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.