Spain adopted its most recent National Action Plan (NAP) in 2017 for the period 2017-2023. The NAP was developed by an Interministerial Working Group with the overarching goal to “contribute to ensuring the protection of the human rights of women and girls, and their substantive participation in conflict prevention, as well as achieving and consolidating peace” (p. 16). The NAP highlights that UNSCR 2242 (2015) was approved during Spain’s presidency of the Security Council, underscoring the importance of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Agenda for Spain. The NAP stresses the importance of the agentive status of women, emphasizing the importance of gender equality for the full implementation of WPS commitments. The NAP takes both a national and international approach to the implementation of the WPS Agenda, with particular focus on tackling the commitments holistically and promoting the interlinkages between gender equality reforms during implementation. Additionally, the NAP promotes an integrated agenda by demonstrating the links of the WPS Agenda to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with particular emphasis on SDGs 5 and 16 on gender equality and peace and justice, respectively. Nevertheless, the NAP does not include a substantive monitoring and evaluation framework or an allocated budget.
Spain’s most recent NAP is preceded by one other NAP, adopted in 2007, without a specific period of implementation. The first NAP had six overarching goals. While two of these goals focused on peacekeeping missions, the remaining goals focused on strengthening gender-sensitive peacebuilding; protecting the human rights of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict states; increasing women in disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) efforts; and encouraging the participation of Spanish civil society in the implementation of Resolution 1325. The second NAP expands on these goals by contextualizing the changing dynamics of international peace and security since the adoption of the country’s first NAP. Specifically, human rights and gender equality hold a more prevalent place in the revised NAP as well as links to the 2030 Agenda. Additionally, the second NAP expands its focus on disarmament by going beyond analyzing the issue from the narrow framework of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) efforts alone, and instead identifies gender mainstreaming in the non-proliferation of small arms and light weapons as an action item among its objectives.
Spain reported on the implementation of its NAP in its national reporting for Beijing+25 and in preparation for CSW64 (2020). Specifically, the country included the following update: “The NAP provides for the creation of a Consultative Group composed of the Ministries involved and civil society organizations, which will hold regular meetings in order to, on the one hand, maintain the intensity in the implementation of the plan and, on the other hand, evaluate its results and adapt its application to new elements. The Plan also provides for follow-up reports to be submitted to Parliament every two years. Since the first follow-up report is due in 2019, information is currently being gathered on progress, activities carried out and the budget executed, and meetings are planned with both the Ministries involved and civil society” (p. 62)
The most recent armed conflict in Spain’s history was its long-lasting conflict with ETA (an acronym for Euskadi ta Askatasuna [Basque Homeland and Liberty]), an armed separatist organization founded in 1959 with the aim to establish an independent Basque state. The conflict resulted in hundreds of casualties until ETA’s announcement of a unilateral ceasefire and its disbanding in 2011 and 2018, respectively.
In 2019, Spain was among the top 20 countries with the highest military expenditure as well as being among the top 10 arms exporters in the world.
Spain is a contributor to humanitarian aid, including as 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. Spain 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, Spain most recently served as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2015-2016.