On Tuesday 25th April 2023, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security (APPG-WPS) hosted the UK Government’s 2022 oral Report to Parliament on the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security with Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS). The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) presented their progress on the final year of the UK’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (UK NAP) 2018-2022. GAPS also launched its Shadow Report, Assessing UK Government Action on Women, Peace and Security in 2022.
Baroness Fiona Hodgson of Abinger CBE, Co-Chair of the APPG-WPS, introduced the event and discussed the importance of the Report to Parliament on the UK’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and explained that the meeting allowed for civil society and the Government to highlight successes, challenges and gaps in the implementation of Women, Peace and Security Agenda.
She continues on to highlight that 2022 marked an important year of the 2018 – 2022 National Action Plan, as the final year of implementation. Baroness Hodgson reflects on the events of 2022 including COP27 held in Egypt, being an important platform to point out the links between climate change and the Women, Peace and Security agenda. She also spoke about how 2022 was a difficult year for women and girls, as rights in Afghanistan and Ukraine continued to deteriorate, and as global climate disasters such as flooding in Pakistan and Bangladesh left many women and girls displaced. She then introduced the three speakers:
First, we hear from Sarah Taylor, Director for Conflict, Stabilisation and Mediation at the FCDO. Sarah begins by giving reassurance that Women, Peace and Security will remain a priority for the FCDO. She then goes on to highlight some key achievements from the UK Government’s 2022 Report to Parliament including the UK Government’s quick response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and funding sent to those most vulnerable; the launch of the Women, Peace and Security Helpdesk funded by the UK government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) as a resource for key stakeholders at the UK Government and the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) Conference, held in London on the 28th and 29th of November, which highlighted the UK Government’s commitments in tackling conflict-related sexual violence and supporting survivors and their communities.
Looking forward to the implementation of the fifth NAP, which will run from 2023 to 2027, Sarah comments on the stronger deliverable and domestic application of the upcoming NAP, stronger Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) framework and better inclusion of civil society partners in the process of the fifth NAP. The fifth NAP also introduces three new focus countries, Ukraine, Ethiopia and Yemen.
Joanne Crouch, Assistant Head of the MoD Human Security policy team spoke next. Joanne Crouch shared MoD’s recent work on Women, Peace and Security which includes the implementation of Women, Peace and Security agenda with international partners in Jordan, Bosnia, Lebanon and Sri Lanka; human security and conflict-related sexual violence training to Ukrainian soldiers since the illegal invasion of Russia to Ukraine and gender and Women, Peace and Security mainstreaming in MoD’s work. Joanne Crouch also noted that human security is now central to the way the MoD design their mission.
Lastly, we heard from Eva Tabbasam, Director of GAPS. Eva discussed the areas where the UK Government has made progress, and highlighted where more can be done, such as in funding, robust MEL system and the domestic application of the UK NAP on Women, Peace and Security. Eva reflects on the significant ODA cuts in 2021 and 2022. As Eva points out, without a dedicated Women, Peace and Security fund or publicly available records of gender programme spending by the CSSF – which will now become the Integrated Security Fund- FCDO and the government, it is not possible to see how current funding has contributed to the delivery of the UK NAP. She then goes on to reiterate the importance of MEL processes that are designed and built in a participatory manner which is community-led and inclusive of civil society, especially women’s rights organisations. Finally, Eva highlights the need for policy coherence across foreign and domestic policy.
Eva also presented the GAPS Shadow Report which assesses the UK Government’s 2022 Annual Report to Parliament on the NAP and focuses on how the UK Government has used the final year of implementation for this NAP whilst providing recommendations to the implementation of the newly launched 5th NAP.
Several questions were asked in the Q&A, including asking about policy coherence and commitments to restoring funding. Sarah responds by sharing that they are still committed to restoring funding and want to be more transparent about how the money is being spent. Joanne shares that the MoD continue to work on policy coherence and bringing a human security and women security lens in policy implementation.
GAPS and the APPG-WPS look forward to continuing to monitor and assess the UK Government’s NAP on Women, Peace and Security.