Serbia adopted its most recent National Action Plan (NAP) in 2017 for the period 2017-2020. The NAP was developed through a collaborative process that included representatives of public administration and local self-government bodies, academia, civil society organisations, and independent experts. The NAP takes into account the results of the evaluations of the implementation of the previous NAP, undertaken by civil society organisations. The NAP identifies five overarching objectives, including developing preventive mechanisms to protect women before, during, and after conflict as well as increasing women’s representation in all decision-making processes pertaining to peace and security. The NAP identifies corresponding actions and indicators as well as an allocated budget for each action identified.
Serbia’s most recent NAP is preceded by one other NAP, adopted in 2010 and implemented for the period 2010-2015. The NAP was developed by the Ministry of Defense. The NAP has seven key pillars focused on institutions; representation; decision-making; inclusion; protection; education; and media. In particular, the NAP focuses on increasing women’s representation in decision-making positions and processes within the defense and security sector; conflict resolution and post-conflict context; and in multinational operations. The NAP also emphasizes protecting women and girls from humans rights violations and gender-based violence.
While the second NAP includes fewer pillars, focusing on actors, institutional bodies, and mechanisms; prevention; participation; protection; and recovery, the content of the overall objectives remains similar. Additionally, Serbia’s second NAP includes a dedicated section to review the challenges of implementing the first NAP, which include, among others, a general lack of awareness among local governments about Resolution 1325 and Serbia’s NAP. Additionally, the survey revealed that there were no women mayors among those surveyed, and no funds were allocated to the implementation of designated activities to implement the actions identified in the NAP. This survey was complemented by a civil society report, and led to public consultations for the drafting of the revised action plan.
Serbia 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 country provided the following update, among others:
- The Women, Peace and Security area is integrated into the National Gender Equality Strategy for the period from 2016 to 2020, which particularly emphasizes the importance of the active role of women in preserving peace and security, points to the consequences of armed conflict on women and girls and the importance of the active role of women in peacebuilding and the country’s post-conflict recovery. The area of Women, Peace and Security, i.e. the application of CEDAW’s General Recommendation No 30 is part of Serbia’s reporting to the CEDAW Committee. Moreover, the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life signed by 73 municipalities, recognizes the need to develop local policies with the aim of improving security of women and men, especially safety and security in the local community and combating gender- based violence. (p. 66)
Serbia became an independent state in 2006 after its peaceful separation from Montenegro, both of whom were previously part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The most recent history of armed conflict in Serbia’s history is the Yugoslav Wars (1991-1999), in which Serbia was involved through its military interventions in the wars in Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Kosovo. Serbian forces perpetrated numerous war crimes as part of these conflicts, including ethnic cleansing, genocide, and systematic rape. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was established in 1993 to prosecute crimes committed during the Yugoslav Wars.
In 2019, Serbia was among the top 5 countries in the world with the biggest increase in their military expenditure, with a 43% increase in its military spending.
Global Gender Gap Index 2020
39 out of 153
Arms Trade Treaty Ratified
Military expenditure (2019)
$1.1 billion USD
Explore Serbia's National Action Plan
The development of Serbia’s NAP was inclusive, participatory and included input from civil society organisations (CSOs). The development of the new National Action Plan takes into account the results of the evaluations of the implementation of the previous National Action Plan (2010-2015), implemented by civil society organisations. It took into account the research studies of the academic community, civil society and international organisations concerning the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325. In addition, public consultations on the Draft National Action Plan were organised by the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society, the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities of Serbia and the OSCE Mission to Serbia in May and June 2016 in six cities.
WILPF does not have a country section in Serbia and was therefore not involved in the development of the NAP.
The NAP drafting efforts were coordinated by the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, the Government of the Republic of Serbia, at the proposal of the Ministry of Defence.
The NAP highlights the role of civil society as the NAP implementing partner. For instance, under Action 1.8 “Engaging and building the capacity of civil society organisations, academia and other actors involved in the implementation of the NAP”, the indicators are:
- Number of projects and programmes for the implementation of the NAP;
- The existence of a public competition for monitoring the implementation of the NAP;
- Number of considered, accepted and refused civil society initiatives related to the implementation of the NAP.
The NAP assigns multiple bodies to implement the plan including the Political Council of the Government, Operational Body of the Government, and the Advisor for the implementation of the National Action Plan.
NAP Monitoring and Evaluation
Civil society is one of the entities responsible for the monitoring of the Plan. The NAP states that independent monitoring should continue to be performed by representatives of citizen associations (civil society organisations), academic community and the media, within their scopes of work. The NAP highlights the importance of ensuring the participation of relevant bodies dealing with gender equality at the provincial and local level.
The NAP assigns multiple bodies to monitor the implementation of the Plan, including the Commission for Monitoring the Implementation of the National Action Plan and the analytical groups and research teams.
The NAP implementation period is three years (2017-2020).
The primary objectives of Serbia's NAP include:
- Improved efficiency and effectiveness of work of all actors, institutional bodies and mechanisms envisaged for the implementation of the National Action Plan;
- Developed preventive mechanisms to increase the security of women in peace, conflict and post-conflict rehabilitation of society in the country and abroad;
- Increased representation, inclusion and decision-making of women in all the processes related to the preservation of peace and security;
- Improved regulatory conditions and institutional capacities for accessible and effective protection of women;
- Enhanced system of support for the recovery of women who have suffered any form of threat to security in the post-conflict rehabilitation of society, crisis and emergency situations.
Each area of work has different actions assigned. For example, Strategic Objective 3 “Increased representation, inclusion and decision-making of women in all the processes related to the preservation of peace and security” includes the following actions:
- Harmonisation of relevant laws and by-laws in the field of security and defence, including the provisions of anti-discrimination regulations related to the recruitment, career development and balance between professional and private life of women employed in the security system;
- Improvement of the system of planning, organisation and management of human resources in the institutions of security system to ensure greater representation and advancement of women;
- Creation of equal opportunities in practice for education, employment, career guidance and advancement of women (especially women from multiply discriminated and minority groups) and men in the security system;
- Creation of equal opportunities for increasing the representation of women in the positions of rector and vice-rector of university, dean, vice-dean, head of departments, teacher and student at all levels of education and professional development in the field of security;
- Introduction of statistical monitoring and periodic qualitative research on the reasons that have direct impact on employment (recruitment) of women, their retention, promotion and abandonment of certain jobs in the security system;
- Creation of equal representation of women in public administration and local self-government bodies and other bodies responsible for deciding on defence and security issues;
- Involvement and regional networking of women in building confidence for the improvement of security and stability in the region in order to prevent conflict.
Each strategic objective has a number of listed outputs. For example, the first policy objective of Strategic Objective 1, “. Establishment and regular functioning of the Political Council for the implementation of the National Action Plan for the implementation of the UNSC Resolution 1325 – Women, Peace and Security in the Republic of Serbia in the period 2017-2020 (NAP)”, includes several indicators: -Adopted Government’s Conclusion on establishing the Political Council; -Considered reports and evaluations of the implementation of the NAP, submitted by the Operational Body; -Number and content of the meetings held by the Political Council; -Number of reports submitted to the Government along with the proposal of further activities related to the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325 in the Republic of Serbia; -Adopted Rules of Procedure and Activity Plan; -Number of recommendations/ decisions; -Participation in relevant national and international conferences; -Number of regular reports submitted to the Government.
The NAP assigns multiple bodies to monitor the implementation of the plan including the Commission for Monitoring the Implementation of the National Action Plan and the analytical groups and research teams. The NAP also lists civil society, academic community and the media as stakeholders in the monitoring process.
For each activity, the plan identifies financial resources for implementation.
The Serbian NAP mentions disarmament under the third objective in the context of equal treatment of women in decision-making and greater representation of women in the process of planning and implementation of: disarmament, peace-building, post-conflict reconstruction of society and reintegration of refugees.