Iraq adopted its first National Action Plan (NAP) in 2014 for the period 2014-2018, making it the first country in the MENA region to adopt a NAP. The NAP was developed by the Federal Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government with cooperation between the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense in Baghdad and Ministry of Interior and Women’s High Council in Kurdistan along with the Iraqi NAP 1325 Initiative (I-NAP1325 Initiative), which consists of women’s rights organizations and networks across Iraq and Kurdistan. The NAP is organized around six pillars: participation; protection and prevention; promotion; social and economic empowerment; legislation and law enforcement; resources mobilization and monitoring and evaluation. Each pillar has a set of objectives, generally aimed at protecting and promoting the rights of women to increase their participation in decision-making spaces as well as raising awareness about the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda. The NAP has an allocated budget, broken down by strategic objectives and corresponding years.
Iraq reported on the implementation of its NAP in its national reporting for Beijing+25 and in preparation for CSW64 (2020). Specifically, Iraq indicated that the second NAP for the period 2019-2023 is currently being drafted with the support of UN Women and will also include “the active participation of women in peace and security efforts and the prioritization of their needs in planning, programme development and implementation.”
The most recent armed conflict in Iraq’s history was the US invasion of Iraq, which lasted from 2003 until 2011. Coupled with decades of prior armed conflict, including the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and the Gulf War (1990-1991), the invasion exacerbated the political instability in the country. These conflicts, as well as the UN sanctions imposed on Iraq following the Gulf war, had a disproportionate impact on women and girls, furthering structural inequalities that impeded their participation in social, political, and economic life.
In 2019, Iraq was among the top 10 countries in the world with the biggest increase in their military expenditure, with a 21% increase in its military spending.
Global Gender Gap Index 2020
152 out of 153
Arms Trade Treaty not Ratified
Military expenditure (2019)
$7.5 billion USD
Explore Iraq's National Action Plan
A network of civil society organizations organized an Iraqi NAP 1325 Initiative (I-NAP 1325 Initiative) that was instrumental in developing Iraq's NAP.
WILPF does not have a country section in Iraq and therefore was not involved in the development process of Iraq’s NAP.
The NAP was developed by the Federal Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government, with input from the Ministry of Women's Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense in Baghdad, and Ministry of Interior and Women's High Council in Kurdistan.
There are no specific Civil Society Organisations mentioned as implementers of the Iraqi NAP, but there are references to women's organisations, women's networks, CSOs broadly, and local NGOs to assist in certain activities.
Iraq's NAP has these same actors implementing the NAP, in addition to: High Commission of HR, President's Office, Women Committee in Parliament, INGOs and UN agencies, Legal Committee in the Parliament, Committee for Women's Issues in the Prime Minister Office, Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of Justice and Judicial Council, Ministry of Education, Communication and Media Commission, and Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
NAP Monitoring and Evaluation
There is mention of CSOs, women's organisations, and private sector involvement during the monitoring and evaluation process, but no specific organisations are mentioned.
Those tasked with monitoring and evaluating the NAP are: The Supreme Council for Women, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Human Rights Board and Ministry of HR, Women High Council, Ministry of Defense, and Ministry of Finance.
Iraq's NAP covers the period for 2014-2018, but does not offer timeframes to complete specific objectives or actions.
Iraq's NAP is organized into six pillars, which resemble the pillars outlined in UNSCR 1325. Each Pillar has a general objective, and then a set of strategic objectives:
- Protection and Prevention
- Social and Economic Empowerment
- Legislation and Law Enforcement
- Resources mobilization and
- Increase influence of women and women’s right approach in negotiation, civil peace and in political decision making
- Improve the living conditions of women and ensure their rights and services and access to them therewith
- Integration of UNSCR1325 on a national level
- Women in Iraq have better economic conditions and are more independent
- Harmonization national legislation with international standards and mechanisms for women’s rights, including UNSCR1325, annulling articles which violate women rights and promulgating/enacting legislations that protects and promotes them
- Implementation of NAP1325 have the support of all actors and I-NAP1325 Initiative support effectively its monitoring
For example, Pillar 3, Promotion, has the following strategic objectives:
- Gender integration and mainstreaming in all policies and processes related to conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peace-building in Iraq.
- Raising awareness empowering women and enhancing their capacities through rights based approach.
For each strategic objective, the Iraqi NAP lists a series of actions. For example, for Pillar 4, Social and Economic Empowerment, under the first strategic objective - "Ensure the enjoyment of equal access of women and men to resources and opportunities during the transitional period", they list eight actions:
- Awareness raising and advocacy activities towards local communities, government and international donor community.
- Enacting policies providing equal opportunities for women and men in social, economic and political fields.
- Identifying government intervention and reviewing the pension law for women for disabled and displaced women.
- Introducing employment policies, allocating small project grants for establishment and development of cooperatives to support widows, especially those heads of households.
- Updating government support to victims of war and human trafficking.
- Reviewing and accelerating the adoption of the Social Security Act for workers and Labor Law to ensure the rights of working women.
- Designing rights based programs for street children minors and orphans.
- Involving the private sector and civil sector to support and empower housewives and uneducated women and girls, creating channels to allow them enter the labor market.
For each action, Iraq's NAP provides indicators. For example, under Pillar 1, Participation, for the first strategic objective - "Develop mechanisms to ensure sustainable effective and proportional participation of women in decision making positions (legislative, executive, judicial) on local and national level", they provide three indicators (one for each action):
- Number of women and presence of women’s rights in formal peace building structures/process in Iraq.
- Number of policies and laws enhancing women’s participation that have been enacted canceled or amended.
- Percentage and position of women in the legislative executive and judicial bodies reconciliation committee.
Iraq's NAP sets forth the following actions in Pillar 6, Resource Mobilization and M&E:
- Establishing monitoring and evaluation mechanism of governmental implementation of NAP enabling participation of the civil society as I-NAP1325 Initiative) and beneficiaries.
- Institutionalize the participation of women’s rights NGOs in the monitoring and evaluation of the NAP.
- Conduct capacity building programs for effective monitoring and evaluation of the NAP and develop capabilities in reporting.
- Form coordination committees on local level or institutionalize implementation of NAP1325 through the reconciliation committees on national level.
- Incorporate the National Action Plan in the periodic and sectorial plans, budget and programs.
- Mobilize resources from development agencies and partner organizations and private sector.
- Develop a coordination mechanism on local and national level, involving national and international partners in the process.
The Iraqi NAP provides an estimated budget for each of its six pillars, broken down into each pillar's strategic objectives by year. Each objective has an allocated budget. For example, for Pillar 2, Protection and Prevention, they give the following (in USD):
Pillar 2 Amount 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Strategic Objective 1 747,000 210,000 219,000 208,000 55,000 55,000
Strategic Objective 2 13,700,000 2,900,000 2,730,000 2,690,000 2,690,000 2,690,000
Subtotal 14,447,000 3,110,000 2,949,000 2,898,000 2,745,000 2,745,000
There is no mention of disarmament in Iraq's NAP despite the high level of conflict, flow of small arms and illicit weapons, and the effect weaponry has had on the civilian population, particularly women and children.