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Beyond Feminist Foreign Policy Briefing Series

The Beyond Feminist Foreign Policy briefing series explores the linkages between Feminist Foreign Policy and Women, Peace and Security and how to understand and realise a vision of what FFP could perhaps entail across thematic and geographical contexts. The series builds on the introductory briefing published by GAPS in April 2023 and a workshop with the GAPS network and other academic and civil society experts hosted in July 2023. Each briefing is co-written between GAPS and one or more member organisation. The series consists of 5 thematic briefings: climate change; meaningful partnerships; asylum and migration; the triple nexus; and disarmament and demilitarisation.  

Meaningful Partnerships: Conflict and crises disproportionately impact women and girls – particularly their access to power and decision-making. Policymakers and donors should embed meaningful partnerships as the foundation for future feminist approaches to foreign or development policy interventions. This approach would forefront the self-identified needs and priorities of local communities in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS) and ensure resources are suited to the context-specific dynamics of communities advancing the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. Without embedding this approach, any declared feminist foreign policy (FFP) will have limited opportunities to ensure a radical departure from the status quo. This briefing was developed in partnership with Women for Women International.

Climate Change: Climate change constitutes a serious and existential threat to human security, ecosystems, water supply, food security, and human health. It also, at least indirectly, increases the risk of violent conflict and all the associated human suffering. How national governments respond to it has domestic and transnational implications, including violent conflict, migration, human rights, and gender inequalities. Such responses are heavily influenced by gender dynamics, with patriarchal norms, expectations and exclusionary practices contributing to increased levels of climate vulnerability and conflict. While gender inequalities mean women are disproportionately impacted by the negative impacts of climate change, there is evidence that climate change exacerbates existing social inequalities further still. Climate change must be recognised and approached as a central pillar of any feminist foreign policy (FFP). This briefing was developed in partnership with Conciliation Resources.

Asylum and Migration: This briefing examines the intersections of feminist foreign policy (FFP) and migration and asylum through the lens of a detailed UK analysis. The UK is party to important commitments to tackle the root causes of forced migration and displacement as well as to protect the rights of people on the move. In practice though, the government has enacted increasingly draconian laws that, amongst other things, repudiate its responsibilities under the Refugee Convention. This impacts people seeking asylum as well as others and undermines the principle of shared responsibility across states. Migration continues to be widely portrayed as a threat to national security and the economy and people who migrate, whether for work, study, family unity, seeking asylum or other reasons, are dehumanised and scapegoated. Any FFP that does not fundamentally change the approach to migrant people, respecting them and their rights, will entrench current harms and enable further human rights violations.

The Triple Nexus: Moving beyond traditional humanitarian response, the humanitarian-development-peace nexus (or ‘triple nexus’) has been coined to describe the interaction between humanitarian assistance, development, and peacebuilding efforts and work to increase co-ordination and collaboration between actors working in these spaces. Similarly, Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP) explores the intersectional approaches to foreign policy decision-making, including who participates and represents decisions, and the need for more gender-transformative approaches. In this light, the two frameworks meet in the shared commitment of addressing the root causes of crisis and promoting stability through a more integrated response to confront the social, cultural, and economic factors and power relations (hidden and invisible) that that need to occur – both in the humanitarian system and within foreign policy discussions – to shift power dynamics in favour of those most affected, and to transform systems and structures which restrict, deny, or violate the rights of women and other excluded groups in times of crisis.

Disarmament and Demilitarisation: A feminist foreign, development, and security policy would mean taking effective steps to end arms production and exports, investing in human security instead of military structures, and developing participatory security policies that recognise and transform structural inequalities as drivers of conflict and violence. It is a long-term political, cultural and economic undertaking that requires strong feminist leadership and a clear-eyed approach to striking the balance between what is politically and practically possible in the short-term while charting a path towards its more transformational aspects. This briefing offers suggestions on how to reconcile the tension between policy-making aspirations and constraints, with a particular focus in the last section on practical recommendations in the right direction towards a feminist security, foreign, and development policy.



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