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Sweden’s National Action Plan for the implementation of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security does not live up to the self-image Sweden for long has enjoyed. To date, 43 countries have adopted National Action Plans (NAPs) and in a recent American study, Sweden was ranked number 28 in a comparison of the existing NAPs on Resolution 1325. Sweden, which in many ways has found itself on top of the list when it comes to equality, suddenly falls short.

On November 27, Operation 1325 launched the annual report “Women Count” where Sweden’s implementation of UNSCR resolution 1325 is monitored and evaluated. The report launch was, just like the previous year, held at the Canadian Embassy in Stockholm where members of the audience included representatives from the civil society, authorities, and other institutions.

The event was initiated by Kenneth Macartney, Ambassador of the Embassy of Canada to Sweden and Maj Britt Theorin, President of Operation 1325. The opening speech was held by Margot Wallström, former Special Representative for the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Wallström´s focal point concerned the roots of discrimination against women and girls globally as well as the importance of women’s participation in peace processes. She emphasized that the tools for strengthening women internationally already exist and it is now a question of using them. According to Wallström, the political declarations are there but in order to move forward we require ownership and national implementation.

The report “Women Count” was presented by Disa Kammars Larsson, project manager at Operation 1325 and one of the co-authors of the report. Her presentation emphasized the shortcomings found in the Swedish NAP  in terms of clear goals, measurable indicators, earmarked funding, time frames, and a system for evaluation and reporting.

The report presentation was followed by a panel discussion with members of congress Tina Acketoft (FP), Valter Mutt (MP), Kenneth G. Forslund (S) and Peter Ericson, head of the Security Policy Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The discussion was moderated by Josefine Karlsson, Secretary General at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF/IKFF), Sweden.

Consensus among the panel discussants

The panel discussants all agreed that the work surrounding Resolution 1325 is an important issue and that Sweden needs, and is able, to improve its work in several ways. Mutt (MP) added that there is potential for improvement within the Armed Forces and Police trainings regarding Resolution 1325, authorities where men constitute a large majority. Acketoft (FP) emphasized Sweden’s leading role when it comes to equality globally but confirmed that working with Resolution 1325 is in many ways ad hoc, which is not good. The work ahead with the revision of Sweden’s national action plan needs to start from the beginning according to Acketoft.

Ericson argued that Resolution 1325 is well entrenched at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but as several of the panel discussant mentioned, a civil society review is needed as they hold the expertise necessary for authorities to be able to apply the action plan in their daily work. Forslund (S) expressed the importance of civil society involvement as they most likely are more competent to monitor and evaluate the implementation of Sweden’s NAP on Resolution 1325 than the Swedish government. This statement was backed up by Mutt (MP) and also welcomed by us at Operation 1325.

The report launch provided a good indication for the upcoming revision of the Swedish NAP for the implementation of Resolution 1325. The action plan runs out in the end of 2015, but the government has announced that a review of the action plan will take place the months to come. The debate during the launch was progressive and the panel discussant clearly demonstrated that they are taking the questions seriously and that they are willing to work to make the action plan easier to implement for authorities on a more hands on level.

Promises on an inclusive revision process

The report launch contributed on lifting the questions Operation 1325 has asked about Sweden’s NAP and the civil society exclusion from the implementation process. Operation 1325 has, together with other actors, demanded that civil society should take part in the shaping of the new action plan. The panel discussants has promised to involve Operation 1325 and other relevant actors in the revision of the action plan and the future will show if these promises, that are now hanging loose, will be incorporated. One of the main goals is then to create clearer and more practical goals and indicators to make the action plan more applicable for the authorities which work it should lead.

Cecilia Karlberg
Intern, Operation 1325

The report “Women Count – Civil Society Monitoring Report 2013, Sweden’s implementation of UNSCR 1325”  is available on the top right of this article together with a summary of the report. For questions regarding the report and the seminar, please contact Disa Kammars Larsson, Project Manager at Operation 1325 and one of the authors of the report, disa.kammar-larsson@operation1325.se tel. 073 091 88 50.