Republic of 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.
Global Gender Gap Index 2020
108 out of 153
Arms Trade Treaty Ratified
Military expenditure (2019)
$44 billion USD
Explore South Korea's National Action Plan
According to the NAP, the government of South Korea identified opportunities for improvement in expanding the scope of areas on women, peace and security and strengthening participation from civil society in this area and in implementation. Accordingly, there has been an attempt to include diverse views into the second NAP from relevant government ministries, civil society and academia in the drafting of the second NAP.
WILPF was not involved in the NAP development process.
According to the NAP, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF), as the main implementation agency for the first NAP, “led a government-wide effort to draft the second NAP in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Ministry of National Defense (MND), Ministry of Unification(MOU), Ministry of the Interior and Safety(MOIS), Ministry of Education (MOE), the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)”
The NAP does not identify Korean civil society in the overall design of the NAP. The plan indicates that “in the course of implementing the NAP, the Government will step up direct engagement with civil society and promote public-private governance. Furthermore, the Government remains committed to refining the overall objectives, strategies and action items of the NAP in consultation with civil society three years after its launch”. According to the NAP, civil society is part of a promotion of “public-private governance” in the areas of defense, security, peace and unification.
There is an added area for Implementation and Monitoring from the previous NAP. The main implementation agency, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF), is working in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Ministry of National Defense (MND), Ministry of Unification (MOU), Ministry of the Interior and Safety(MOIS), Ministry of Education (MOE),the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
NAP Monitoring and Evaluation
Civil society’s role in monitoring and evaluation is not mentioned in the NAP except for an allusion to “civil experts”. The NAP states “to ensure effective implementation and monitoring of the NAP, inter-agency meetings will be held twice a year in which all relevant ministries and agencies participate with civil experts present”.
The NAP defines twelve objectives with strategies followed by concrete actions taken by the relevant government ministries and agencies. To ensure effective implementation and monitoring of the NAP, inter-agency meetings will be held twice a year in which all relevant ministries and agencies participate with civil experts present.
The ROK NAP will be in effect three years from its initial date (2018-2021).
The NAP identifies twelve objectives compiled under the four pillars of SCR 1325:
- Raise awareness of women, peace and security and enhance capacity for personnel working in the areas of conflict prevention and peacebuilding
- Expand the scope of a gender responsive approach in the areas of national defense, security, peace, unification and disaster/crisisprevention
- Scale up activities for women, peace and security through international cooperation
- Raise public awareness of women, peace and security
- Ensure broader participation by women in the areas of national defense, security, peace and unification
- Promote public-private governance in the areas of national defense, security, peace and unification
- Provide support for victims of sexual violence in conflict
- Extend support for sexual violence victims in the military
- Deliver support for DPRK women defectors and refugees
Relief & Recovery
- Lay the foundation for development cooperation from the perspective of women, peace and security
- Reinforce women's participation and protective support in development cooperation in conflict areas
- Solidify the foundation for implementation
The actions to be implemented under the NAP are clearly stated and straightforward in how they are connected to the larger goal. For example, under the Prevention Goal 3, the NAP states: Scale up activities for women, peace and security through international cooperation.
Strategy 1: Build a prevention system at the international organization level Implementing Ministry/Agency Action
- Actively engage in meetings on women’s rights, make supportive remarks on women, peace and security issues and cooperate with related UN Human Rights MechanismMOFA
- As a member of the UN Human Rights Council (2016-2018), support resolutions related to women, peace and security and cooperate with the Special Procedures of the HRC with regard to the implementation of their mandates related to gender equality and the prevention ofsexual violence
- Make remarks on women, peace and security issues and carry out cooperative activities in international conferences related to trafficking in persons, including the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) MOJ
- Implementactively the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children,supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
- Support activities on women, peace and security led by domestic and international NGOsin international conference
Republic of Korea does not offer any indicators to measure the progress of objectives and actions presented in their NAP.
To ensure effective implementation and monitoring of the NAP, inter-agency meetings will be held twice a year in which all relevant ministries and agencies participate with civil experts present. In the course of implementing the NAP, the Government will step up direct engagement with civil society and promote public-private governance. Furthermore, the Government remains committed to refining the overall objectives, strategies and action items of the NAP in consultation with civil society three years after its launch.
There is no budget included in the NAP.
There is no mention of disarmament, weapons, or arms flows in the NAP.