Spain adopted its most recent National Action Plan (NAP) in 2017 for the period 2017-2023. The NAP was developed by an Interministerial Working Group with the overarching goal to “contribute to ensuring the protection of the human rights of women and girls, and their substantive participation in conflict prevention, as well as achieving and consolidating peace” (p. 16). The NAP highlights that UNSCR 2242 (2015) was approved during Spain’s presidency of the Security Council, underscoring the importance of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Agenda for Spain. The NAP stresses the importance of the agentive status of women, emphasizing the importance of gender equality for the full implementation of WPS commitments. The NAP takes both a national and international approach to the implementation of the WPS Agenda, with particular focus on tackling the commitments holistically and promoting the interlinkages between gender equality reforms during implementation. Additionally, the NAP promotes an integrated agenda by demonstrating the links of the WPS Agenda to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with particular emphasis on SDGs 5 and 16 on gender equality and peace and justice, respectively. Nevertheless, the NAP does not include a substantive monitoring and evaluation framework or an allocated budget.  

Spain’s most recent NAP is preceded by one other NAP, adopted in 2007, without a specific period of implementation. The first NAP had six overarching goals. While two of these goals focused on peacekeeping missions, the remaining goals focused on strengthening gender-sensitive peacebuilding; protecting the human rights of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict states; increasing women in disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) efforts; and encouraging the participation of Spanish civil society in the implementation of Resolution 1325. The second NAP expands on these goals by contextualizing the changing dynamics of international peace and security since the adoption of the country’s first NAP. Specifically, human rights and gender equality hold a more prevalent place in the revised NAP as well as links to the 2030 Agenda. Additionally, the second NAP expands its focus on disarmament by going beyond analyzing the issue from the narrow framework of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) efforts alone, and instead identifies gender mainstreaming in the non-proliferation of small arms and light weapons as an action item among its objectives. 

Spain reported on the implementation of its NAP in its national reporting for Beijing+25 and in preparation for CSW64 (2020). Specifically, the country included the following update: “The NAP provides for the creation of a Consultative Group composed of the Ministries involved and civil society organizations, which will hold regular meetings in order to, on the one hand, maintain the intensity in the implementation of the plan and, on the other hand, evaluate its results and adapt its application to new elements. The Plan also provides for follow-up reports to be submitted to Parliament every two years. Since the first follow-up report is due in 2019, information is currently being gathered on progress, activities carried out and the budget executed, and meetings are planned with both the Ministries involved and civil society” (p. 62)

The most recent armed conflict in Spain’s history was its long-lasting conflict with ETA (an acronym for Euskadi ta Askatasuna [Basque Homeland and Liberty]), an armed separatist organization founded in 1959 with the aim to establish an independent Basque state. The conflict resulted in hundreds of casualties until ETA’s announcement of a unilateral ceasefire and its disbanding in 2011 and 2018, respectively. 

In 2019, Spain was among the top 20 countries with the highest military expenditure as well as being among the top 10 arms exporters in the world. 

Spain is a contributor to humanitarian aid, including as a contributing donor to the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, a global partnership that works to empower women in conflict zones and humanitarian crises. Spain is also a partner of the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies, a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to mitigate and provide accountability for gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies. 

At the multilateral level, Spain most recently served as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2015-2016. 



Global Gender Gap Index 2020

8 out of 153

Arms Trade Treaty Ratified


Military expenditure (2019)

$17 billion USD

Explore Spain's National Action Plan

  • Actors
  • Timeframe
  • Objectives
  • Actions/Activities
  • Indicators
  • M&E
  • Budget
  • Disarmament

NAP Development

The NAP indicates that civil society has been included in the development of the NAP through meetings with representatives from key associations (research and study centers, development organizations, and feminist organizations and women’s associations) that work in the WPS field. 

Additionally, the following organizations have also contributed to the development of the NAP: Alianza Por la Solidaridad (APS); Centro de Estudios e Investigación sobre Mujeres (CEIM); Forum de Política Feminista (FpF); Mujeres en Zona de Conflicto (MZC); Human Rights Office, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC); Real Instituto Elcano; Spanish Women in International Security (SWIIS); Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF España). 

The NAP was developed by an Interministerial Working Group that consists of the following ministries: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC), Ministry of Defence (MDEF), Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (MECD), Ministry of the Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (MEIC), Ministry of the Interior (MINT), Ministry of Justice (MJUS), Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality (MSSSI), and the Ministry of Employment and Social Security (MEYSS).

NAP Implementation

The NAP indicates that civil society organizations in Spain and their local counterparts in countries where the NAP will be implemented are key partners in implementing the NAP. However, the document does not specify which civil society organizations will be represented or how they will contribute to the implementation of the NAP. 

The NAP will be implemented by an Interministerial Working Group.

NAP Monitoring and Evaluation

The NAP implementation will be monitored by an Interministerial Working Group, which will also include representatives from civil society organizations. Civil society will also be represented on the consultative group, which will meet with the working group at least once a year.

The NAP implementation will be monitored by an Interministerial Working Group.

The implementation period of the NAP is six years (2017-2023).

The NAP has four overarching objectives (which are then broken down to specific objectives on a detailed implementation matrix): 

  1. Mainstream the gender perspective in peacebuilding and the prevention, management, and resolution of conflicts.
  2. Achieve the significant participation of women in decision-making processes regarding the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.
  3. Guarantee the protection of, and respect for, the human rights of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations.
  4. Effectively introduce gender mainstreaming into the definition of specific measures on reparations for, and the recovery of, conflict victims.

The NAP has a detailed implementation matrix that breaks down each overarching objective with corresponding specific objectives, actions, indicators, and actors. For example, objective 2.3, “Promote the participation of local women in the peace negotiation delegations of parties in conflict to ensure that women’s needs are included in peace agreements” lists “Promote, together with other coun-tries, the greater inclusion of local women in the delegations of parties negotiating peace in their countries” as an action item (p. 25). 

The NAP identifies several performance indicators for each objective, outlined on the implementation matrix. For example, objective 2.3, “Promote the participation of local women in the peace negotiation delegations of parties in conflict to ensure that women’s needs are included in peace agreements” lists “Number of meetings held with women and women’s associations by Embassies, Technical Cooperation Offices, and Counsellor’s Offices for specific sectors, broken down geographically” as one of the four indicators for this objective (p. 25).

The NAP indicates that a working group will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the action plan. The group will hold a plenary meeting at least once a year and will prepare a monitoring and assessment report every two years to be presented to the Spanish Parliament. However, the NAP does not include a formal monitoring and evaluation framework.

The NAP indicates that the action plan “will be carried out within the framework of the annual ordinary budget” (p. 44). However, the NAP does not include an estimated or allocated budget.

The NAP indicates that Spain’s revised action plan is a driving force behind “incorporating the principal of equal treatment and opportunities for women and men in the planning and implementation of activities for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration” (p. 8). Additionally, disarmament is mentioned twice in the action items listed for objectives 4.1 and 4.4 (both objectives list the same action item): “Encourage gender mainstreaming in initiatives for disarmament and the non-proliferation of small arms and light weapons, as well as the participation of women in these initiatives” (pp. 31-32).

Documents and Further Reading

Civil society organizations demand a real commitment from the Spanish Government for the effective fulfilment of Women, Peace and Security Agenda (2017)
Inviting us to the table is not enough (2017)
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