Afghanistan adopted its first National Action Plan (NAP) in 2015, for the period 2015-2018 and 2019-2022, to be implemented in two phases. The NAP was developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which serves as the head of the Steering Committee that will work in collaboration with other government agencies, civil society, and international organisations for the NAP’s implementation and monitoring. The NAP was developed to address the challenges women face in the aftermath of war and conflict in Afghanistan, and is organised under the primary pillars of UNSCR 1325: participation, protection, prevention, and relief and recovery. Nevertheless, the NAP does not address disarmament issues, nor does it connect the proliferation of weapons with women’s insecurity, despite the fact that the implementation of the NAP is being undertaken within the context of the ongoing conflict. Additionally, there have been numerous difficulties in terms of resourcing the implementation of the NAP.
Afghanistan reported on the implementation of its NAP, as well as WPS commitments, in its national reporting for Beijing+25 and in preparation for CSW64 (2020). Specifically, the country provided the following updates, among others:
- Comparative analysis of year 2016-17 to 2018 shows that remarkable progress has been made towards adopting and implementing NAP for women, peace and security … Security situation has changed significantly for better in period at national and regional levels, finances and allocations of budgets are completed in 2017 for implementing the plan. Capacity building of points for NAP completed in 2017 with technical assistance from UNWOMEN. Provincial resourcing saw slow progress because of finalizing of national financing mechanism. However, 2017 Status Report on the Afghanistan’s National Action Plan shows considerable Policy coordination came through the formation of steering committees and their meetings on quarterly basis. (p. 81)
- The High Peace Council (HPC) reports in the 2017 Status Report on the Afghanistan’s National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 that their five-year strategic plan center’s around women’s participation in peace, reconciliation and reintegration in Afghanistan. In addition to the achievements mentioned above, Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) reported that there is a roster of 66 women covering 34 provinces in Afghanistan. The women on the roster participated in peace negotiations with the armed opposition both in Afghanistan and abroad. (pp. 81-82).
Afghanistan has experienced varying forms of armed conflict since the past five decades, including civil wars and the US invasion of the country in 2001. Under the Taliban regime, which lasted from 1996 until 2001, women were banned from participating in public life, including access to education, healthcare, and employment. While women made a number of gains after the collapse of the Taliban regime, women’s meaningful participation in the Afghan peace process, as well as not backsliding on human rights, including women’s rights, is of critical importance. During the 23 rounds of peace talks between 2005 and 2014, women were included at the peace table in only two occasions. Furthermore, the negotiating team that was announced after the November 2018 conference in Geneva had three women, but no civil society representatives. Women were excluded from the US-Taliban talks throughout 2019, as were issues of women’s rights, leading to widespread concern among Afghan women that their human rights would be compromised for the sake of an agreement. In 2020, there were four women among the 21-member government negotiating team in the intra-Afghan talks.
In 2019, Afghanistan was among the top 15 countries in the world with the biggest increase in their military expenditure, with a 20% increase in its military spending. Additionally, in 2019, Afghanistan was among the top 30 largest importers of arms.
Global Gender Gap Index 2020
Arms Trade Treaty Ratified
Military expenditure (2019)
$227 million USD
Explore Afghanistan's National Action Plan
The Steering Committee is the body responsible for the NAP development process where there is a civil society representative. In the drafting stage, civil society conducted several meetings with the Steering Committee and the Technical Working Group to review and provide substantive comments and inputs. No further detail is given to specify the nature of the role played by a civil society representative.
WILPF did not have a country section in Afghanistan at the time of the adoption of 2015 NAP and therefore was not involved in the development process of Afghanistan's NAP.
The development of the NAP was initiated in coordination with civil society, and conducted through the establishment of the following structures:
- Steering Committee with the Minister of Foreign Affairs as the Chairperson Member;
- Technical Working Group representatives from international organizations and foreign diplomatic missions in Kabul;
- Drafting Committee;
- Coordination Committee.
While there is no clear reference on the mechanism for civil society involvement, the NAP text lists civil society as one of the agencies to be fully or partially responsible for conducting specific actions. For instance, under the Strategic Objective "Enhancing Women’s meaningful participation in the reconciliation, negotiation, and re‐integration at all levels", civil society organisations are assigned the action of "Establish a national roaster of potential women negotiators from all 34 provinces".
The NAP is a government policy and a reflection of government’s commitments with regards to the implementation of UNSCR 1325. Lead implementing agencies are government agencies, ministries, structures and institutions, while civil society, media and the private sector play an important role as the supporting agencies.
NAP Monitoring and Evaluation
There is no clear reference for how civil society will be involved in the monitoring and evaluation process. However, the government recognises the important role of civil society as an independent oversight body for the successful implementation of the NAP.
A separate Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Plan is designed, which includes annual monitoring, mid-term (after two years) and final review (Evaluation) in the fourth year. The M&E Plan will include tracking and monitoring of financing for the NAP to ensure transparent and effective implementation, for which the Steering Committee is responsible.
The NAP spans over two phases of four year period each, and the actions in the matrix section of the NAP are linked to specific time frames. The phase one will cover 2015‐2018 and phase two will cover 2019‐2022. Also, for each strategic objective, there is a time frame set to denote in which phase the objective actions should be achieved.
The Afghan NAP is organised under the main UNSCR1325 themes: Participation, Protection, Prevention and Relief and Recovery. Each theme has a number of strategic objectives distributed across specific areas of work. For instance, under participation, there are the following objectives distributed across Civil Service, Security and Peace and Reintegration:
Objective 1: Increased meaningful participation of women in the decision making and executive levels of the Civil Service, Security and Peace and Reintegration
Objective 2: Strengthening women’s active participation in national and provincial elections.
Under each of these objectives there is a number of strategic objectives followed by a number of specific action, expected results, indicators, reporting mechanism, time frame and implementing agencies.
Each Strategic Objective of the Afghan NAP includes a series of actions for practically achieving these goals. For instance, under the Prevention theme Strategic Objective 1: Protection of women through implementation and monitoring of EVAW law,anti‐human trafficking and abduction law, there are the following actions:
Develop and implement of a monitoring mechanism on implementation of EVAW law, anti-human trafficking and abduction law.
Strengthen the justice sector to effectively and efficiently address the VAW cases with special focus on prosecution office and courts.
The annual reporting by the lead agencies will be prepared on the basis of indicators, templates, activities and their specific responsibilities. For each objective, there is an assigned quantitative indicator. The NAP lists quantitative indicators to track the progress of objectives and activities. For instance, for strategic objective "Increased awareness among all military personnel on how to protect women from violence" the specific indicator is "Number of military personnel briefed on how to protect women from sexual violence and number of commanders informed of their responsibility to protect women." In total, there are 39 quantitative indicators listed in the NAP.
The Steering Committee has a central role in the monitoring and evaluation process for the NAP. separate Monitoring and Evaluation
(M&E) Plan is designed, which includes annual monitoring, mid‐term (after two years) and final review (Evaluation) in the fourth year. The M&E Plan will include tracking and monitoring of financing for the NAP to ensure transparent and effective implementation, for which the Steering Committee is responsible. The GIRoA recognizes the important role of civil society as an independent oversight body for the successful implementation of the NAP.
The Afghan NAP does not include an allocated or estimated budget and there are no other financial resource consideration references within the NAP. However, it does note that the absence of dedicated funding is a key concern for successful NAP implementation and accountability.When budgeting/costing the NAP, the Steering Committee should encourage national and international donors to commit to funding for the duration of the NAP.
Throughout the course of implementation attention should be focused on seeking and raising funds from multiple national and international sources. The Steering Committee should also work to increase the available funds to the NAP through the annual national government budget. The budget should also contain a contingency plan, and some margins for each expected budget line that will be used when limitations in funding occur. The NAP budget should be revised on an annual basis if needed and necessary adjustments should be made.
Also, under Relief and Recovery pillar, Objective 2: Adequate financial resources are available for activities related to women in emergency, the NAP stresses that analysis of national budget should be through a gender lens.
Afghanistan's NAP does not address disarmament issues, or connect the proliferation of weapons with women's insecurity.