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. The third NAP aims to integrate gender perspectives in conflict prevention, peace, and unification, including in the peacebuilding on the Korean Peninsula, and international development cooperation, as well as to increase and strengthen women’s participation and international cooperation. Furthermore, it underscores the practical efforts needed to disseminate the global WPS agenda at the national and local levels, and envisages a structured mechanism for monitoring so as to ensure a more robust basis for implementation.
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
The Ministry of Education (MOE), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Unification (MOU), Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Ministry of National Defense (MND), Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MOIS), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) and the National Unification Advisory Council (NUAC) are the main actors involved in the NAP.
For the third NAP cycle, the National Unification Advisory Council (NUAC), a presidential consultative body, participated. Led and coordinated by MOGEF as the main ministry in charge, the third NAP (2021-2023) was drawn up through close collaboration among ten government ministries and agencies, including the MOE, MOFA, MOU, MOJ, MND, MOIS, KNPA, KOICA and NUAC.
In order to ensure effective implementation of the third NAP, the Republic of Korea established a mechanism to monitor the implementation, and set up a civic advisory panel to promote broader public-private governance cooperation, involving relevant civil society organizations, academia, and experts. To be more specific, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family convenes an Implementation Monitoring meeting annually, with the participation of each implementing ministry and agency and the civic advisors, the results of which is reported to the Gender Equality Committee established in accordance with the Framework Act on Gender Equality. Taking a step further, each implementing ministry and agency is expected to conduct its own Implementation Monitoring meeting once a year in the presence of external experts to ensure more in-depth stocktaking. This is intended for the ministries and agencies to devise their own practical measures for implementation and improvement aligned with the attributes and expertise specific to their work. Also, each implementing body establishes its own Implementation Monitoring system, taking into account its distinctive characteristics.
The ROK's third NAP, after three years from its launch, will be re-examined and revised in terms of its overall objectives, strategies, andaction plans through consultations among government ministries, relevant stakeholders and civil society.
The implementation period for the South Korean NAP is three years (2021-2023).
The ROK's third NAP comprises of 11 objectives and 24 strategies in five areas: Prevention, Participation, Protection, Relief and Recovery, andImplementation Monitoring. Specific objectives include:
- (Objective 1) Improve the capacity for women, peace and security among people working in areas such as conflict prevention, peace, unification, and international development cooperation
- (Objective 2) Strengthen gender mainstreaming into the policies on national defense, foreign affairs, security, peace, unification, and public safety
- (Objective 3) Strengthen international and inter-Korean cooperation in the area of women, peace, and security
- (Objective 4) Raise public awareness and build consensus on women, peace, and security
- (Objective 5) Expand women's participation in the areas of national defense, foreign affairs, security, peace, unification, and public safety
- (Objective 6) Build good governance regarding the women, peace, and security agenda
- (Objective 7) Ensure effective remedies for victims and survivors of sexual violence by the military and in conflict zones, and strengthen penalties on the offenders
- (Objective 8) Provide support for female defectors from North Korea and refugee women
For relief and recovery:
- (Objective 9) Provide support for the restoration of victims and survivors of conflict
- (Objective 10) Strengthen international development cooperation in the areas of women, peace, and security
For monitoring and implementation:
- (Objective 11) Establish a monitoring system and build foundation for effective implementation of the NAP
Some activities include:
- Incorporate gender perspectives in the policies on national defense, foreign affairs, peace, unification and public safety through the following activities: Expand gender impact assessment and gender-responsive budgeting for national defense, foreign affairs, peace, unification, and public safety policies; Reflect gender perspectives in the establishment and improvement of basic plans concerning unification and development cooperation, e.g., Basic Plan for the Development of Inter-Korean Relations and Basic Plan for International Development Cooperation.
- Strengthen the capacity of the military for gender responsiveness through the following action:Establish and regularly review the military's sexual violence prevention plans and conduct gender-sensitive education for military personnel.
- Intensify cooperation with the United Nations and support gender-sensitive peacebuilding activities through the following activities: Actively participate in the UN-level discussions on WPS, including WPS Focal Points Network; Provide financial assistance for the United Nation's WPS initiatives.
The NAP does not establish indicators.
The M&E procedure is established by objective 11 and incudes the following activities:
- Conduct Monitoring on implementation on a regular basis and built public-private governance through the following activities: Hold annual monitoring meetings, at both inter-ministerial and each implementing body levels, jointly with the representative members of the civil society; Operate a civic advisory panel and guarantee their participation in implementation monitoring.
- Solidify the foundation for effective implementation through the following activities: Report the results of implementation and monitoring of NAP to the Gender Equality Committee; Make efforts to secure a budget for implementation of NAP.
There is no information about the NAP’s budget.
The NAP does not mention disarmament.
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 NGOs in international conference
Republic of Korea does not offer any indicators to measure the progress of objectives and actions presented in their NAP.
Monitoring and Evaluation
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.