Ireland adopted its most recent National Action Plan (NAP) in 2019 for the period 2019-2024. The NAP was developed by a working group that included representatives from the government, civil society, and academia. The NAP takes a holistic approach to the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Agenda, emphasizing the country’s overarching commitment to advance gender equality in all endeavors and to further examine the gendered impacts of poverty, inequality, climate change, and conflict. In line with this approach, the NAP not only recognizes the need for women’s meaningful participation in matters pertaining to peace, security, and conflict prevention, but also highlights the need for a root cause analysis that examines gender norms that lead to violence, inequality, and conflict (p. 6). The NAP approaches the implementation of the WPS Agenda both domestically and internationally, and emphasizes the interconnected nature of these two realms. Internationally, the NAP identifies Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Zimbabwe as key geographical areas to focus on for humanitarian, peacebuilding, and development action. The NAP also promotes an integrated agenda by linking WPS-related actions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite its detailed implementation framework, the NAP does not contain allocated or estimated budget.
Ireland’s third NAP is preceded by two other NAPs, adopted in 2011 and 2015 and implemented for the period 2011-2014 and 2015-2018, respectively. Civil society inclusion has been a consistent presence across all NAPs, with an effort to produce the NAP through a participatory approach. Specifically, Ireland’s third NAP was developed based on the findings and recommendations of the midterm and final reviews of the country’s second NAP, review of 48 written public consultation submissions, and three public consultation workshops attended by over 100 representatives from civil society, academia, and the government. Ireland’s three NAPs are similar in their level of detail and areas of focus, with the primary pillars of Resolution 1325–participation; protection; prevention; relief and recovery–adopted as the overarching goals of the NAPs. While the first NAP addresses disarmament through the narrow framework of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) efforts alone, both the second and third NAP expand the disarmament focus with an emphasis on increasing a gender perspective and women’s inclusion in arms control and non-proliferation.
Ireland does not have a recent history of armed conflict, but was party to the Good Friday Agreement (1998), which ended a decades-long conflict between Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom. Ireland has a longstanding policy of military neutrality, focused on promoting international peace and stability and refraining from joining military alliances. In line with this policy, the country is not a member of NATO, but is a signatory to NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program. While Ireland does not export arms, it is engaged in military equipment and technology exports, including equipment used in military aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Ireland also contributes to peacekeeping missions and humanitarian operations alongside being a contributor to humanitarian aid. Ireland is 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. Ireland 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.
At the multilateral level, Ireland currently serves as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2021-2022.