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USA announces National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

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Summary of stories from The White House Blog, The Council on Foreign Relations, All Africa and PeaceWomen, December 19, 2011

President Obama has issued an executive order implementing the United States’ first National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (NAP).

The White House Blog has called this a “historic step toward a future where all men and women can reach their full potential.”

The NAP embodies and sets forth the United States’ commitment to ensuring that women around the world play an equal role in promoting peace and achieving just and enduring security.

“Deadly conflicts can be more effectively avoided, and peace can be best forged and sustained, when women become equal partners in all aspects of peace-building and conflict prevention, when their lives are protected, their experiences considered, and their voices heard,” Barack Obama said.

The NAP is the result of over a decade of work which began with a United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution encouraging member states to integrate a gender perspective into all aspects of peace and security.

In 2004, a subsequent UN Security Council statement called on the ‘development of national action plans’ to further implement the original resolution.

The US is the 33rd country to have released a NAP. Denmark, the Cote D’Ivoire and Spain launched their plans between 2005 and 2007.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explained why this is such a landmark step.

“Because women’s economic empowerment leads to greater prosperity for their societies, we are putting women and girls at the centre of our global efforts on food security, health, and entrepreneurship.

“We are working to lower barriers to their economic participation so more women in more places have the opportunity to own their land, start their businesses, access markets, steps that will ultimately lift up not only their families but entire economies and societies,” she said.

The NAP commits the US government to providing international support for women engaging in peace processes, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that focus on women’s participation, integration of women into security sectors of partner nations, improving the UN’s capacity to combat sexual violence, working to prevent human trafficking and ensuring humanitarian assistance reaches women as well as men.

Agencies will be held accountable for their commitments under the NAP.

The US Departments of State and Defense and USAID will establish measurable actions to ensure the NAP objectives are monitored and integrated correctly.

They will also conduct a review of and update to the NAP in 2015 informed by consultation with international partners and civil society organisations.

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