advisor position in the executive office of the UNSG to promote the integration of gender equality and the WPS agenda in processes of planning, analysis and policy at the highest levels of the UN. The senior gender advisor also used her leadership role to support the effective implementation of the UN’s system-wide gender-parity strategy.
- Canada deployed a gender advisor to NATO headquarters to support the senior gender advisor position in her efforts to advance gender perspectives and the WPS agenda within the organization. The Canadian, an employee of WAGE, provided strategic advice to NATO staff by ensuring that robust GBA Plus was integrated in decisionmaking and deepening GBA Plus competencies and application across NATO.
Conclusion and next steps
While considerable progress was made during the reporting period toward achieving the Action Plan objectives, challenges persisted, including ensuring that Action Plan objectives and WPS principles are fully integrated into the Government of Canada’s policies, programs and interventions. While the COVID-19 pandemic only began to show its impact on programming and policies at the end of the reporting period, as the pandemic took hold, it created new challenges and exposed and exacerbated others, including structural gender inequalities.
Efforts were made to address the areas outlined in last year’s report as requiring further attention, including an enhanced focus on addressing intersectional experiences of marginalization, discrimination and violence that affect, for example, Indigenous women and girls and LGBTQ2I persons. Meanwhile, attention is still required to develop an enhanced, common understanding among implementing government partners of gender, fundamental WPS principles and a feminist approach in the context of implementing the Action Plan. It will be important to draw on these lessons in the process of implementing Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy, including with respect to the development of appropriate tools, resources and guidance.
The new WPS Ambassador Jacqueline O’Neill and her office improved the government’s capacity to maintain leadership in advancing the WPS agenda, and to safeguard it against attempts to backtrack from previously made gains. Ambassador O’Neill’s efforts also allow Canada to further its ambition, including to expand the Action Plan’s reach at home.
The mid-term review, scheduled to take place in fiscal year 2019-20, was delayed due to the 2019 federal election and the COVID-19 pandemic, but is now under way. It will provide an additional opportunity for analysis and further improvement of the Action Plan to ensure that implementing partners shape their efforts to achieve optimal results.
Canada and Uruguay have agreed to extend their co-chair term of the WPS Focal Points Network into 2021. This ensures stable leadership of the Network during the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada will continue to shape this Network as a progressive forum for the WPS community to:
- share best practices
- advance the implementation of the WPS agenda
- elevate the voices of diverse women peacebuilders
Canada’s new leadership roles in the GEF Feminist Movements and Leadership Action Coalition and Compact for Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action are opportunities to focus on advancing women’s leadership and addressing the persistent barriers to their full, equal and meaningful participation in peace and security efforts.
Canada’s new UNSCR 1325 anniversary initiatives will allow the government to address other critical gaps in the implementation of the WPS agenda, specifically, the lack of recognition and adequate financial support for the vital contributions that women peacebuilders make to peace and security, and the need to better protect them against the threats and violence they face.
Finally, the recent protests around the world against systemic racism, as well as the documented increase in sexual and gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, have furthered the government’s understanding of the root causes of discrimination and violence, which occur in conflict and in peace, and the commonality of addressing racism and advancing the WPS agenda, at home and abroad.
In its continued efforts to strengthen the implementation of the Action Plan, the government will in particular seek to achieve a broader recognition of the impact of patriarchy, positive and harmful masculinities and the legacy of colonialism, and how these can be addressed through the Action Plan and a feminist approach.
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 codes,Footnote 14 Global Affairs Canada’s gender equality (GE) codes,Footnote 15 and a list of fragile and conflict-affected states created using 3 indices: the Fragile States Index, Global Peace Index and OECD States of Fragility Report. The projects are captured in our project database using these search criteria. Because of the application of OECD-DAC codes, the method can more accurately capture the relevant WPS components of projects, thereby providing more accurate reporting on funding amounts.
WPS funding: Based on this method, preliminary reporting demonstrates that GAC disbursed approximately $679 million to projects advancing the WPS agenda in 2019-20, as compared to $497 million in 2018-19, $408 million in 2017-18, and $221 million the year prior, before the second Action Plan’s adoption. The 2019-20 figures stem from 261 projects that fully integrated gender considerations (GE-02) and from 127 projects that aimed to advance gender equality (GE-03).
In the Action Plan’s countries of focus, GAC disbursed the following amounts to WPS programming:
- $50 million in South Sudan
- $47.6 million in Iraq
- $41.2 million in the DRC
- $34.1 million in Afghanistan
- $31.6 million in Mali
- $23.7 million in Syria
- $23.6 million in Haiti
- $21 million in Lebanon
- $20.9 million in Myanmar
- $19.8 million in Colombia
- $19 million in Jordan
- $3.7 million in Guatemala
- $0.5 million in Burundi
Below is a breakdown of GAC’s programming disbursements broadly aligned with the Action Plan’s 5 main objectives. Some objectives capture a much broader range of issues than others, which is reflected in the funding amounts.
While the total amount of WPS funding increased substantially from the previous fiscal year, a decrease appeared in 3 main objectives. It is important to note that these amounts represent disbursements made throughout the life cycle of a project, which may explain fluctuations in funding levels year to year. Many projects also contribute substantially to more than 1 objective, and their alignment for reporting purposes under the principal objective can also create shifts that under-report actual funding to complementary objectives. Lastly, the numbers reflect only the international assistance programming by GAC, and are thus not reflective of all of the Government of Canada’s funding investments to implement the Action Plan.
- Gender-responsive peacebuilding, peacemaking, and post-conflict state-building, including support to women and women’s groups working on peace-related issues: $21.8 million in 2019-20 as compared to $24.5 million in 2018-19, and $27 million in 2017-18, representing a decrease of 12% over the previous fiscal year.
- Prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence, including ending impunity and providing services to survivors, and addressing sexual exploitation and abuse: $ 50.4 million in 2019-20 as compared to $55.7 million in 2018-19, and $60.4 million in 2017-18, representing a decrease of 9.5% over the previous fiscal year.
- 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: $205 million in 2019-20 as compared to $130 million in 2018-19, and $106.3 million in 2017-18, representing a significant increase of 57.5% over the previous fiscal year.
- Advancing gender equality in humanitarian settings: $170 million in 2019-2020 as compared to $100 million in 2018-19, $100.7 million in 2017-18, representing a significant increase of 70% over the previous fiscal year.
- Sexual and reproductive health and rights in fragile, conflict-affected states and humanitarian settings: $ 222.6 million in 2019-20, as compared to $ 160.9 million in 2018-19, and $113 million in 2017-18, representing an increase of 38.3% over the previous fiscal year.
- Strengthening the capacity of peace operations to advance WPS: $9.2 million in 2019-20 as compared to $25.5 in 2018-19 and $664,000 in 2017-18, representing a decrease of 63% over the previous fiscal year.
Annex B: Definitions
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 1 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 18 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 1 or both of the parties and/or where 1 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 5 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 Plus) 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 Plus 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 Plus 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 state-building.
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 abuse is the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. All sexual activity with a child is considered as sexual abuse. Mistaken belief in the age of a child is not a defence.
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 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 fulfilment of sexual and reproductive health and rights
Sexual exploitation is any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.
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 C: Theory of Change for Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2017-2022
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