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.