skip to Main Content

Assessing UK Government Action on Women, Peace and Security in 2023

Read our report: Assessing UK Government Action on Women, Peace and Security in 2023 

One year on from the launch, GAPS analyses the UK Government’s implementation of the fifth National Action Plan (NAP) on Women Peace and Security (WPS) undertaken in 2023.This report, informed by four case studies co-created by women’s rights organisations (WROs), women human rights activists and GAPS member organisations, considers the progress and learnings for the UK Government to take forward into the proceeding years of NAP implementation, highlighting the WPS focus countries of Afghanistan and Ukraine, and the non-focus countries of Sudan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. 

This report reflects on a year of significant restrictions and rollbacks to women’s rights, globally in 2023. An estimated 70% of Palestinians killed in Gaza since the beginning of the siege have been women and children; anti-gender movements in the United States, Ghana and Uganda have ensured the rollback of reproductive and LGBTQI+ rights; and Afghan women continue to be subjected to, what Afghan and Iranian women have called, gender apartheid under the Taliban. Overall, this report makes findings that the UK Government is failing to meet their commitments in the face of these challenges, with isolated and inconsistent implementation of the WPS agenda.  

The Government has demonstrated a lack of cohesive and joined up strategy, often with contradictions between the public messaging, internal approach and funding committed. The transition of the Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), a significant funder of WPS programmes, into the Integrated Security Fund (ISF) has reduced the prioritisation of WPS from two of four thematic priorities to one of six, and there remains to be clear decisions on how funding will be distributed. This report also recognises the increasingly volatile political environment and shrinking civic space in the UK. The UK Government has continued the implementation of hostile, draconian domestic policies, such as the Illegal Migration Act of 2023. As a cross-border and transnational framework, GAPS analyses, the WPS agenda must be consistently applied across the domestic and international. New funding announcements are welcome and can make a significant impact but do not undo the damage caused by the previous aid cuts.  

This assessment of UK Government action on WPS in 2023 provides analysis and concrete recommendations regarding a wide range of policies impacting women and girls, including the need to directly consult women’s rights organisations, as frontline experts with solutions and recommendations for inclusive and sustainable peace within their contexts, and provide further core, flexible and multi-year funding to facilitate the vital work of feminist organisations and movements. GAPS hopes that, as the impact of heightened conflict and insecurity is highlighted in this assessment, the UK Government will consider the learnings and recommendations and shift its implementation in the second year of the NAP.  

This report builds on previous GAPS publications (including annual shadow reports) which include analysis of, and recommendations for, the UK Government’s work on WPS.

Back To Top