South Korea

The Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea) adopted its third National Action Plan (NAP) in 2021 for the period 2021-2023. It was preceded by two others. Analysis is forthcoming.

The 2018 NAP was developed by nine government ministries and agencies, including the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. The monitoring and evaluation framework of the NAP consists of biannual review meetings, with the aim to revise the NAP’s goals, strategies, and actions, in consultation with pertinent organizations and civil society members, after three years of implementation. The NAP does not include an allocated budget. 

The Republic of Korea’s second NAP is preceded by one other NAP, adopted in 2014 and implemented for the period 2014-2018. The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea called in February 2012 for a more systematic and strategic implementation of UNSCR 1325. Based on consensus for the establishment of the NAP, the Government began the process of drafting an action plan 2012, which was completed in 2014. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs led the government-wide effort to draft the NAP in close cooperation with civil society through a public-private consultative body, made up of representatives from government agencies, civil society, and academia. 

The Republic of Korea 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 report indicates that the country’s second NAP was established “to ensure more systematic and strategic implementation as it saw the need to expand the scope and promote awareness in the field of women, peace and security, and to further enhance private sector participation and strengthen the basis for implementation” (p. 71). 

The most recent armed conflict in the history of the ROK was the Korean War (1950-1953). The fighting was brought to a halt with the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement, which resulted in the creation of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (or DMZ), a strip of land dividing the Korean peninsula while also being the most heavily fortified border in the world. However, the Korean War has never been formally concluded with a peace agreement, a fact which has contributed to the ongoing instability in the region.

Women activists have long called for an end to the political tension that has shaped the lives of Korean citizens for decades. Launched in 2019 by several women’s civil society organizations, including Women Cross DMZ, Nobel Women’s Initiative, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and the Korean Women’s Movement for Peace, Korea Peace Now is a global advocacy campaign working towards the establishment of sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula through an inclusive peace agreement. In addition to this collective advocacy effort, women activists have also been demanding justice for women who survived sexual slavery (euphemistically referred to as “comfort women”) perpetrated during World War II by the Japanese Imperial Army. 

In 2019, South Korea was among the top 10 military spenders as well as among the top 10 arms exporters in the world. Additionally, South Korea enforces mandatory military service for all able-bodied men between the age of 18 and 28. 

At the multilateral level, South Korea most recently served as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2013-2014.

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