Canada’s first WPS National Action Plan was drafted in 2006 and covered the period 2006-2010, and the second covered 2011-2016. The latest National Action Plan was adopted in 2017 to run through 2022.
Objectives of the 2017-2022 NAP
- Increase the meaningful participation of women, women’s organizations, and networks in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and post-conflict statebuilding.
- Prevent, respond to, and end, impunity for sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated in conflict, and sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers and other international personnel, including humanitarian and development staff.
- Promote and protect women’s and girls’ human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in fragile, conflict and post-conflict settings.
- Meet the specific needs of women and girls in humanitarian settings, including the upholding of their sexual rights and access to sexual and reproductive health services.
- Strengthen the capacity of peace operations to advance the WPS agenda, including by deploying more women and fully embedding the WPS agenda into CAF operations and police deployments.
Canada has been a strong advocate for the WPS agenda, both nationally and internationally, ever since its inception. In 2000, Canada formed the Group of Friends on Women, Peace and Security, an informal group of 53 UN Member States. This Group, currently chaired by Canada, shares information and best practices, and conducts periodic joint advocacy in the UN context.
In the national context this NAP cites its "Operation Honour" which is the name of the Canadian Armed Forces mission to eliminate harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour within the Canadian military; the NAP makes explicit reference to the following principles:
- "Every woman and man who serves their country deserves to be treated with dignity and respect—anything less is simply unacceptable; and
- Any attitude or behaviour that undermines the camaraderie, cohesion and confidence of serving members threatens the long-term operational success of the Canadian Armed Forces.”
Civil society involvement in development of the NAP
The Government of Canada consulted extensively with various civil society organisations, in particular the Women, Peace and Security Network-Canada (WPSN-C), and comments “This input has been invaluable, and the Government of Canada is committed to strengthening this collaboration.” It also promised to increase the funding of other civil society organizations who are working to advance women’s rights, and civil society partners are to be involved in monitoring the NAP.
UN peacekeeping statistics
Statistics published by UN Peacekeeping for May 2023, show that almost one-third of uniformed personnel deployed by Canada to UN missions are women:
Women’s role in peacekeeping
Canada is a major founder and funder of the Elsie Initiative Fund for Uniformed Women in Peace Operations which aims to “support and incentivize efforts to increase the meaningful participation of uniformed women in United Nations peace operations”.
Canada is also the first country to have a WPS Ambassador, Jacqueline O’Neill, who has developed a Strategic Framework for WPS. This is a post that SecurityWomen has advocated for in the past, including calling on the UK to have such a post.
References and Sources
National Actional Plan of Canada 2017-2022, English translation available at: Canada's Action Plan for the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security - 2017-2022 (international.gc.ca)
Contribution of Uniformed Personnel to UN by Country, Mission, and Personnel Type. (as of 31/05/2023) is available at: 05-Missions Detailed By Country
The Elsie Initiative: The Elsie Initiative Fund (elsiefund.org)
Canada's Ambassador for Women Peace and Security (January 2023): Canada’s ambassador for Women, Peace and Security (international.gc.ca)Canada’s ambassador for Women, Peace and Security (international.gc.ca)Canada’s ambassador for Women, Peace and Security (international.gc.c
Strategic Framework - Canada's Ambassador for Women Peace and Security (May 2022): Strategic framework - Canada's Ambassador for Women, Peace, and Security (international.gc.ca)