Sweden adopted its most recent National Action Plan (NAP) in 2016 for the period 2016-2020. The NAP was developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in coordination with a reference group, which consisted of several government agencies, civil society organizations, and research institutes. The NAP indicates civil society involvement in the NAP development, implementation, and monitoring process, with several women’s organizations, including Kvinna till Kvinna and WILPF, acting among the civil society representatives. Sweden’s NAP outlines four main objectives towards the implementation of UNSCR 1325. These include inclusive peace processes and peacebuilding; conflict prevention; strengthening protection of women and girls; and gender mainstreaming in leadership and expertise. The NAP outlines a monitoring and evaluation framework that consists of annual reviews, with a detailed implementation matrix and follow-up plan to be developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Sweden’s NAP does not include an allocated budget, but indicates that “financing takes place within the framework of regular budget allocation” and that the identified activities to be carried out in focus countries “will be financed within the framework of Sweden’s international development cooperation” (p. 24).
Sweden’s third NAP is preceded by two other NAPs, adopted in 2006 and 2009 and implemented for the period 2006-2008 and 2009-2012, respectively. While the second and third NAPs include a more detailed discussion and plan of implementation, a commitment to gender equality and human rights underpins all three NAPs. In a similar manner, all NAPs take a multi-tier approach to WPS implementation, including activities at the national, regional, and international level. Nevertheless, domestic activities mostly appear in the form of increasing the number of women in military and peacekeeping operations, without a more holistic approach. The second and third NAPs both include an overview of lessons learned from the implementation of the previous NAPs. Specifically, the second NAP states that there needs to be more cooperation and exchange, including increased awareness of Resolution 1325, at the national level, while the third NAP identifies the lack of clear allocation of responsibilities as an obstacle for implementation. While all NAPs highlight the importance of monitoring and financing, none of the NAPs have detailed monitoring and evaluation frameworks or an allocated budget.
Sweden 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 provides an overview of Sweden’s leadership in matters pertaining to women, peace, and security, underscoring the importance of representation and inclusivity for sustainable peace. The report identifies the integration of the WPS agenda as a priority for both domestic and international activities. In particular, the report states that Sweden held a pioneering role in the inclusion of information from women’s organizations in the UN Security Council’s analyses as well as contributing to the increased representation of women in peace processes, including in Afghanistan, Colombia, Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, and Syria (p. 56).
Sweden does not have a history of recent armed conflict, but is involved in overseas military operations, international peacekeeping, and humanitarian missions.
Sweden is a major contributor to humanitarian aid, including being 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. In 2019, Sweden was UN Women’s second-largest contributor with USD 56.14 million and the third-largest contributor to regular resources with USD 13.05 million. Sweden is also a member of the Nordic Women Mediators Network, which was launched in 2015.
In 2014, Sweden became the first country to adopt a feminist foreign policy, which identified six long-term objectives: women and girls’ full enjoyment of human rights; freedom from physical, psychological and sexual violence; participation in preventing and resolving conflicts, and post-conflict peacebuilding; political participation and influence in all areas of society; economic rights and empowerment; and sexual and reproductive health and rights. In 2019, Sweden also adopted a feminist trade policy, with the goal to ensure gender equality in trade agreements and all trade-related activities.
At the multilateral level, Sweden most recently served as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2017-2018.
National Action Plan (2016-2020)
Global Gender Gap Index 2020
4 out of 153
Arms Trade Treaty Ratified
Military expenditure (2019)
$5.9 billion USD
Explore the National Action Plan of Sweden
All three Swedish NAPs were developed by the Government Taskforce, through consultation with Government agencies, NGOs, Civil Society Organisations, research institutes, International Government Organisations and other countries. A reference group comprised of government agencies and civil society organisations (CSO) was created to assist in the development and implementation of the NAP. These CSOs include The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Kvinna till Kvinna, Operation 1325, The Red Cross, and the 1325 Policy Group.
The reference group created for implementation of Sweden's NAP includes civil society.
NAP Monitoring and Evaluation
There is a bi-annual meeting/consultation involving the Government Taskforce and Civil Society organisations working on women, peace and security to discuss progress on implementation.
WILPF's Contributions to Sweden's NAP
IKFF, the Swedish section of WILPF, has been involved in consultations regarding development and evaluation of all Swedish NAPs. Along with relevant Civil Society Organisations and authorities, IKFF is part of a UNSCR 1325 network that meets several times per year to discuss the Swedish Government's national and international implementation of UNSCR 1325. The network tracks the implementation of the NAP continuously and aims to bring forward different topics that can move the Swedish implementation process forward.
"A reference group with government agencies and CSOs, led by the MFA, was established in December 2015 to support the drafting process of the new NAP. As one of the members of the reference group, WILPF Sweden had the opportunity to comment and feed into drafts that were circulated with the group during spring 2016, after which the government decided on the final document in mid-May. The finalised NAP refers to the continued participation of this reference group that will now be transformed into Sweden’s working group for implementing the NAP." -Sofia Tuvestad, Policy & Advocacy Officer IKFF
IKFF took the opportunity to raise the ongoing issues regarding the NAP and its implementation, including:
- The need for holistic inclusion of CSOs in consultations on NAP development and evaluation.
- Increased substantive consultation with local and regional and international women CSOs on work related to international and domestic operations.
- Clear indicators in order to measure implementation of the plan.
- Earmarked money and a budget for the implementation of the plan.
- The importance of including disarmament as a factor related to women’s security.
The third NAP created a reference group for the development stage which included some governmental actors. These included The Swedish National Courts Administration, The Folke Bernadotte Academy, The Swedish Defence University, The Swedish Armed Forces, The Swedish Prison and Probation Service, The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, The Swedish Police Authority, The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, The Swedish Defence Research Agency (on a contractual basis), and The Swedish Prosecution Authority.
Unlike the previous NAPs, in the third NAP the Government Offices of Sweden (under the leadership of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs) take clear political leadership and responsibility for following up the implementation of the action plan.
NAP Monitoring and Evaluation
A review of the action plan will take place through annual meetings where the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will call those involved in the Government Offices, agencies and NGOs for discussions.
The timeframe encompasses 2016-2020.
The Swedish NAP includes objectives from the previous two NAPs with the addition of a fourth:
- A considerably larger proportion of women to participate in international peace-support and security-building operations, within the framework of regional and international organisations, and operations to be implemented with a gender perspective in order to increase their effectiveness.
- The protection of women and girls in conflict situations to be strengthened and based on analysis in which women participate actively.
- Women in conflict areas to participate fully and on equal terms with men at all levels in mechanisms and institutions for conflict prevention, crisis management, peace-building, humanitarian operations and other initiatives during a post-conflict phase.
- Conflict prevention – include women and men to address structural root causes of conflict and violence.
Addionally, a geographic focus has been included in which an annual review by foreign missions in prioritised countries will contribute to overall reporting on the implementation of the action plan. These 12 countries include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Mali, Somalia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine, Colombia, Iraq, Palestine and Syria.
The Swedish NAP's newly created fourth objective, Conflict Prevention, includes six new activities:
- Contribute to ensure that women are included and that their experiences are taken into account in designing mechanisms and systems for early warning of conflicts and in conflict analyses. Also strive to ensure the inclusion of gender perspectives in measures intended to counteract and prevent conflict, radicalisation and violent extremism;
- Support civil society organisations in conflict and post-conflict countries that are working on dialogue, trust-building measures and conflict prevention work, with a special focus on women’s rights organisations;
- Contribute to developing the capacity of local government agencies and institutions that work on preventing violence and conflict and on maintaining security and safety among the population. Contribute to the inclusion of both women and men in this work;
- Support programmes for economic recovery that strengthen women’s economic empowerment in conflict and post-conflict countries
- Contribute to establishing greater participation of boys and men in conflict prevention work and measures to increase gender equality, and in counteracting gender-based violence – including conflict-related sexual violence; and
- Contribute to ensuring that a gender perspective is integrated into discussions, final documents and relevant resolutions in the area of disarmament and arms control, and in their interpretation and implementation, particularly regarding small arms and light weapons.
Sweden's NAP splits its activities into three categories: nationally, in the EU and regional organisations such as the OSCE, the Council of Europe, NATO/the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and Nordic cooperation, and globally, above all in the UN.
For example, under the second general aim, the Swedish NAP gives the following activities at the national level:
- Special attention is to be paid, both in the short term and the long term, to issues concerning the security and protection of women and girls in operational areas, including the need for initiatives for sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- The increased participation of women and respect for women's enjoyment of their human rights can help prevent gender-related violence, such as men'ss violence against women and girls, in a broader perspective. (Swedish Armed Forces, National Police Board, Folke Bernadotte Academy, Sida, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, Swedish National Defence College and Swedish Prison and Probation Service)
- Special attention is to be paid to women's security when Sweden is directly involved in peace processes. Swedish men and women who represent the international community are to be encouraged to bear these issues in mind. The authorities responsible are to continuously evaluate and develop training for Swedish personnel who are to take part in international operations and peace assignments. All Swedish personnel that participate in peace-support and humanitarian operations must have knowledge of both Resolution 1325 and Resolution 1820, along with conditions specific to the operation, the relevant legislation and ethical issues. (Swedish Armed Forces, National Police Board, Folke Bernadotte Academy, Sida, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, Swedish National Defence College and Swedish Prison and Probation Service) There are to be continued and more in-depth efforts to integrate a clear gender equality perspective into initiatives to strengthen and secure the judicial system in post-conflict countries. (Swedish Armed Forces, National Police Board, Folke Bernadotte Academy, Sida, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, Swedish National Defence College, Swedish Prison and Probation Service, National Courts Administration and Swedish Prosecution Authority)
There are no specific indicators given in Sweden's NAP, however, a matrix for the implementation and followup of the action plan will be created by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and implementing government agencies. No timeframe is given for the matrix.
Keeping in line with previous NAPs, Sweden will hold annual reviews of implementation as a means of monitoring and evaluating in which the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will call those involved in the Government Offices, agencies and NGOs for discussions. When the action plan expires, an overall evaluation will be carried out with regard to the aims set in the plan.
The Swedish NAP states that the objective is for the budget to reach one per cent of Sweden’s gross national income, however, no commitment to that is evident. In previous NAPs, there is no allocated or estimated budget but the following language was used; "The implementation of the plan will be financed within the framework of existing appropriations and funds and regular budget and other control processes."
In the NAP's additional objective of conflict prevention, it addresses the need to ensure a gender perspective is included in discussions of disarmament and arms control, and in their interpretation and implementation, particularly regarding small arms and light weapons. Previous NAPs did not mention disarmament, small arms, or illicit trade of weapons and its effects on women.