Canada adopted its most recent National Action Plan (NAP) for the period 2023-2029. This is preceded by two other NAPs, adopted in 2017 for the period 2017-2022 and in 2010 for the period 2010-2016. Analysis on the 2023-2029 NAP is forthcoming.

The 2017-2022 NAP was developed by Global Affairs Canada, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), in partnership with Public Safety Canada (PS), Status of Women Canada (SWC), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Department of Justice. The NAP recognises the crucial role of civil society, especially local women’s organisations and movements that advance women’s rights and aims to collaborate with Canadian civil society and women’s organisations at the grassroots level. The NAP’s objectives are organized under the four thematic pillars of Resolution 1325: prevention; participation; protection; and relief and recovery. The NAP aims to support women’s full participation in peace and security efforts; to prevent, address and fight impunity for conflict-related sexual violence; and to consolidate women’s and girls’ empowerment and advance gender equality. Each supporting partner has its own implementation plan to achieve the goals of the NAP and strengthen the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. The NAP does not have an allocated budget.  

Canada’s second NAP is preceded by its first, drafted in 2006 and adopted in 2010 for the period 2010-2016. The first NAP takes a whole-of-government approach in implementing the NAP, which is organized into thematic pillars that align with the framework of Resolution 1325: prevention; participation; protection; and relief and recovery. The first NAP interprets the implementation of the WPS agenda mostly internationally, placing particular emphasis on peace operations, including increasing the number of women represented in them as well as ensuring that they are designed in a gender-sensitive way. Furthermore, the NAP identifies among its objectives the need to ensure mechanisms that promote departmental accountability for the implementation of its action plan. Canada’s second NAP is significantly more substantive and comprehensive, underscoring the importance of human rights and gender equality for the realization of peace while also aligning its WPS commitments with the 2030 Agenda. The NAP also addresses Canada’s own challenges in that regard. Specifically, the NAP identifies the ongoing problem of intersecting forms of discrimination and violence against Indigenous women and girls as a legacy of colonialism and the residential school system, and commits to addressing the repercussions of colonialism for the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The NAP is accompanied by a detailed implementation plan, published separately from the action plan. 

Canada does not have a recent history of armed conflict, but contributes to overseas military and peacekeeping missions. In 2019, Canada was among the top 20 arms exporters in the world, and continued selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, despite criticism from civil society organizations about Saudi Arabia’s role in fueling and exacerbating the war in Yemen. 

In 2017, Canada adopted a Feminist International Assistance Policy. The policy’s core priority is identified as gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, with five additional supporting priorities: human dignity; growth that works for everyone; environment and climate action; inclusive governance; and peace and security. 

Canada is also a contributor to humanitarian aid, including being a contributing donor to the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, a global partnership that works to empower women in conflict zones and humanitarian crises. Canada is also a partner of the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies, a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to mitigate and provide accountability for gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies. In 2019, Canada was UN Women’s seventh-largest other resources contributor with USD 9.6 million and the tenth-largest total government contributor with USD 14.4 million. 

At the multilateral level, Canada was most recently a candidate for a non-permanent position at the United Nations Security Council for the period 2021-2022, but was not elected. 

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