Comprehensive report on the NATO/EAPC policy on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security and related resolutions

  • Last updated: 22 Nov. 2010 10:06

1. Background

1.1. Adopted by the United Nations in October 2000, UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security recognised the disproportionate effect of conflict on women and underlined the essential role of women in the prevention of conflict, as well as in post-conflict peace building and reconstruction efforts. It aims at the integration of gender considerations into all aspects of security work. This includes participation in conflict resolution and peace processes, peacekeeping operations, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration, security sector reform, protection and rights of women. It also targets increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions, as well as consultation with local and international women's groups.

1.2. Since 2000, three additional UNSC Resolutions have been adopted: UNSCR 1820, UNSCR 1888 and UNSCR 1889. UNSCR 1820 was adopted in June 2008, to complement 1325 by focusing on the prevention and response to sexual violence in situations of armed and post conflict. UNSCR 1888 was adopted in 2009, to reinforce UNSCR 1820, notably through the appointment of a UN Special Representative to advocate the ending of sexual violence in armed conflict. Finally, UNSCR 1889 was adopted also in 2009 building on UNSCR 1325 by improving the monitoring and reporting component and highlighting the importance of resource allocation.

1.3. October 2010 will mark the 10th anniversary of UNSCR 1325.

2. Allied and Partners’ approach to date

2.1. First, at national level, implementation of 1325 is supported through National Action Plans. Out of the total of 22 nations with approved plans, 16 are NATO and PfP nations (Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ and United Kingdom). Croatia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Serbia and Slovenia are in the process of developing plans.

2.2. Second, at the multilateral level, NATO and its Partners have joined a number of International Organisations, such as the EU and the OSCE, in contributing to the international community's efforts in support of the principles of UNSCR 1325 and its related Resolutions, and have advocated a broad approach to this global issue in the security field. There is increasing recognition that women have a crucial role to play and special skills to contribute to dealing successfully with the security challenges of the 21st century.

2.3. From a NATO perspective, and bearing in mind that women represent half of the world’s population, women remain nonetheless too often excluded from taking part in maintaining, restoring and defending stability. Their victimisation in conflict situations and marginalisation in peace building efforts continue to have a profound impact on global security.

2.4. Furthermore, the inclusion of the principles of UNSCR 1325 and its related Resolutions is essential to the success of a mission, as clearly demonstrated in NATO’s experience to date in Afghanistan. At the same time, the number of women employed by NATO countries' armed forces varies greatly between 3-18%. There is an insufficient number of gender specialists - male or female - to fulfil all current and potential requirements for NATO-led missions and operations. Some of these shortfalls are rooted in member countries' military traditions, and can only be overcome over time, provided it is consciously addressed today.

3. Allied and Partners’ objectives

3.1. Implementation of UNSCR 1325 should be seen in the context of NATO's wider policy objectives of enhancing security and stability. In order to achieve this goal, it should become an integral part of NATO's corporate identity, in the way it plans and conducts its everyday business and organises its civilian and military structures. Moreover, as a recognised element for the success of missions and operations, it should be fully integrated into all aspects of NATO-led operations.

4. NATO decisions and Partners’ involvement

4.1. It is in the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council that discussions began at NATO in 2007. In December 2007, the North Atlantic Council approved the NATO/EAPC policy on implementing UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security, which was developed in an open and transparent manner with PfP nations. It is a true partnership policy for an issue of global interest.

4.2. In summer 2008, the North Atlantic Council tasked the NATO Strategic Commands to provide a set of guidelines on the implementation of the Resolution. This resulted in bi-Strategic Command guidelines to be complemented by further political-military work, to be taken forward by the NATO civil and military authorities with NATO nations, in consultation with PfP Partners.

4.3. In spring 2009, the Strasbourg/Kehl Summit Declaration stated that "NATO remained actively engaged with its Partners in supporting the implementation of UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security, with the aim of having a comprehensive set of measures in place by Autumn 2010".

4.4. In spring 2010, a number of NATO nations proposed to raise the political profile of the Alliance's commitment to the implementation of UNSCR 1325. This resulted in the NAC tasking the development of two reports: 1) a comprehensive report with recommendations on mainstreaming UNSCR 1325 in NATO-led operations and missions; and 2) a comprehensive report with recommendations on the NATO/EAPC policy on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions.

4.5. In June 2010, Defence Ministers of all nations contributing to ISAF and KFOR operations endorsed the first of these reports, and agreed that an Action Plan be developed in time for the Lisbon Summit, detailing the specifics of implementation.

4.6. Finally, among NATO decisions, it is worth mentioning that the NATO/EAPC Policy was opened to MD, ICI and Contact Countries in June 2010.

5. Towards implementation

5.1. Process in place: organisation of work

5.1.1. In 2007, the work on the policy development was initiated through the creation of an informal Ad Hoc Group of NATO and PfP nations comprising members of 20 Allied and Partner nations. This open-ended group meets regularly to coordinate the overall implementation of decisions, and to brainstorm issues in an informal context.

5.1.2. Formally at NATO, a number of Committees are taking forward work within their respective domains with the Political and Partnerships Committee keeping the overall lead, the Operations Policy Committee dealing with 1325 in the context of missions and operations, the Committee on Gender Perspectives looking at a wide range of gender issues, and the Committee on Public Diplomacy, plus the former Economic Committee providing additional perspectives and increased visibility to this issue of women, peace and security.

5.1.3. On the military side, the Committee on Women in the Armed forces changed its terms of reference and name to become the Committee on Gender Perspectives in summer 2009 to formally support UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions, while an Office on Gender Perspectives was established in the IMS.

5.1.4. In addition, an interstaff civilian-military task force was established in 2009 to coordinate the work across NATO. It is chaired by the Political and Security Policy Division, which is in the lead for implementation of the overall policy. It brings together civilian staff at NATO HQ in different divisions (IS/PASP, IS/OPS, Defence Policy and Planning Division, Public Diplomacy Division and the Executive Management Division). It includes the International Military Staff (IMS/OPS, IMS/P&P, IMS/EXCO), ACO and ACT. The members of the task force also participate in the meetings of the Ad Hoc Group of nations.

5.2. A pragmatic approach for implementation

The overall strategy for implementation of 1325 in the NATO context is based on a practical approach, drawing on both internal and external resources to NATO. It builds on a five track approach: 1) mainstreaming UNSCR 1325 in policies, programmes and documentation; 2) cooperating with International Organisations and civil society; 3) operations; 4) education and training; 5) public diplomacy.

5.2.1. Mainstreaming in policies, programmes and documentation

5.2.1.1. “Mainstreaming” means inclusion of 1325 and related resolutions in NATO’s everyday business at all levels. This is essential to full implementation of the Resolutions. It should slowly yield a change in mindsets and behaviours, so that consideration is given to the impact and benefits of the Resolutions in the daily work of the organisation, its staff and committees. To that end, relevant decision-making bodies have been given responsibility to take forward implementation in their own domains of expertise.

5.2.1.2. Implementation of the Resolutions has been integrated in relevant PfP tools and mechanisms. Similarly, in NATO’s missions and activities, notably in Afghanistan as NATO’s current priority, the Resolutions have been integrated. UNSCR 1325 has also found its place in key documents from the NATO HQ Gender Balance and Diversity Action Plan to the Experts report on NATO's new Strategic Concept.

5.2.2. Cooperation with International Organisations and civil society

5.2.2.1. In the spirit of the Alliance's comprehensive approach to security, initiatives have been undertaken to engage with other International Organisations and civil society on the implementation of UNSCR 1325.

5.2.2.2. In 2009, the focus has been on exchanges with the United Nations and the European Union. While in 2010 exchanges were broadened to the OSCE, OECD and ICRC. Progress was also registered in engaging with civil society.

5.2.3. Education and Training

5.2.3.1. Education and training for civilian and military staff is an essential tool to raise awareness on UNSCR 1325, and to contribute to the effectiveness of operations and missions. It is effective given the support of an existing network of civil-military institutions. Education and training to support UNSCR 1325 implementation will be particularly useful to foster change in mindsets and behaviours by being embedded in NATO partnerships’ programmes and defence reform efforts. It is a long-term investment, which may not always be visible. The investment remains modest for each institution, but ultimately the benefit on investment will be felt over generations of students.

5.2.3.2. NATO has notably made use of its own institutions to support UNSCR 1325, such as the NATO Defence College and the NATO School in Oberammergau, in addition to NATO Headquarters itself, including the NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives. Through NATO Education and Training programmes, as well as institutions, such as the PfP Consortium of Defence Academies and Security Studies Institutes, and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), concrete support is provided to nations to complement their own programmes.

5.2.4. Operations

5.2.4.1. Beyond the general principle to protect women, effective integration of gender perspectives in operations has demanded a comprehensive and robust policy. Following approval by the North Atlantic Council of the NATO/EAPC policy on implementing UNSCR 1325 in December 2007, Bi-SC directive 40-1 was issued in September 2009. To support interoperability, this Directive is consistent with United Nations and European Union policies, but also with national action plans. While UNSCR 1325 was the binding legal authority for signatories, the Directive is core for gender perspectives in NATO military organisations and operations.

5.2.4.2. The Directive notably introduced standards of behavior and paved the way for the deployment of gender advisors (GAs) to ISAF Headquarters from October 2009. After less than a year, initial GAs’ efforts proved very successful in three areas: 1) full integration into the ISAF HQ staff while simultaneously enhancing situational awareness; 2) establishment of a network with Regional Commands, PRTs, NGOs and women’s organizations, which is improving trust and rapport with the civilian population; 3) COIN and operational effectiveness force multipliers, including the GA’s crucial contributions to the ISAF Engagement of Afghan Females directive as well as ISAF and IJC OPLANs and FRAGOs.

5.2.4.3. While the implementation of the Directive has already demonstrated positive results in NATO-led operations, it is recognised that mainstreaming gender perspectives requires a continuous and shared effort until it becomes the norm. This work is being taken forward by an ACO Gender Perspective Working Group which was established by SHAPE Chief of Staff in May 2010 and is endeavouring to implement UNSCR 1325 recommendations and operational lessons identified in all aspects of NATO-led operations.

5.2.5. Public Diplomacy

5.2.5.1. NATO has adopted a public diplomacy strategy, taking into account the strong influence of the media on the perception of the role of women in society, culture, the military and public life. The strategy has a dual approach: 1) communicating through the NATO TV Channel on Internet (NITV), the NATO website and digital outreach tools; and 2) engaging through direct exchanges, visits to NATO HQ, discussions and events to build long-lasting relationships and partnerships.

5.2.5.2. In view of the 10th anniversary of UNSCR 1325 and the increased international focus on participation, prevention and protection of women, NATO’s public diplomacy aims to raise awareness about NATO’s policies of gender mainstreaming in its structures, operations, and programmes. It also reinforces the Alliance’s message of commitment to women’s empowerment, including participation in post-conflict, peace building and reconstruction efforts, especially in the context of its missions and operations.

6. Way forward

6.1. Since the NATO/EAPC policy on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 was approved in December 2007, there has been clear progress in its practical implementation. The efforts undertaken should be consolidated and expanded beyond the 10th Anniversary of the Resolution in October 2010. To that end, following the Lisbon Summit, work should start on reviewing the NATO/EAPC policy and its implementation, building on the five track approach above-mentioned.

6.2. As demonstrated in other international organisations, high level commitment to the issue is essential to success. The Council, Ministers and Heads of State and Government should remain appraised of progress, together with partner nations. As a tangible expression of this high level commitment, an annual report by the NATO Secretary General on overall implementation in NATO, allied and partner countries should be issued for Council approval and public dissemination.

1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.