Belgium presents a fourth National Action Plan “Women, Peace and Security” (2022-2026) for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325

On 25.02.2022, Belgium adopted a fourth "Women, Peace and Security" National Action Plan (2022-2026) for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The Women, Peace and Security agenda aims to improve the situation of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations, including through the promotion of gender equality and the human rights of women and girls, the prevention of and protection against violence against women and girls, and the participation of women in decision-making in the field of peace and security, for example in peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction talks.

 
Elements of context

War, armed conflict and crisis often affect women and men differently. Conversely, women and men do not always participate in the same way in conflicts, their prevention and resolution. While men are more often directly involved in armed conflict, women often feel the impact of armed conflicts both indirectly, due to difficult and unsafe conditions caused by war, and directly, as civilian victims.

In addition, women often are affected by the effects of conflict much longer than men. After all, they are hardly, if at all, involved in peace talks and the preparations for reconstruction. As a result, their specific needs are not heard or taken into account. Moreover, the consequences of sexual violence during conflict situations (loss of honour and exclusion from the community, pregnancy, health problems, etc.) do not end when the conflict itself ends. Sexual violence often continues or even intensifies after the conflict.

 
Main actors and partners

The Women, Peace and Security Agenda is implemented by the member states of the UN as well as by the UN itself and various other regional organisations, including NATO, the EU and the OSCE. In 2004, in order to ensure the concrete implementation of Resolution 1325, the UN Security Council called on all Member States to develop their own National Action Plan (NAP) on this theme. Like many other countries, Belgium responded to this call by drafting various successive National Action Plans.

This new, fourth National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security for the period 2022-2026 was presented to the Council of Ministers on 25 February by Sophie Wilmès, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Affairs and Foreign Trade, and the Federal Cultural Institutions, together with Vincent Van Quickenborne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and the North Sea, Ludivine Dedonder, Minister of Defence, Annelies Verlinden, Minister of the Interior, Institutional Reform and Democratic Renewal, Meryame Kitir, Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Policy, Sarah Schlitz, State Secretary for Gender Equality, Equal Opportunities and Diversity and Sammy Mahdi, State Secretary for Asylum and Migration, in charge of the National Lottery. Their administrations are involved in the follow-up and implementation of the objectives and lines of action in the plan.

 
A coherent policy

This fourth plan builds on the experiences gained in the implementation of previous action plans and takes into account an evolving context. For example, the plan anticipates conservative opposition to concepts such as 'gender' and includes action lines on climate change. As with the previous action plan, this new plan consists of six priority objectives: strengthening the international normative framework; gender mainstreaming; the protection of women and girls against all forms of violence; the participation of women in peace processes and peace building processes; support for the Women, Peace and Security agenda; and follow-up and monitoring.

These objectives apply both in Belgium and in its policy towards partner countries of the Belgian development cooperation, countries with which Belgium maintains bilateral relations, international organisations of which Belgium is a member, countries where the Belgian armed forces are active and towards third countries. In four focus countries, the coordinated action of the various Ministers and State Secretaries will provide an opportunity to further deepen the implementation of the action plan, particularly in Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Niger.