Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, Ellen Haring, Diorella Islas, Ana Laura Velasco
The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, launched by UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) adopted in October 2000, brought renewed attention to the importance of the integration of a gender perspective for the effectiveness of military and police operations. It also pointed to the importance of increasing the participation of women in security (military and police) forces.
This report examines to what extent the WPS agenda, and more generally the principles of gender equality, have been integrated in the security sector (military and national police) in 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The research was commissioned by the Women, Peace and Security Program at the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), with the objective: (a) to establish a baseline of data and best practices with regard to the integration of the WPS agenda in security forces in Latin America and the Caribbean; and (b) to provide a framework for future partnerships between US SOUTHCOM and security forces in the region. While US SOUTHCOM commissioned the research, the authors bear sole responsibility for the content of this report and any errors or omissions.
Our research draws on an assessment tool developed by Women In International Security (WIIS) that examines how countries have integrated the principles of gender equality and the WPS agenda in security institutions and operations.  More specifically, the tool defines indicators that measure: (1) the level of political commitment to gender equality and the WPS agenda; (2) how that commitment is translated into practice; and (3) what accountability measures have been adopted—that is, how well policy and practice are monitored and evaluated.
This report is based on desk and literature research in Washington, DC and field research conducted by 14 volunteer country research teams composed of active and retired members of the police and the military, academics, government officials, policymakers, and members from civil society organizations.
The findings of our assessment examining the level of integration of the principles of gender equality and the WPS agenda in the security forces in Latin America and the Caribbean are outlined below.
Overall Regional Assessment
The overall integration of the principles of gender equality and the WPS agenda in security forces in the region (all countries combined) is robust, with an average score of 64.6 (on a scale of 1-100).
Many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have strong normative frameworks for gender equality in place, are party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and have professed support to the WPS agenda. It provides a strong backdrop for the integration of the gender equality and WPS agenda in the security sector. That said, in most countries political rhetoric is often not matched by consistent implementation. In addition, most countries lack systematic monitoring and evaluation mechanisms (see Figure 1).
Figure 4: Overall
Of the 14 countries examined for this report, four countries scored above the average regional score.
Four countries scored around the regional average, and six countries fell below the regional average. What is common to the countries that scored high is that they have strong scores across all 3 categories of assessment. (See Table 1)
For many police and military organizations in the region, gender equality and the integration of the WPS agenda is focused on the number of women in the forces. That said, gender mainstreaming and the integration of the WPS agenda in military and national police forces requires more than just adding women; it also requires the integration of a gender perspective in operations and addressing gender norms and gender stereotypes in the organizations themselves. Military and police organizations are highly gendered—masculine—constructs. Introducing gender perspectives and increasing the number of women does not come naturally to these institutions. Change only comes about with strong leadership from the top and continuous and systematic attention at all levels of military and police organizations.
|Country||Political Will||Policy & Practice Monitoring Reporting & Evaluation||Total Score|
|Trinidad & Tobago||55||64||36||60|
Table 1: Average
National Scores by
Main Findings by Category
All countries were assessed using simple sets of indicators that measure political will, the institutionalization of WPS principles in policy and practice, and, whether monitoring and evaluation mechanisms have been put in place.
The most important measure of political will is whether countries have adopted WPS National Action Plans (NAPs).
- Of the 14 countries surveyed in our report, five have developed WPS National Action Plans and five are in the process of developing a WPS NAP.
- In most countries the WPS agenda and WPS NAPs are seen in the context of external engagements, most notably UN peacekeeping operations. While most countries see the WPS agenda as applicable only to armed conflict, some countries in the region have integrated human security challenges, such as human trafficking (Argentina) or rights of refugees (Brazil).
Institutionalization (Policy and Practice)
NAPs are most effective when they are accompanied by detailed implementation plans.
- Most countries lack specific implementation plans with clearly defined goals and resources for implementation.
- In all countries in the region, women remain under-represented in the military and the police. Even fewer women reach senior ranks. Many security forces have policies that exclude or limit (through the imposition of caps) women’s participation in the police or military. Few countries have welldefined recruitment strategies or set targets to increase women’s participation in the security forces.
- The prevention of sexual harassment and abuse is critical to create a women-friendly work place, but few countries have programs to address harassment or abuse in the ranks.
- Knowledge about the WPS agenda remains limited, and training on gender and the WPS agenda is ad-hoc and unsystematic.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring and reporting are critical for learning and identifying progress. Monitoring and evaluation practices must be an integral part of any NAP and implementation plan and include all stakeholders, including civil society organizations in the planning and implementation stages.
- Few countries in the region have robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms that involve civil society.
- Sex-disaggregated data about women in the military and police are not systematically collected or published.
The report concludes with two sets of recommendations. One is for governments in the region and their military and police forces. The other is for the region as a whole and identifies specific actions countries in the region and the US government (including US DoD and US SOUTHCOM) can take to advance the WPS agenda and solidify partnerships in the region.
All countries in the region have strong normative gender equality frameworks in place. This should provide a solid basis for governments in the region to apply the political will necessary to develop WPS NAPs. The most effective NAPs are whole-of-government efforts that engage all governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders and cover the entire range of security challenges, including human security and non-military security challenges.
- All government agencies, including military and police forces, should develop implementation plans with clear goals and benchmarks for measuring progress.
- Governments must back up their commitment to NAPs and implementation plans by pledging the necessary resources—personnel and financial—to ensure effective implementation.
- Legislatures must become actively involved in the development of WPS NAPs. They should require the executive to present NAP updates at regular intervals and pass budgets with dedicated funding streams for NAPs and implementation plans.
- Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms should be transparent and include members of civil society. Civil society actors are critical to ensuring transparency and providing expertise in the effective implementation of WPS NAPs.
The increase of the number of women in police and military organizations and the integration of gender perspectives in operations require actions at different levels.
- Military and police organizations should develop organization-specific WPS implementation plans. This can be accomplished even in the absence of a nation-wide WPS NAP. Countries, such as Argentina and Colombia, have developed and effectively implemented military implementation plans before NAPs were developed.
- In terms of gender balance, the military and police should remove all exclusions and caps that limit women’s full participation in the security forces. They should also develop recruitment programs and establish targets to increase the number of women in the ranks. Military and police should regularly collect and publish sex-disaggregated data on women in the ranks.
- In terms of integrating gender perspectives in operations, and more generally the development of a gender mainstreaming strategy, the military and police should appoint Gender Advisors (GENADs). GENADs help with the development of organizational gender mainstreaming strategies, make sure that police and military exercises and operations have integrated a gender analysis, and advise on the education and training of soldiers and officers with regard to the WPS agenda. To be effective, GENADs should be located at the highest command level. In addition to GENADs, military and police organizations should appoint Gender Focal Points (GFPs) at lower levels of the organization.
GFPs are key to ensuring that implementation takes place at all levels.
International and Regional Actions:
There is a great deal of expertise in Latin America and the Caribbean that should be capitalized on for the good of the entire region. Unfortunately, the exchange and learning among security forces in the region is ad-hoc, uneven, and non-systematic. Countries in the region, including the United States government (US DoD and US SOUTHCOM), should create a WPS Center of Excellence for security forces (military and police) that can support the integration of the WPS agenda throughout the region. The Center—a multilateral governmental venture—should seek to actively engage non-governmental stakeholders. The Center would function as a regional hub to support military and police forces in the region. Areas of responsibilities would include:
- Research: encourage national and regional collaborative research efforts and focus on topics supporting the integration of the WPS agenda into security forces, such as measures to eliminate barriers for women’s participation in military and police forces, monitoring and evaluation practices, collecting and publishing sex-disaggregated data on gender balances in the forces;
- Education and Training: facilitate the development and delivery of WPS and gender curriculum and training for the military and police;
- Convening of stakeholders: exchange best practices;
- Technical support: for the development of WPS NAPs and implementation plans, particularly implementation plans for the military and police.
More specifically, the US government (US DoD and US SOUTHCOM) should embed WPS discussions in all engagements, including in all security and military senior leader engagements. They should also incentivize women’s participation in any externally funded training programs they provide to regional partners by requiring that a certain percentage of military and police women participate in the training.
The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda launched in October 2000 by the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 has been a key instrument in advancing the role of women in the peace and security arena.
The United States, including the US Department of Defense, has been engaged with the WPS agenda since 2011, when President Barack Obama launched the first National Action Plan (NAP) on WPS. The US Congress adopted the WPS Act in 2017, which directed the US government to develop a national WPS Strategy. The US WPS Strategy was released in 2019. Subsequently, in mid-2020, the US Department of State, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Department of Homeland Security, and the US Department of Defense published agency-specific implementation plans.
In its 2020 Implementation Plan, the US Department of Defense outlined the following lines of effort:
- Seek and support the preparation and meaningful participation of women around the world in decision-making processes related to conflict and crises;
- Promote the protection of women and girls’ human rights, their access to humanitarian assistance, and their safety from violence, abuse, and exploitation around the world;
- Adjust US international programs to improve outcomes in equality for, and the empowerment of, women; and
- Encourage partner governments to adopt policies, plans, and capacity to improve the meaningful participation of women in processes connected to peace and security and decision-making institutions.
The advancement of the WPS agenda is a key objective of US military partnerships, including in the Southern Hemisphere. Yet there is very little data on how military and police forces in Latin America and the Caribbean have integrated women and gender perspectives in their operations and activities. As a result, the exchange and learning among security forces in the Western Hemisphere on how best to integrate gender perspectives in operations and activities is ad-hoc and non-systematic.
In the summer of 2020, WIIS was approached by the Gender Advisor of US SOUTHCOM, Lt. Col. (USAF) Duila M. Turner, to develop a tool that would provide baseline data on where security forces in the region stand with respect to the integration of the WPS agenda. The idea was to develop a tool that could structure and frame discussions on these issues with partner nations.
In consultation with the US SOUTHCOM Gender Advisor, we defined three main objectives for the WPS assessment tool:
Learning: Numerous studies show that there is still little awareness and understanding of the WPS framework. While there is an increasing awareness within security establishments that conflict affects men and women differently, military and police establishments have a hard time determining what this reality means for them in terms of operations and how to convey this to their security forces. By collecting data and examining best practices, the assessment tool should become a powerful analytical and hence educational and learning tool that helps develop a greater understanding of gender mainstreaming within military and police structures.
Partnerships: Many security challenges require regional and international cooperation. The development of military partnerships is a key objective of the US Combatant Commands. For states to work well together they need to share common standards. By exchanging data and best practices on gender mainstreaming, states will be able to work together in a more efficient and effective way across the region.
Monitoring and evaluation: The assessment tool should encompass a simple set of indicators that will allow states to evaluate how well they are implementing the principles of gender equality and the WPS agenda in their security structures and operations.
To develop the assessment tool, WIIS drew on its experience with the 1325 NATO Scorecard project. WIIS adapted the tool from the NATO project to reflect the reality in Latin America and the Caribbean. Given the broad tasks of the military and the police in most countries in the region, and the fact that police in the region are sent to UN peacekeeping operations, we decided to include the police—that is, police that work at the national level and may be called upon to respond to cases of civil unrest, to protect the borders, or deal with in-country humanitarian emergencies.
We organized three workshops between August and November 2020. The objectives of the workshops were threefold:
- Identify people in the region interested in the integration of the WPS agenda in national security forces;
- Create volunteer research country teams; and
- Review progress, identify gaps, and develop national and regional recommendations for how best to advance the WPS agenda in security forces.
Our initial invitation to join this project and our first workshop led to the development of a diverse list of over 100 participants from government (military, police, defense, foreign affairs, women’s and gender equality ministries), academia, and civil society from 16 countries and the creation of 14 country research teams.
In total, over 90 people from 16 countries have participated in this project at various points. Initial findings were presented at the third workshop in November 2020. At this workshop, Ambassador Jean Manes, Foreign Policy Advisor and the Civilian Deputy to the US Southern Command Commander, made remarks. In her remarks, she signaled the strong commitment of US SOUTHCOM to this effort.
Over the course of the project, WIIS created a listserv for people involved and interested in the project. The listserv was formalized into a WIIS WPS Latin America and Caribbean network at the end of the third workshop. For more information or to become a member of the network, visit: https://www. surveymonkey.com/r/GLSS6S8.
As societies and nations across the world face unprecedented challenges to gender equality, human security, and lasting peace, implementation of the WPS agenda is more important than ever. Indeed, research shows that societies are more peaceful and prosperous when women and men enjoy the same rights, liberties, dignities, and access to resources.
Policymakers around the world have made gender equality a top policy priority. This WPS assessment report highlights steps Latin American and Caribbean countries have taken to implement the WPS agenda and ensure gender equality. The need is to expand these efforts in the face of growing evidence of the strategic and operational advantages such an agenda presents to military and police forces in a country. However, the report also shows that while there is much rhetoric, there is little follow-though in implementation. The time to match rhetoric to action is now.
This project would not have seen the light of day without the support and help of many people. The project directors would like to thank key people whose support has been critical for the success of this project. First, we would like to thank Lieutenant Colonel (USAF) Duilia M. Turner, the Gender Advisor for US Southern Command, who first came to WIIS with the idea of this project and provided us with support to carry it out.
We would also like to thank all the participants in our three workshops. Over 90 participants from
16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean brought an array of perspectives from government (military, police, defense, foreign affairs, women’s and gender equality ministries), academia, and civil society. A very special thanks goes out to those who actively participated in the 14 research country teams. They were generous in sharing their expertise, time, and resources. This project would not have been possible without the dedicated support of these volunteers. They used their considerable government and non-government contacts to gather much of the data for this report. (See Annex I)
Special thanks is also due to Dr. Paula Drumond, Assistant Professor at the Pontificia Universidade
Catolica do Rio de Janeiro; Dr. Renata Giannini, Senior Researcher at the Igarapé Institute in Rio de
Janeiro; Dr. Fabiana Sofia Perera, Assistant Professor at the William J Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University in Washington, DC; Dr. Tamya Rebelo, Professor at the Escola Superior de Popaganda e Marketing and the Centro Universitario Belas Artes de Sao Paulo, and Dr. Cristina Rodriguez-Acosta, Assistant Director of the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy at the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University, for their advice and support. We also thank Patricia Cepero of the Jack D. Gordon Institute for helping to navigate the administrative part of the project.
At WIIS, thanks is due to WIIS Fellows Dr. Diorella Islas and Ana Velasco. Many thanks also to Program Manager Kayla McGill and Program Assistants Allyn Anderson and Madison Beltz for their valuable research support. Lastly, thanks to WIIS member and retired Colonel Cornelia Weiss and Dr. Karin Johnston, Senior Fellow at WIIS, for their invaluable editorial support.
While this report is the product of a collective effort, we, the authors of this report, are responsible for any errors and omissions.
Dr. Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, President, WIIS
Dr. Ellen Haring, Senior Fellow and Project Director
Washington, DC, USA
Gender equality has been recognized as a core principle of human rights in foundational international, regional, and national legal texts. The UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) set human rights standards that explicitly apply to every human being “without distinction of any kind, such as (…) sex.”  Latin American diplomats, legal scholars, and activists have been at the forefront of the development of these global human rights frameworks.
These legal instruments, as well as the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the 1994 Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (Belem do Para Convention), have been the basis for the economic, social and political empowerment of women, including their entry in national security forces—defined here as constituting the military and the police.
Support for the increased participation of women in the security sector received an important boost in 2000 when the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325). The resolution called on all UN member states to:
- Increase the representation and participation of women in conflict prevention and conflict resolution processes, including in security institutions (military and police);
- Integrate gender perspectives in the analysis of peace and security issues; and
- Adopt special measures to protect women and girls from all forms of sexual and gender-based violence in conflict settings.
Since 2000, the UN Security Council has adopted nine more resolutions that have reinforced and refined what is now known as the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.
Regional and security organizations as diverse as the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have developed organizationwide policies and action plans to incorporate guidance from the WPS agenda into their deliberations and actions. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was an early adopter of the WPS agenda and issued Action Plans and Strategic Directives that committed to the WPS agenda. For the Americas, the Organization of American States (OAS) has not yet formally adopted the WPS framework. However, the Inter-American Commission of Women has worked on all aspects of the WPS agenda, most notably the participation of women in political life, women’s human rights and gender violence, women’s economic empowerment, and a gendered approach to human or citizen security.
At the national level, some 86 countries have developed National Action Plans (NAPs) and legislation to implement and advance the WPS agenda. In Latin America and the Caribbean, six countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Paraguay) have developed NAPs.  Chile was an early adopter and global leader when it published one of the world’s first NAPs in 2009 and a second NAP in 2015. Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay are in the process of developing a NAP.
Military and police security forces are important partners in the implementation of these NAPs. Indeed, the spread of NAPs in Latin America and the Caribbean has been spurred by increasing participation of countries in the region in UN Peace Operations. Many countries and military leaders, particularly those who have been deployed in UN missions, have recognized that a more diverse force in terms of gender and gender perspectives increases operational effectiveness and readiness. For many countries in the region, the adoption of the WPS framework has also meant greater attention to the role of women in their own security forces from both an operational and a rights points of view. In addition, many civil society organizations have advocated for NAPs that reflect a more inward-looking approach. This is particularly important in a region that no longer has traditional armed conflicts, yet faces high rates of violence, particularly against women and girls.
Gender Balance, Gender Perspectives and Gender Mainstreaming
When considering gender equality and the WPS agenda within the security sector, three issues are key:
First, gender balance—that is, the equal representation of women within the force. Research has shown that more diverse organizations are more effective organizations.12 Military organizations are no different. Yet, women remain grossly under-represented in security forces around the globe, including in Latin America and the Caribbean. The United Nations has repeatedly lamented the lack of women soldiers and police in its peacekeeping operations. It is important to recognize the cultural and institutional barriers women may face in military and police forces.
Second, gender perspectives—that is, overlaying a lens that reveals gender differences when planning, executing, or evaluating military and police security force activities. The integration of a gender perspective involves the systematic and continuous process of assessing gender-based differences of men and women as reflected in their social roles and interactions. As explained by a commanding officer in the multi-national force deployed in Afghanistan, “a gender perspective is much more than female members in the team. It is about having and using knowledge about the gender roles and situation of both men and women in all activities of the mission.” A good gender analysis before activities start will greatly enhance situational awareness that, in turn, will enhance operational effectiveness.
Third, gender mainstreaming—that is, an integrated strategy by which organizations implement the concepts of gender balancing and gender perspectives across their organizations and operations. NATO, for example, has defined gender mainstreaming as “a strategy to achieve gender equality by assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies and programs in all areas and at all levels.” In other words, “gender mainstreaming is a set of specific, strategic approaches as well as technical and institutional processes adopted to achieve the goal of gender equality.”
The Latin American and Caribbean WPS assessment tool helps to measure how security forces are doing along those three axes. More specifically, it measures gender balance, gender perspectives, and gender mainstreaming at two different levels: the political level and the institutional and operational level. Lastly, it measures to what extent practices of good governance—that is, monitoring and evaluation—have been integrated.
The Latin American And Caribbean WPS Assessment Tool
The Latin America and Caribbean WPS assessment tool measures progress along three main levels: political will, institutional policy and practice, and monitoring and evaluation. For each we defined a limited set of key indicators.
The political level is a necessary first step. Is there political will and commitment to integrate the principles of the WPS agenda in the security forces—that is, is there political will to advance gender equality and gender perspectives in military and police forces? Political will can be measured in several ways. A first indicator is whether principles of gender equality have been incorporated in a country’s laws and regulations. In addition, we can measure to what extent political leaders refer to the principles of gender equality and the WPS agenda in their speeches. For the purposes of our project, a critical indicator of political will is whether a country has adopted a WPS NAP and whether implementation plans for the security sector have been drafted. From our research on the integration of WPS principles in NATO countries, we know that countries that mention the defense department as a principal actor and those who outline clear lines of responsibility through an action or implementation plan generally score higher on implementation than countries whose plans fail to specifically call out the military as an implementing agency. Lastly, we examine whether any resources have been allocated. Indeed, the allocation of resources is often a good measure of political intent.
The operational level is about gender mainstreaming and institutionalization, that is, how gender equality and WPS principles are integrated in institutional and bureaucratic processes. Institutionalization is critical, in that it safeguards gender equality and WPS initiatives from political turn-over and turmoil. Gender mainstreaming is about gender balance and gender perspectives. To what extent is women’s equal participation and integration in military and police forces a priority, and to what extent are institutional processes in place that are conducive to the integration of women in the military and police? This requires collecting baseline data about gender in the ranks. It also means examining measures taken to address gender imbalances, including the lifting of structural barriers and barriers related to the work environment. Three types of indicators are particularly important in this respect: first, whether all jobs are open to women; second, the existence of policies that deal with family issues (in particular, pregnancies and child care); and third, the existence of policies that deal with harassment and abuse. To what extent gender perspectives are integrated in operational policies and plans can be measured by examining strategic operational documents, field manuals, and other similar publications. The appointment of Gender Advisors (GENADs), as well as their standing and position in the force, is an important indicator for institutional support for gender mainstreaming. From our research on gender mainstreaming in NATO militaries, we know that a Gender Advisor is a commander’s best resource for ensuring the integration of gender perspectives into the planning, execution, and evaluation of military operations. Lastly, gender mainstreaming requires attention to training and education. Are soldiers and senior leaders being taught how to do a gender analysis, and are they aware of the national and international legal frameworks?
The last step in ensuring institutionalization of gender equality and WPS initiatives is monitoring and evaluating progress over time. The WPS assessment tool measures to what extent policies and operations are subject to monitoring and evaluation processes. Monitoring and evaluation are key to capturing best practices, establishing realistic benchmarks, identifying gaps in resources and structural challenges, framing strategic planning efforts, and supporting accountability measures. Two key indicators include the systematic collection of sex-disaggregated data and to what extent outside actors, including civil society organizations, are involved in assessment efforts.
The WPS assessment tool, by examining military and police forces from the political to the operational and from the strategic to the tactical levels, measures the progress of military and police organizations comprehensively. Assessments like these work best when they become part of iterative processes that allow for dialogue and learning among countries in the region.
In early August 2020, WIIS held its first Latin America and Caribbean WPS research workshop to assess interest in applying the assessment tool to countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. The workshop also allowed us to review the draft assessment tool. Over 70 people from the region joined the workshop and eventually formed 14 volunteer research country teams. These research teams were composed of active and retired members of the security forces (military and police), government officials (foreign affairs, defense ministries, women’s agencies), the legislative branch, academics, and civil society. Each team elected a team coordinator who served as the main point of contact with WIIS.
As a result of the discussions at the workshop, the WIIS team further refined and adjusted the indicators of the assessment tool. (See Figure 1 and Annex 1) The revised assessment tool, containing 51 indicators, was subsequently sent to each of the country teams.
|WPS Assessment Tool for Security Forces In Latin America and the Caribbean|
|Category Indicators I: National Importance and Political Will 11 II: Institutional Policies and Practice A. Strategy, Plans and Policy 14 B. Gender in the Ranks 6 C. Training, Education and Exercises 6 D. Work Environment 8 III: Monitoring, Reporting and Evaluation 6|
Figure 1: WPS Assessment
Tool for Security Forces in Latin
America and the
By the end of September 2020, we had received data from 14 country teams. With that data, we were able to generate a scorecard for each country. That is, responses to the questions on the assessment tool received a predetermined numerical value following a scoring protocol. These scores were then used to evaluate the relative importance attached to certain issue areas and to establish regional and national averages.
In addition to the quantitative assessment, we also prepared a qualitative assessment for each country. The qualitative assessment allowed us to contextualize the collected information. It also offers an overall assessment of where the country stands with regard to implementation of the gender equality and WPS agenda. Lastly, the qualitative reports contain a set of country specific recommendations detailing how the country and its security sector might move forward. The elaboration of quantitative and qualitative reports included many follow-up interviews with the country teams to ensure that we were accurately interpreting the data they provided. All country teams reviewed final country quantitative and qualitative reports. 
Figure 2: Sample Quantitative Assessment Tool
Figure 3: Sample Qualitative Report
| Colombia – Summary Report WPS National Action Plan (NAP) Status: Colombia has not developed a NAP. That said, the November 24, 2016 peace agreement includes many gender provisions. Additionally, in 2018 the Ministry of Defense (MoD) published its own transversal (intersectional) gender implementation plan for uniformed personnel in Colombia. Overall Assessment: Colombia has a robust civil society network dedicated to advancing the WPS agenda, and many are lobbying the Colombian government to adopt a WPS NAP.1 Although the national government has made statements in support of gender equality and the MoD recognizes UNSCR 1325 and the WPS agenda, no NAP has been developed. National Importance/Political Will: Gender equality is enshrined in the Colombian Constitution (See Articles 40 and 43).2 Colombia also has a Presidential Council for Women’s Equity, which collects and analyzes information related to the situation of women in Colombia. Gender equality, women’s rights, and the empowerment of women are also referred to in the 2018-2022 National Development Plan, an allinclusive policy document that addresses foreign and domestic security policies.3 In Colombia, the army, the air force, the navy, and the national police all fall under the authority of the (MoD). The MoD guidelines and policies apply to all four services. Its 2018 report, Public Policy for a Cross-Gender Approach for the Uniformed Personnel of the Public Force, explicitly refers to UNSCR 1325 and its related resolutions.4 The report, developed as a requirement of the 2016 peace agreement, is referred to as the military’s WPS implementation plan, and it includes the police under the umbrella term “public force.” It calls on the military and the police to make sure that women have equal access and opportunities. It also sets up Gender Observatories at the level of the MoD and General Command, as well as inside each military branch and the police. |
WPS In Latin American And Caribbean Security Forces:
In terms of the overall implementation of gender equality and WPS principles in the security forces, the region (all countries combined) had an average score of 64.6 (on a scale of 1-100). This robust showing is not surprising given the region’s strong adherence to international and regional legal human right instruments, such as CEDAW and the Belem do Para convention. The region has also been a strong supporter of the Beijing Platform of Action and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Particularly important in this regard is the Montevideo Strategy for Implementation of the Regional Gender Agenda within the Sustainable Development Framework by 2030, adopted in 2016 by countries of the region. In the last five years, countries in the region have also prioritized access to political participation. Most countries in the region have instituted political quotas, which has increased women’s participation in decision-making institutions throughout the government. Lastly, many countries in the region have established women’s or gender equality government agencies; in some cases, these agencies function at the ministerial level.
Despite a relatively strong score overall, many challenges remain. Indeed, this is a region where “patriarchal, discriminatory and violent cultural patterns remain in place, with gender stereotypes persisting in the education system, the media and political and cultural institutions.” The security sector is, of course, not devoid of these stereotypes. As Ellen Haring has noted in a recent publication, “national military organization are quintessentially masculine constructs that rely on notions of men as warrior-protectors and women as the protected. (…) National militaries are set up to optimize men’s participation and rely on patriarchal social structures where women perform traditional family duties centered around caregiving while men go to war.” Nicole Jenne and Fiorella Ulloa Bisshopp, in their study on the effectiveness of Chile’s efforts to promote a gender perspective in the military, emphasize how “resilient” gender stereotypes are in military organizations. For example, Chilean forces deployed in the UN peacekeeping operation in Haiti had a fair number of women. That said, the tasks these women were assigned hewed closely to traditional gender stereotypes: “Instead of performing the full range of peacekeeping tasks, women were often delegated to deal with issues concerning women and children and prevented from joining activities that were deemed to involve security risks.” Gender mainstreaming in security forces requires more than just adding women; it also requires cultural and organizational change.
When we examine the average performance of the region as a whole at the different levels of our assessment tool, the region scores highest at the political commitment level, with a score of 68. The score drops at the implementation level to 64 and at the monitoring and evaluation level to 57.7.
(See Figure 4)
Figure 4: Overall
Figure 5: Overall
|58 60 58||66 66||72 4.4|
Average National Argentina 90
Costa Rica 87 Dominican Republic
Trinidad & Tobago
When we examine the overall performance of individual countries in the region, four countries scored above the average regional score. Four countries scored around the regional average, and six countries fell below the regional average. On the high side, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay significantly outperformed other countries. What is common to these countries is that they have strong scores across all levels. (See Table 1)
|Country Political Will Policy & Practice Monitoring Reporting Total Score & Evaluation|
|Argentina 98 90 68 90 Brazil 44 51 48 49 Chile 85 75 64 76 Colombia 51 47 68 50 Costa Rica 80 88 100 87 Dominican Republic 63 58 48 58 Ecuador 72 56 60 60 Guatemala 78 52 36 55 Mexico 60 59 40 58 Panama 62 63 60 66 Paraguay 67 68 44 66 Peru 58 57 60 57 Trinidad & Tobago 55 64 36 60 Uruguay 78 70 76 72 Region Average 68 64 57.70 64.60|
Table 1: Average
National Scores by
Lastly, it may be noted that our results closely align with the scores of these countries in other gender equality indexes, such as the Women, Peace and Security Index published by the Georgetown University Institute on Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) and the Fighting Inequality in the Time of
Covid-19: The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index 2020, published by Oxfam and Development
Finance International. (See Table 2)
|GIWPS Rank Country Oxfam Rank|
|41 Trinidad & Tobago 16 45 Costa Rica 3 48 Argentina 2 49 Ecuador 8 55 Chile 1 58 Uruguay 11 68 Paraguay 15 69 Peru 18 70 Panama 22 74 Dominican Republic 23 98 Brazil 13 103 Mexico 14 104 Colombia 10 106 Guatemala 24|
Table 2: GIWPS and Oxfam Rankings
In sum, while there is broad regional commitment to the principles and ideas of the WPS agenda, commitment to actual implementation and monitoring and evaluation is considerably less robust. Rhetoric, generally, does not match action.
National Importance/Political Will
National importance and political will measures three main issues: (1) whether gender equality is recognized in a country’s main laws and regulations; (2) whether a country has adopted a WPS NAP; and (3) whether political leaders in their statements provide strong support to the principles of gender equality and the WPS agenda.
All countries in the region have enshrined gender equality in their constitutions, and many have also established gender equality and women’s empowerment agencies. That said, an important indicator of political commitment is whether a country has adopted a WPS NAP. (See Table 3)
|Countries with NAPs Countries with NAPs Countries without NAPs under development|
|Argentina Costa Rica Colombia Brazil Ecuador Dominican Republic Chile Mexico Panama Guatemala Trinidad & Tobago Peru Paraguay Uruguay|
Table 3: National
Action Plans –
Argentina and Chile—both with top scores overall and at this level—have developed and implemented WPS NAPs. However, the presence or absence of a NAP is not necessary or sufficient to score high. For example, Costa Rica, despite not having a NAP, scored high overall due to the government’s strong political commitment to advancing gender equality across the country and within its institutions.On the other hand, Brazil fell below the regional average. Indeed, in the case of Brazil, a change in national level political leadership in 2019 resulted in diminished political will and commitment to gender equality and the WPS agenda.
The NAPs of the countries in the region have many similarities, but also significant differences. For most countries in the region, the WPS agenda is an external, rather than an internal, agenda. In most cases, the ministries of foreign affairs have lead responsibilities for the implementation of a NAP. The extensive gender equality machinery established under CEDAW, the SDGs, or regional gender equality commitments is often seen as distinct from the WPS agenda. Guatemala is the exception and has adopted a whole-of-government approach. In Guatemala, the Women’s Ministry plays an important role in the development of a new NAP. In Costa Rica, the development of a NAP involves many government agencies, not just in the security sector, but also in the legislature. In addition, its National Institute for Women works at a ministerial level and has taken innovative steps to tackle structural gender inequalities at home, including machismo culture.
Most civil society organizations in the region advocate for whole-of-government efforts as well as a broadening of the agenda beyond traditional armed conflict. They argue that the region grapples with many “gendered consequences of non-conventional armed violence,” and they point to high rates of femicide in the region.32 While several Latin American NAPs have integrated demands for a broader agenda, most remain very externally focused. Paula Drumond and Tamya Rebelo note that the Paraguayan NAP stands out with ambitious and long-term goals. The Paraguayan NAP defines one of its goals as “the elimination of cultural barriers that hinder the full participation of women in all areas of human society.” The Argentinian NAP includes issues related to human trafficking. The Brazilian NAP includes gender-sensitive initiatives focused on the rights of refugees and refugee seekers in the country. The Chilean NAP expanded the principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to include the protection of women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence. The Argentinian, Brazilian, and Chilean NAPs all define protection as meaning not just physical security but also access to sexual and reproductive health.
|UN Ranking Total Male Female|
|Uruguay 17 1,138 1,055 83 Argentina 42 304 276 28 El Salvador 45 292 263 29 Brazil 47 282 270 12 Peru 52 233 198 35 Guatemala 57 176 155 21 Paraguay 80 31 28 3 Chile 82 30 27 3 Bolivia 83 27 20 7 Mexico 94 13 6 7 Honduras 97 11 7 4 Ecuador 98 10 4 6 Dominican Republic 107 5 3 2 Colombia 108 4 3 1 Totals Region 2,556 2,315 241 Global Totals 81,820 76,596 5,328 Source: United Nations|
Another positive driver for gender equality and the WPS agenda, including the development of a WPS NAP, is the extent of global—UN—engagements a country has. The participation in peacekeeping operations is particularly important in this regard. (See Table 4) For example, the Brazilian NAP expired at the end of 2018. Gender equality and the WPS agenda were not a priority for the new Brazilian administration that came to power in January 2019. Yet the administration decided to extend the NAP (developed under the previous administration) in March of 2019 for four years. Indeed, Brazil’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations was considered important and, in that context, the continuation of a NAP became significant.Table 4: Participation in UN Peacekeeping Operations by Countries from Latin America and the Caribbean-Military and Police Combined – August 2020
However, while UN peacekeeping involvement is positively impacting the military, it does not appear to have a similar impact on the national police. Indeed, the police generally scored lower in most countries than did the military regarding implementation of the WPS agenda.
The engagement of international actors in the Colombia peace agreements has also been an important factor in pushing forward a gender equality and WPS agenda. For example, the 2018 Colombian Ministry of Defense’s report Public Policy for a Cross-Gender Approach for the Uniformed Personnel of the Public Force was developed as a requirement of the 2016 peace agreement. It is considered the military’s WPS implementation plan. It calls on the military and the police to make sure that women have equal access and opportunities. It also sets up Gender Observatories at the level of the Ministry of Defense and General Command, as well as inside each military branch and the police.
Other examples of international engagements and commitments that advance a gender equality and WPS agenda at home include: Uruguay, which co-chairs, with Canada, the United Nations GFP Network and is currently working on a WPS NAP; the Dominican Republic, which during 2020, together with Germany, co-chaired the UN Security Council Informal Expert Group (IEG) on WPS; or Mexico, which, since 2019, co-chairs with France the Generation Equality Forum—a global civil society-centered gathering for gender equality. Its work on the Generation Equality Forum, and the fact that Mexico launched a Feminist Foreign Policy in January 2020 and is currently developing a WPS NAP, are certainly not unrelated. High-level international engagements also help civil society organizations at home to press their governments to progress on the gender equality and WPS agendas.
Policy and Practice
Policy and practice examines how political commitment to gender equality and WPS principles is translated into practical action in the security sector. We distinguish four main areas: (1) policy, planning, and staffing, in particular the appointment of GENADs and GFPs; (2) women’s participation in the security forces (gender in the ranks); (3) policies and programs that support women’s participation in the security forces; and (4) training and education on WPS principles.
Policy, Planning and Staffing
Although national level commitment is critical in advancing the WPS agenda, it is not sufficient to realizing better outcomes in terms of gender mainstreaming. Even in countries that have published NAPs, these NAPs do not always require the participating ministries and departments to develop detailed implementation plans. Without such plans, including bureaucratic procedures and processes that mainstream gender in security institutions, change will be fleeting and easily reversible with changing political leadership.
Our analysis found that countries that developed military implementation plans even before or in the absence of a NAP have generally made significant progress in terms of gender mainstreaming. For example, in 2008 the Argentine Ministry of Defense adopted a WPS Action Plan (long before their 2015 NAP was published). It was developed in response to Argentina’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations and led to many “policy reforms in the field of defense and the armed forces.” Participation in UN peacekeeping operations helped to strengthen pre-deployment training on gender issues. It also required the military to establish GENADs and GFPs.37
Indeed, a major indicator of progress with regard to the integration of gender equality and WPS principles is the appointment of GENADs and GFPs. They are critical in helping to mainstream the principles of the WPS agenda in all aspects of the operations of security forces. The role of a GENAD is to provide guidance and advice to senior level commanders on how to integrate gender perspectives into operations and missions, crisis and conflict analysis, concepts, doctrine, procedures, and education and training. GFPs are similarly trained but work at lower levels in the organization to mainstream the WPS agenda across occupational positions.
Only a few countries in the region are systematically appointing, training and employing GENADs and GFPs. (See Table 5) Argentina has a robust GENAD and GFP program. It also provides gender training through its regional peacekeeping center—trainings that are open to other countries in the region as well. Uruguay, a top regional UN troop contributor, co-hosts, with Canada, the UN GFP network. It has appointed GFPs in both the military and the police, but these GENADs are all double-hatted—that is, they have other responsibilities as well. Neither the military nor the police have appointed full-time GENADS. In some countries, for example in Mexico and Peru, the security institutions have established gender equality institutions that have certain GENAD functions. However, most often these institutions work more in the human resources sphere, rather than the policy and planning spheres. Most often, they do not report directly to the highest command levels.
Gender in the Ranks: Women’s Participation in the Security Forces
All countries in our survey have low women’s participation rates in their military and police forces. (See Table 6) The promotion rates for women are even lower. In general, women have made greater inroads in the police than in the military. In the national police forces, all positions are officially open to women. That said, some of our investigators also reported that the practice does not always align with the formal rules. In some countries, women are not assigned to work “on the streets.” In addition, as women have made inroads within the police, some countries have begun to impose caps, thereby limiting women’s access. Such is the case in Trinidad and Tobago, where no more than 30% of the force is allowed to be women. There is also a waiting list for women who want to join the police.
In four out of 14 countries, women continue to be officially barred from some military occupations. (See Table 7) In addition, even if in theory all positions are open, women often face restrictions in practice, particularly in terms of where they are utilized. Many teams reported that data on military deployments reveal that women are far less likely to be deployed on operational missions.
|Country The country The country GENADs are The country has appointed has appointed assigned for has gender Gender Advisors gender focal pecific equality (GENAD). points (GFP). missions. offices/units.|
|Argentina Yes Yes Yes Brazil Yes Chile Yes Yes Yes Colombia Yes Costa Rica Yes Dominican Republic Yes Yes Ecuador Yes Guatemala Yes Mexico Yes Panama Yes Paraguay Yes Peru Yes Trinidad and Tobago Yes Uruguay Yes Yes Yes|
Table 5: Gender Advisors and
|Country Military Percent of Senior Police Senior Women Military Police Deployed Women Women|
|Argentina 17.3% 8% nd nd nd Brazil 7.6% 8% nd 9% nd Chile 10% 10% nd 34% 15% Colombia 6% 1.5% 1% 9% 2% Costa Rica na na na 18.7% di Dominican Republic 20.8% 5.1%-8% 4% 15% 4.7% Ecuador 2.7% di nd 15% di Guatemala nd 8% nd 16% nd Panama na na na 16.2% 14.9% Peru 10% di .5% 18% .4% Paraguay nd 10% nd Nd nd Mexico 12.4% 1-3% 2.5% 10% 19% Trinidad & Tobago 14.3% na nd 29% nd Uruguay 11% 7% 1.7% 25.6% 3% nd=no data (data not provided or data not available) na=not applicable (these countries have no military forces or they do not deploy) di=data incomplete (not enough data to calculate percentage)|
Table 6: Women’s
Participation as a Percentage of the
Working on “the streets” and military deployments are generally career enhancing assignments; the restrictions women face in this regard likely contributes to them being less competitive for promotions. These restrictions may explain why few women are represented at the highest levels in the military or police.
Lastly, in terms of long-term policy and planning, we found that only four countries have active recruitment programs or set targets to raise the number of women in the force.
Table 7: Policy and Practice
|Country Are all Are there Do they How much Is WPS Is positions recruitment provide paid gender Monitoring open to targets? uniforms & maternity/ training & Evaluation women (military/ equipment paternity provided ? conducted? in the police) adapted to leave military? women? is provided?|
|Argentina Yes Yes/UNK Yes 90 days/10 days Yes Yes Brazil No No. There are some caps/No. There are local caps No 180 days/5 days Yes No Chile No No/No Yes 126 days/UNK Yes Yes Colombia No No/No Yes 126 days/8 days Yes Yes Costa Rica Yes NA/No Yes 120 days/2 days Yes Yes Dominican Republic Yes Yes/Yes, but there are local caps No 98 days/7 days Yes Yes Ecuador Yes No/No No 80 days/15 days Yes Yes Guatemala Yes No/No No 84 days/UNK Yes No Mexico Yes Yes/No No 90 days/10 days No No Panama Yes NA/ No Yes 98 days/3 days Yes Yes Paraguay No No/No Yes 126 days/UNK Yes Yes Peru Yes No/No No 98 days/UNK No Yes Trinidad and Tobago Yes No, there is a 30% cap Yes 90 days/3 days Yes No Uruguay Yes Yes/Yes No 91 days/10 days Yes Yes NA=not applicable because they have no military forces UNK=unknown-data was not provided during data collection|
More generally, it must be noted that data on women’s participation and promotion rates were elusive in many countries. Either the data are not being collected and tracked over time, or the country refuses to publish the data. One country indicated that data on women in the military were considered confidential and not publicly releasable.
Many organizations that track numbers and the composition of armed forces around the world, such as the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, generally do not collect sexdisaggregated data. The only known detailed survey of women in the armed forces and the police dates from 2010 and was carried out by the Argentine think tank RESDAL.
Women-Friendly Policies and Programs
To increase women’s participation in the security forces, it is also important to have policies and programs that make military and police service possible on a personal level. Women tend to leave the military and police at higher rates than men when they have children or encounter a hostile work environment. Therefore, it is imperative that the military and police implement policies that make it possible for women to have a fulfilling career by ensuring that their organizations are inclusive, free of harassment, and accommodate family needs for women who often remain primary caregivers.
In all countries reviewed, both the military and police provide paid maternity leave for women, although the length of time varies greatly—from 80 days to 18 weeks. Many countries also provide a few days of paid paternity leave. Some countries offer varying levels of childcare and family leave, while others offer none.
A healthy and productive work environment also requires that sexual harassment and abuse is not tolerated, that it is strictly monitored, and that offenders are prosecuted. Most countries, particularly those involved in peacekeeping, provide basic human rights training, with a portion of the training directed specifically toward preventing sexual and gender-based violence in the areas of operations. However, the same level of training and attention is not being given to eradicating sexual harassment and abuse within a country’s own ranks. Data from countries that track and address harassment, including the US, Canada and Australia, show that sexual harassment and abuse of women in the ranks is pervasive in military organizations around the world. Therefore, it is critical that military and police organizations address this behavior if they want to keep women in their organizations.
Finally, uniforms, equipment, and facilities must be adapted to accommodate women to optimize women’s performance and retention. Only half of the countries in our survey provide women-specific equipment. (Table 7 above). Requiring women to perform in uniforms and equipment designed by and for men degrades women’s performance, causes injuries, and can result in safety hazards. Furthermore, failing to provide bathrooms and safe billets also drives women out of military and police organizations.
In sum, security forces seeking to increase women’s participation must ensure that there are familyfriendly programs available to support women’s long-term participation, address sexual harassment and abuse within the ranks, and provide uniforms, equipment, and billets for women. While countries in the region score well in terms of maternity and paternity leave policies, much work remains to be accomplished in the other areas.
WPS Training and Education
Applying a gender lens to military and police organizations and operations requires training and education. It is not an intuitive process. The countries that participate in UN peacekeeping operations receive human rights and WPS training during pre-deployment training. Indeed, when countries engage with the UN, particularly in the context of contributing troops to UN peacekeeping operations, they are expected to meet certain UN WPS training requirements. However, for many countries, gender and WPS training ends with UN missions.
Some countries have more systematically integrated gender training into their entry, mid- and senior-level training and education programs. That said, this training is more likely to be found in the military than the police. Police training generally focuses on responding to and preventing domestic, sexual, and genderbased violence.
GENADs and GFPs require specialized training. Such training remains limited. A few countries like Argentina provide WPS training for the military. Costa Rica has mainstreamed gender throughout police training programs. Costa Rica is unique in the region for creating a gender training program that addresses masculinity and machismo culture.
Eleven countries in the region host peacekeeping training centers. Many of these centers have not integrated gender and the WPS agenda in their curriculum in a systematic manner. Helping these centers build up their WPS and gender equality curriculum and provide specialized courses for GENADs would be an obvious first step towards more robust training on WPS and gender equality in the region.
Monitoring, Reporting, and Evaluation
Monitoring and evaluation are critical for learning and understanding whether progress is being made in implementing the WPS agenda. Monitoring and evaluation also had the lowest average scores. There are three main reasons for the low scores. First, even when countries have developed NAPs, strategies or implementation plans, they are often written without clearly defined and measurable goals and benchmarks. Second, countries generally do not appoint or support independent oversight bodies. Most governments are wary of such bodies and/or the involvement of civil society in the oversight of policies. Third, there is a dearth of sex-disaggregated data being collected or made available for evaluation.
The best monitoring and evaluation programs are independent, transparent, and involve civil society. Some country teams reported that monitoring and evaluation does occur, but the reports and data produced by entities in these countries can only be accessed by requesting them through government transparency programs, or they may not be available at all.
Costa Rica has the most robust monitoring and evaluating systems in the region. They are provided by Costa Rica’s National Institute for Women, which functions as a ministry. This ministry-level Institute has a national council responsible for decision-making at the national level. Furthermore, the Institute provides advice and has oversight over gender mainstreaming in all of the government ministries, including the Ministry of Public Security.
Some countries have robust independent civil society networks that provide some external monitoring and evaluation functions and keep pressure on governments to advance gender equality and the WPS agenda. For example, Colombia has a robust civil society network with 57 distinct organizations that promote the principles of UNSCR 1325 and the WPS agenda. It also has a Women Peace and Security Observatory, a coalition of civil society organizations that is actively lobbying the government to adopt a WPS NAP. In some countries, the think tank and academic community are important players. For example, in Brazil, the Igarapé Institute has a considerable amount of expertise with regard to the WPS agenda and women in the military. Similarly, in Argentina, RESDAL has undertaken important work in this regard. The analysis by these institutions are important in collecting best practices and advancing the WPS agenda in the region. More generally, the Gender Division of the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC or CEPAL in Spanish) plays an important role in gender mainstreaming in the region and collecting data.
Recommendations and Concluding Remarks
To advance the gender equality and WPS agenda in the security forces in the region, the following actions should be taken at the national and regional levels.
All countries in the region have strong normative gender equality frameworks in place. This should provide a solid basis for governments in the region to apply the political will necessary to develop WPS NAPs. The most effective NAPs are whole-of-government efforts that engage all governmental and non-governmental stakeholders and cover the entire range of security challenges, including human security and non-military security challenges. More specifically:
- All government agencies, including military and police forces, should develop implementation plans with clear goals and benchmarks for measuring progress;
- Governments must back up their commitment to NAPs and implementation plans by pledging the necessary resources—personnel and financial—to ensure effective implementation;
- Legislatures must become actively involved in the development of WPS NAPs. They should require the executive to present NAP updates at regular intervals and pass budgets with dedicated funding streams for NAPs and implementation plans;
- Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms should be transparent and include members of civil society. Civil society actors are critical to ensuring transparency and providing expertise in the effective implementation of WPS NAPs.
The increase of the number of women in police and military organizations and the integration of gender perspectives in operations require actions at different levels.
- Military and police organizations should develop organization-specific WPS implementation plans. This can be accomplished even in the absence of a nation-wide WPS NAP. Countries, such as Argentina and Colombia, have developed and effectively implemented military implementation plans before NAPs were developed.
- In terms of gender balance, the military and police should remove all exclusions and caps that limit women’s full participation in the security forces. They should also develop recruitment programs and establish targets to increase the number of women in the ranks. Military and police should regularly collect and publish sex-disaggregated data on women in the ranks.
- In terms of integrating gender perspectives in operations and more generally the development of a gender mainstreaming strategy, the military and police should appoint Gender Advisors (GENADs). GENADs help with the development of organizational gender mainstreaming strategies, make sure that police and military exercises and operations have integrated a gender analysis, and advise on the education and training of soldiers and officers with regard to the WPS agenda. To be effective GENADs should be located at the highest command level. In addition to GENADs, military and police organizations should appoint Gender Focal Points (GFPs) at lower levels of the organization.
GFPs are key to ensuring that implementation takes place at all levels.
International and Regional Actions
There is a great deal of expertise in Latin America and the Caribbean that should be capitalized on for the good of the entire region. Unfortunately, the exchange and learning among security forces in the region is ad-hoc, uneven, and non-systematic. Countries in the region, including the United States government (US DoD and US SOUTHCOM), should create a WPS Center of Excellence for military and police security forces that can support the integration of the WPS agenda throughout the region. The Center—a multilateral governmental venture—should seek to actively engage non-governmental stakeholders. The Center would function as a regional hub to support military and police forces in the region. Areas of responsibilities would include:
- Research: encourage national and regional collaborative research efforts and focus on topics supporting the integration of the WPS agenda into security forces, such as measures to eliminate barriers for women’s participation in military and police forces, monitoring and evaluation practices, collecting and publishing sex-disaggregated data on gender balances in the forces.
- Education and Training: facilitate the development and delivery of WPS and gender curriculum and training for the military and police.
- Convening of stakeholders:exchange best practices.
- Technical support: for the development of WPS NAPs and implementation plans, particularly implementation plans for the military and police.
More specifically, the US Government (US DoD and US SOUTHCOM) should embed WPS discussions in all engagements, including in all security and military senior leader engagements. They should also incentivize women’s participation in any externally funded training programs they provide to regional partners by requiring that a certain percentage of military and police women participate in the training.
It has been twenty years since UNSCR 1325 was unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council.
In the subsequent years, there has been slow but steady progress in realizing the purpose and intent of 1325. Many nations around the world, and six in Latin America and the Caribbean, have adopted WPS National Action Plans.
The concepts and terms gender balance, gender perspective and gender mainstreaming are better understood and becoming embedded within the operational activities of security institutions. Nations that are further along with gender mainstreaming have begun to realize the value of adopting a gender perspective to achieve better security outcomes. That said, normative thinking and behavior on complex social issues is slow to change, but change does happen. It requires concerted, continuous and systematic efforts by all.
Lastly, the success of gender mainstreaming efforts is closely related to the involvement of civil society. Global studies have shown that the most successful WPS NAPs are those that have the active involvement of civil society organization at every step of the way. This finding is not surprising, since gender mainstreaming is ultimately about debunking regressive gender stereotypes that exist within our societies.
1. Gender Equality, WPS and NAPs
Boutron, Camille, “Engendering Peacebuilding: The International Gender Nomenclature of Peace Politics and Women’s Participation in the Columbian Peace Process,” Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, Vol. 13, No. 2 (2018), pp. 115 – 121.
Davies, Sara E. and Jacqui True, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace and Security (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019).
De Jonge Oudraat, Chantal and Michael E. Brown, The Gender and Security Agenda: Strategies for the 21st Century (London: Routledge, 2020).
Drumond, Paula and Tamya Rebelo, 1325 and Beyond: Moving Forward the WPS Agenda in Latin America, WIIS Policy Brief (July 2020).
Drumond, Paula and Tamya Rebelo, “Global Pathways or Local Spins? National Action Plans in South America,” International Feminist Journal of Politics, Vol. 22, No. 4 (2020), pp. 462 – 484.
Drumond, Paula and Tamya Rebelo, Implementing the “Women, Peace and Security” Agenda in Brazil: An Assessment of the National Action Plan, Strategic Paper 31 (Rio de Janeiro: Igarapé Institute, August 2019).
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Regional Report on the Review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action in Latin American and Caribbean Countries (Santiago: United Nations, 2019).
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean, Gender Equality Plans in Latin America and the Caribbean: Road Maps for Development, Studies 1 (Santiago: United Nations January 2019).
Folly, Maiara and Giannini Renata, Achieving Gender Equality: Best Practices for the Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, Igarapé Institute Strategic Note (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Igarapé, March 2017).
Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and Peace Research Institute Oslo, Women, Peace and Security Index 2019/2020: Tracking Sustainable Peace Through Inclusion, Justice, and Security for Women, (Washington D.C., USA; GIWPS and PRIO, 2019).
Giannini, Renata and Perola Pereira, Building Brazil’s National Action Plan: Lessons Learned and Opportunities, LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security Working Paper Series, (London, UK; London School of Economics and Political Science, 2020).
Giannini, Renata et al., A agenda sobre mulheres, paz e segurança no contexto latino-americano: desafios e oportunidades, Igarapé Institute Strategic Article (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Igarapé, March 2018).
Hamilton, Caitlin et al, Twenty Years of Women, Peace and Security National Action Pland: Analysis and Lessons Learned (Sydney: University of Sydney, March 2020).
Humanas Colombia, 20 Años Exigiendo que el Gobierno Colombiano se conecte con la Paz y la Seguridad de las Mujeres, (Bogotá, Colombia: Humanas, July 2020).
Jacevic, Mirsad Niki, “WPS, States and the National Action Plans,” in Sara E. Davies and Jacqui True, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace and Security (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), pp. 273 – 292.
Kurtenbach, Sabine, “The Limits of Peace in Latin America,” Peacebuilding, Vol. 7, No. 3, (2019), pp. 283 – 296.
Marchetti, Ximena Gauche, “Planes de Acción Nacional sobre Mujeres, Paz y Seguridad: Experiencias Comparadas y Proyecciones para el Caso Chileno,” Revista de Derecho, Vol. 30 No. 2 (2017), pp. 203 – 223.
Marín Carvajal, Isabela and Eduardo Álvarez-Vanegas, “Securing Participation and Protection in Peace Agreements: The Case of Colombia”, in Sara E. Davies and Jacqui True, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace and Security (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), pp. 461 – 474.
Meyer Mcaleese, Mary K., “WPS and the Organization of American States,” in Sara E. Davies and Jacqui True, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace and Security (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), pp. 413 – 427.
Swaine, Aisling, “Globalising Women, Peace and Security: Trends in National Action,” in Rethinking National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security, edited by Sahla Aroussi (Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2017), pp. 7 – 27.
Urrutia Arestizábal, Pamela; Ana Villelas Ariño y María Villegas Ariño, Seguridad Feminista: Aportaciones Conceptuales y Desarrollo Actual, (Barcelona: Institut Catalá Internacional per la Pau, 2020).
Unión Nacional de Mujeres Guatemaltecas, Por una Vida Plena con Libertad, Justicia y Paz: Consulta Latinoamericana para el Estudio Mundial sobre la Implementación de la Resolución 1325, (Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala; UNAMG, May 2015).
Velasco Ugalde, Ana Laura, UNSCR1325 and the WPS Agenda: A Feminist Response to Authoritarianism, WIIS Policy Brief (June 2020).
Women In International Security, 1325 and Beyond: Winning Essays, (Washington, DC: WIIS, 2020)
2. Women in the Military and Peacekeeping
Abdenur, Adrina Erthal, Enhancing Peacekeeping Training Through Cooperation: Lessons from Latin America, Policy Brief (Rio de Janeiro: Igarape Institute, June 2018).
Baldwin, Gretchen and Sarah Taylor, Uniformed Women in Peace Operations: challenging Assumptions and Transforming Approaches (New York: International Peace Institute, June 2020).
De Jonge Oudraat, Chantal, et al, Gender Mainstreaming: Indicators for the Implementation of UNSCR
1325 and its Related Resolutions – The 1325 Scorecard: Preliminary Findings (Brussels: NATO, 2015). For a description of the NATO project and the country scorecard reports see https://www.wiisglobal. org/programs/unscr-1325-nato/
Donadio, Marcela and Cecilia Mazzota, La Mujer en las instituciones armadas y policiales: Resolución 1325 y Operaciones de Paz en América Latina, (Buenos Aires: RESDAL, 2009).
Donadio, Marcela et al, Women in the Armed Forces and Police Forces: Resolution 1325 and Peace Operations in Latin America (Buenos Aires: RESDAL, 2010).
Egnell, Robert, et al, Gender, Military Effectiveness and Organizational Change: The Swedish Model (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014).
Esparza, Diego; Santiago Arca Henon & Hope Dewell Gentry, “Peacekeeping and civil–military relations in Uruguay,” Defense & Security Analysis, Vol. 36 No. 3 (2020), pp. 314-334.
Ghittoni, Marta, Lea Lehouck and Callum Watson, Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations:
Baseline Study ( Geneva: DECAF, July 2018).
Giannini, Renata; Maiara Folly and Mariana Lima, Situações Extraordinárias: a inclusão de mulheres na linha de frente das forças armadas, Igarapé Institute Strategic Article (Rio de Janeiro: Igarape Institute, August 2017).
Hardt, Heidi and Stefanie von Hlatky, “NATO’s About-Face: Adaptation to Gender mainstreaming in an Alliance Setting,” Journal of Global Security Studies, Vol. 5, No.1 (2020), pp. 136-159.
Haring, Ellen, “Gender and Military Organizations” in Chantal de Jonge Oudraat and Michael E. Brown, eds., The Gender and Security Agenda: Strategies for the 21st Century (London: Routledge, 2020), pp. 90 – 112.
Hurley, Matthew, “Watermelons and Weddings: Making Women, Peace and Security ‘Relevant: at NATO Through (Re)Telling Stories of Success,” Global Society, Vol. 32, No. 4 (2018), pp. 436-456.
Jenne, Nicole, “Civilianizing the armed forces? Peacekeeping, a traditional mission for the military,” Defence Studies, Vol. 20 No. 2 (2020), pp. 105 – 122.
Jenne, Nicole and Fiorella Ulloa Bisshopp, “Female Peacekeepers: UNSC Resolution 1325 and the Persistence of Gender Stereotypes in the Chilean Armed Forces,” International Peacekeeping (October 14, 2020).
Karim, Sabrina and Kyle Beardsley, Equal Opportunity Peacekeeping: Women, Peace and Security in PostConflict States (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).
Perera, Fabiana Sofia; and Lieutenant Colonel Duilia Mora Turner, eds., Twenty Years, Twenty Stories: Women, Peace and Security in the Western Hemisphere (Washington, DC: William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, 2020).
Masson, Laura, Militares Argentinas: Evaluación de Políticas de Género en el Ámbito de la Defensa, (Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires: Universidad de la Defensa Nacional, 2020)
Newby, Vanessa F and Clotilde Sebag, “Gender Sidestreaming? Analyzing Gender Mainstreaming in National Militaries and International Peacekeeping,” European Journal of International Security (November, 2020), pp. 1-23.
Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations (NCGM), A Military Guide to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, (Stockholm, Sweden; NCGM, April 2020)
Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations, Whose Security? Practical Examples of Gender Perspectives in Military Operations (Stockholm: Nordic Centre for Military Operations, 2015).
Razakamaharavo, Velomahaniha T., Luise Ryan and Leah Sherwood, Improving Gender Training in UN Peacekeeping Operations, WIIS Policy Brief (Washington, DC: WIIS, February 2018).
Wilén, Nina, “Female Peacekeepers’ Added Burden,” International Affairs, Vol. 96 No. 6, (November 2020), pp. 1585 – 1602.
3. Useful listservs and websites
Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF), https://www.dcaf.ch,
Igarape Institute, https://igarape.org.br/temas/consolidacao-da-paz/
London School of Economics Centre for Women, Peace and Security, https://www.lse.ac.uk/womenpeace-security/research/Rethinking-Policy-Advocacy-Implementation
NATO, Allied Command Transformation – Gender Advisor. The website contains on-line education and training modules and toolkits, https://www.act.nato.int/gender-advisor
Pass Blue Women, press agency, https://www.passblue.com/category/women/
Red de Seguridad y Defensa de America Latina, https://www.resdal.org/
UN Women, https://www.unwomen.org/es
WILPF’s Women, Peace and Security, https://www.peacewomen.org/
Women In International Security, https://www.wiisglobal.org/wiis-wps-scorecard-security-forces-inlatin-america/
The WomenStats Project at www.womanstats.org
Women’s UN Report Network, listserve (also in Spanish, Portuguese, French), https://wunrn.com/
WPS National Action Plans, https://www.wpsnaps.org/
About the Authors
Dr. Chantal de Jonge Oudraat is President of Women In International Security (WIIS) since February 2013. She has held senior positions at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
North America; the US Institute of Peace; Center for Transatlantic Relations, Paul H. Nitze School of
Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC; and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) in Geneva. Dr. de Jonge Oudraat has published extensively on a wide array of international security issues. She is co-editor with Dr. Michael E. Brown of The Gender and Security Agenda: Strategies for the 21st Century (London: Routledge, July 2020). De Jonge Oudraat received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Paris II (Panthéon).
Dr. Ellen Haring is a Senior Fellow at Women In International Security where she directs the Combat Integration Initiative. She is the former CEO of the Service Women’s Action Network. Haring’s research and work focuses on women and gender in the military. She is a West Point graduate and a retired US Army colonel. She holds a PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University, and she has taught at the US Army Command and General Staff College, the US Army War College and Georgetown University. Haring has published numerous articles and papers on a wide array of military and security-related topics. She guest lectures, has testified before Congress as a subject matter expert, and has been a guest speaker on foreign and domestic news shows.
Dr. Diorella Islas Limiñana is a Fellow at Women In International Security and an independent security consultant on intelligence, transnational criminal organizations and national security policies. She is Adjunct Faculty member in the Countering Transnational Organized Crime (CTOC) program at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. She has worked as a consultant for the Royal United Service Institute in London, and as a security analyst at the Center for Information and National Security in Mexico City. She holds a PhD in Politics, Languages and International Studies from the University of Bath and a MA and a BA from Tec de
Monterrey, Mexico City Campus. She has taught at the Bader International Study Center of Queens University and delivered guest lectures at different universities and organizations around the world.
Ana Velasco is a Fellow at Women In International Security and a Researcher at Observatorio Nacional Ciudadano, a leading Mexican NGO focused on issues of security and justice. Previously, she worked as an international news reporter in Mexico, and she has held a diplomatic position for the Mexican Secretariat of Economy in Germany. Velasco is the winner of the “1325 and Beyond” international essay competition organized by WIIS and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung. She recently finished a MA in Gender, Violence and Conflict at the University of Sussex with Distinction, and she is about to start her PhD in International Relations at the same institution.
Aguirre, Johanna (Panama)
Almeida, Katherine (Dominican Republic)
Aquino, Massiel (Dominican Republic)
Arboleda, Naomi (Dominican Republic)
Argueta, Ann Marie (Guatemala)
Arias, Jeannette (Costa Rica)
Baez Racalde, Maria Gloria (Paraguay)
Baires, Emily (Guatemala)
Balcazar, Mauel (Mexico)
Barriga Abarca, Lourdes Aurelia (Peru)
Barrios, Silvana (Argentina)
Beltran Del Portillo, Maria Fernanda (Colombia)
Broce, Rosa (Panama)
Canto, Maria Belen (Argentina)
Capellan, Belgica (Dominican Republic)
Cardenas Hidalgo, Maria Andrea (Ecuador)
Cerdas, Loreley (Costa Rica)
Chaves, Andrea (Argentina)
Colon, Victor (USA)
Cordon, Mireya (Colombia)
Dantas, Stela (Brazil)
Davila Calderon, Martha Jenneth (Colombia)
De Anda Martinez, Erika (USA)
Depaz, Leidy (Peru)
Donadio, Marela (Argentina)
Drumond, Paula (Brazil)
Espaillat, José Rafael (Dominican Republic)
Ferreira Costa, Ivana Mara (Brazil)
Ferreto, Yorleny (Costa Rica)
Fischer, Andrea (Chile)
Flores, Nancy (Guatemala)
Fundora, Cristobal (Panama)
Galan Paniagua, Sonia Maria (Guatemala)
Giannini, Renata (Brazil)
Gil Rosado, Maria Teresa (Dominican Republic)
Gonzalez, Pedro (Chile)
Henandez, Francia (Dominican Republic)
Hernandez, Brianna (USA)
Hormazábal, Javiera (Chile)
Ignacio, Mercedes (Dominican Republic)
Islas, Diorella (México)
Jarpa, Carolina (Chile)
Jeremias da Silva, Jessika Kelly (Brazil) Jiménez Morales, Karen (Costa Rica)
Jorge, Ramon (Dominican Republic) Justynski,
Lancaster-Ellis, Karen (USA)
Layman, Matthew (USA)
Lopez Portillo, Ernesto (Mexico)
Made, Dominga (Dominican Republic) Manes,
Amb. Jean (USA)
Marcial, Cynthia (Argentina)
Marulanda Castano, Diana Marcela (Brazil)
McCann, Elizabeth (USA)
Méndez, Elvira (Panama)
Mendoza Cortes, Paloma (Mexico)
Miranda Vargas, Inaraquel (USA)
Montenegro, Nadia (Panama)
Ortiz, Nereyda (USA)
Otto, Fomina (Chile)
Pacheco, Gloria (Costa Rica)
Pagtakhan, Elisabet (USA)
Paredes Escobar, Byron Gabriel (Ecuador)
Parra, Veronica (Chile)
Pena, Elisama (Dominican Republic)
Perera, Fabiana (USA)
Placencia Almonte, Albania (Dominican Republic)
Porras, Silvia (Costa Rica)
Ramirez Herrera, Carolina (Dominican Republic)
Rebelo, Tamya (Brazil)
Rey Pinto, Eva María (Colombia)
Reynoso Barrera, Jonas (Dominican Republic)
Rivas, Reina Margarita (Colombia)
Rodriguez-Acosta, Cristina (USA)
Rogers, Rhea (Belize)
Rojas, Valeska (Chile)
Rojas Ballestero, Fiorella Andrea (Costa Rica)
Sahid Garnica, German (Colombia)
Salguero, Miguel (Argentina)
Sanabria, Diana (Ecuador)
Sancho, Carolina (Chile)
Sanjines, Karen (Jamaica)
Santolalla, Guillermo (USA)
Santos, Maria Dolores (Ecuador)
Seron, Christian (Chile)
Silva Freire, Maria Eduarda Laryssa (Brazil)
Sprinkle, Abby (USA)
Suarez, Hilda (Argentina)
Summers, Becky (USA)
Talamoni, Ana Florencia (Argentina)
Turner, Duilia (USA)
Typrowicz, Jennifer (USA)
Russ, Sarah (USA)
Velasco-Ugalde, Ana (Mexico)
Villalba, Laura (USA)
Volia, Zoila (Costa Rica) Weiss, Cornelia (USA)
Williams, Dianna (USA)
* Project participants includes those who participated in at least one of our workshops and/or our country research teams.
 In this project we are examining military forces and national police forces (police that operate at the national level not at the local or municipal level).
 The methodology was developed by Women In International Security (WIIS) in the context of a NATO sponsored project that sought to assess how well NATO member and partner states had integrated the principles of gender equality and the WPS agenda in their military institutions and operations. See Chantal de Jonge Oudraat et al., Gender Mainstreaming: Indicators for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 and its Related Resolutions- the 1325 Scorecard: Preliminary Findings (Brussels: NATO, 2015).
 See Executive Order, Instituting a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (Washington, DC: The White House, December 19, 2011). This Plan was subsequently updated in June 2016.
 See Women, Peace and Security Act of 2017, Public Law 115-68-October 6, 2017 (Washington, DC: GPO, 2017).
 See US Strategy on Women, Peace and Security (Washington, DC: White House, 2019).
 See US DOD, Women, Peace, and Security: Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan (Washington, DC: US DoD, June 2020), p.7.
 See Chantal de Jonge Oudraat et al., Gender Mainstreaming: Indicators for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 and its Related Resolutions – The 1325 Scorecard: Preliminary Findings (Brussels: NATO, 2015). For a description of the NATO project and our country scorecard reports, see: https://www.wiisglobal.org/programs/unscr-1325-nato/.
 The term “police” in this tool does not include local or municipal police. The police agencies that are included are those police agencies that also send police officers to UN peacekeeping operations.
 For more see wiisglobal.org.
 This is a statement that has also been recognized and subscribed to by the US Department of Defense. See US DOD, Women, Peace and Security (2020), p.10.
 In the Southern Hemisphere the legal framework for human rights even predates the UDHR. The American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, (adopted in May 1948 in Bogota, Columbia) was the first human rights instrument that recognized equal rights for all people. It was followed in 1969 by the American Convention on Human Rights. The 1969 American Convention on Human Rights requires states to adopt domestic legislation to give effect to these rights.
 They were particularly important in integrating Human Rights in the UN Charter and the UDHR.
 For more see Marcela Donadio et al., Women in The Armed and Police Forces: Resolution 1325 and Peace Operations in Latin America (Buenos Aires: RESDAL, 2010). More generally see also Ellen Haring, “Gender and Military Organizations” in Chantal de Jonge Oudraat and Michael E. Brown, eds., The Gender and Security Agenda: Strategies for the 21st Century (London: Routledge, 2020), pp. 90 – 112.
 In October 2015, the UN Security Council, in Resolution 2242, called for the doubling of the number of female peacekeepers (military and police) within five years. In August 2020, the UN Security Council also adopted Resolution 2538 which recognized “the indispensable role of women in increasing the overall performance and effectiveness of peacekeeping operations.” It also stressed the need to increase the participation of uniformed women in peacekeeping operations.
 In 2013, CEDAW adopted General Recommendation 30 on women in conflict prevention, conflict, and post-conflict situations. This strengthened the links between the WPS agenda and CEDAW.
 NATO/EAPC Women, Peace and Security Policy and Action Plan, 2018. NATO committed to the three “I”s: Integration: making sure that gender equality is considered as an integral part of NATO policies, programs, and projects guided by effective gender mainstreaming practices; Inclusiveness: promoting an increased representation of women across NATO and in national forces to enhance operational effectiveness and success; and Integrity: enhancing accountability with the intent to increase awareness and implementation of the WPS agenda in accordance with international frameworks.”
 See Mary K. Meyer Mcaleese, “WPS and the Organization of American States,” in Sara E. Davies and Jacqui True, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace and Security (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), pp. 413 – 427.
 See, for example, Paula Drumond and Tamya Rebelo, “Global Pathways or Local Spins? National Action Plans in South America,” International Feminist Journal of Politics, Vol. 22, No. 4 (2020), pp. 462 – 484; See also Donadio, Women in the Armed and Police Forces (2010). In 2019 Brazilian Navy Lieutenant Commander Marcia Braga received the UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year award for her work in the UN operation in the Central African Republic.
 See Drumond and Rebelo, Global Pathways or Local Spins?
 See for example, Fabiana Sofia Perera and Lieutenant Colonel Duilia Mora Turner, eds., Twenty Years, Twenty Stories: Women, Peace and Security in the Western Hemisphere (Washington, DC: William J. Perry Center for Hemsipheric Defense Studies, 2020). See also Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations, Whose Security? Practical Examples of Gender Perspectives in Military Operations (Stockholm: Nordic Centre for Military Operations, 2015).
 See Renata Avelar Giannini et al., A agenda sobre mulheres, paz e segurança no contexto latino-americano: desafios e oportunidades, Hemisphere (Rio de Janeiro, Brasil: Instituto Igarapé, March 2018). 12 See, for example, studies by the McKinsey Institute and the World Economic Forum.
 For many practical examples see Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations, Whose Security? Practical Examples of Gender Perspectives in Military Operations (Stockholm: Nordic Centre for Military Operations, 2015).
 The UN’s 2028 target for women in military contingents is 15% and 25% for military observers and staff officers. The 2028 target for women serving in formed police units is 20% and 30% for individual police officers. In 2020, women constitute 4.8% of military contingents and 10.9 % of formed police units in UN peacekeeping missions. See Peackeeping.un.org.
 Cited in Chantal de Jonge Oudraat et al., Gender Mainstreaming: Indicators for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 and its Related Resolutions – The 1325 Scorecard: Preliminary Findings (Brussels: NATO, 2015), p. 7.
 This definition is based on the UN ECOSOC definition of 1997. See also Helene Lackenbauer and Richard Langlais, eds., Review of the Practical Implications of UNSCR 1325 for the Conduct of NATO-led Operations and Missions (Stockholm: Swedish Defense Research Agency (FOA), 2013), p. 55.
 See UN Women website unwomen.org “Gender Mainstreaming.”
 For example, in the United States and Brazil, the WPS agenda and gender equality efforts were not supported by the Donald J. Trump and Jair Bolsonaro administrations. Yet in both cases, the WPS agenda had gained some champions within the foreign affairs and defense establishments. These establishments had also put in place certain processes to integrate gender perspectives. Together, the champions and the institutional processes were able to safeguard some of the efforts that had been started before the advent of the new administrations. In addition, in the United States the US Congress had adopted the WPS Act in 2017, which had broad bi-partisan support. It was a big factor in safeguarding some of the WPS capacities that had been developed earlier. The Act also allowed the expansion of WPS activities in the military with regard to training and the appointment of GENADs in the Combatant Commands. The US Congress even set aside some money for the latter.
 See de Jonge Oudraat et al, Gender Mainstreaming (2015), p. 10-11.
 See scorecard template in Annex 2 and the scoring protocol in Annex 3.
 See country scorecards and narrative reports at the WIIS website (provide link here).
 See ECLAC, Regional Report on the Review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in Latin America and Caribbean countries, 25 years on, LC/CRM.14.4 (Santiago: United Nations, 2019).
 See IDEA, Gender Quotas Database (Stockholm: IDEA @idea.int).
 See ECLAC, Regional Report on the Review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in Latin America and Caribbean countries, 25 years on, LC/CRM.14.4 (Santiago: United Nations, 2019), p. 17.
 See Ellen Haring, “Gender and Military Organizations” in Chantal de Jonge Oudraat and Michael E. Brown, The Gender and Security Agenda: Strategies for the 21st Century (London: Routledge, 2020), p. 90.
 Nicole Jenne and Fiorella Ulloa Bisshopp, “Female Peacekeepers: UNSC Resolution 1325 and the Persistence of Gender Stereotypes in the Chilean Armed Forces,” International Peacekeeping, (October 14, 2020), p. 21.
 For strategies to increase women’s participation in national military organizations, see Haring, “Gender and Military Organizations.”
 See Georgetown Institute for Women Peace and Security and the Peace Research Institute Oslo, The WPS Index 2020 (Washington, DC: GIWPS, 2020); Oxfam and Development Finance International, Fighting Inequality in the Time of Covid-19:
The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index 2020 (Oxford: Oxfam, 2020).
 Costa Rica is unique in the region as one of only a few countries with no military. It was assessed based on the security provided by the national police.
 See Paula Drumond and Tamya Rebelo, “Global Pathways or Local Spins? National Action Plans in South America,” International Feminist Journal of Politics, Vol. 22, No. 4 (2020), pp. 462 – 484.
 For more general analysis of NAPs globally see Caitlin Hamilton, Nyibeny Naam and Laura J. Shepherd, Twenty Years of Women, Peace and Security National Action Plans: Analysis and Lessons Learned (Sydney: Sydney University, March 2020). 32 Drumond and Rebelo, “Global Pathways or Local Spins?” p. 1. See also Paula Drumond and Tamya Rebelo, 1325 and Beyond:
Moving Forward the WPS Agenda in Latin America, WIIS Policy Brief (July 2020); and
Ana Laura Velasco Ugalde, UNSCR1325 and the WPS Agenda: A Feminist Response to Authoritarianism, WIIS Policy Brief (June 2020), p. 1. Velasco notes the Covid-19 crisis and the call for staying at home has exposed the violence at home.
 Cited in Drumond and Rebelo, Global Pathways or Local Spins? p. 12. See also Paula Drumond and Tamya Rebelo, 1325 and Beyond: Moving Forward the WPS Agenda in Latin America, WIIS Policy Brief (July 2020).
 For more on Brazil’s NAP see Renata Avelar Giannini and Perola Abrue Pereira, Building Brazil’s National Action Plan: Lessons
Learned and Opportunities (London: LSE, March 3, 2020 – blog); Paula Drumond and Tamya Rebelo, Implementing the “Women,
Peace and Security” Agenda in Brazil: An Assessment of the National Action Plan, Strategic Paper 31 (Rio de Janeiro: Igarape Institute, August 2019). See also https://igarape.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2019-07-31_AE-31_Women-Peace-andSecurity-National-Action-Plan.pdf.
 Argentine NAP: p. 10. Government of Argentina, National Action Plan of the Argentine Republic for the Implementation of Resolution Nº1325/2000 of the Security Council of the United Nations. (Argentina, 2015) at: https://www.peacewomen.org/ sites/default/files/Argentina%20NAP%202015%20(English).pdf and see the Spanish version at: http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/ infolegInternet/anexos/250000-254999/252151/Dto1895.pdf. 37 Today Argentina leads the region in WPS implementation.
 See UN Secretary General, Departmental Focal Points for Women in the Secretariat, ST/SGB?2008/12 (New York: United Nations, August 1, 2008). See also UN Women, Gender Focal Points and Focal Points for Women @ unwomen.org; and United Nations, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Policy: Gender Responsive United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (New York: United Nations, February 1, 2018).
 RESDAL obtained much of its data through freedom of information mechanisms. See Marcela Donadio et al., Women in the
Armed Forces and Police in Latin America: Agender Approach to Peace Operations (Buenos Aires: RESDAL, 2010). See Renata Avilar Giannini, Maiara Folly and Mariana Fonseca Lima, Situacoes extraordinarias a entrada de mulheres na linha de frente das Forcas Armadas brasileiras (Rio de Janieri: Igarapé Institute: 2017). We do not know to what extent the US government is collecting data on the number of women in military forces around the world and how it applies that data to its International Military Training and Education (IMET) programs.
 The US DoD tracks the incidence rate of sexual harassment and assault in the ranks and publishes annual reports on their Sexual and Prevention Website. This is a Congressionally mandated annual requirement. https://www.sapr.mil/. See also Government of Canada, 2019 Sexual Misconduct Incident Tracking Report https://www.canada.ca/en/department-nationaldefence/corporate/reports-publications/sexual-misconduct-tracking-report.html. In Australia, the Chief of the Army came out strongly against sexual harassment and abuse. See Australia’s Chief of the Army addresses to soldiers on sexual assault in the ranks. https://vimeo.com/71028162.
 Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. See Adriana Erthal Abdenur, Enhancing Peacekeeping Training Through Cooperation: Lessons from Latin America, Policy Brief (Rio de Janeiro: Igarape Institute, June 2018).
 See Humanas Colombia, 20 Años Exigiendo que el Gobierno Colombiano se conecte con la Paz y la Seguridad de las Mujeres, Pronunciamiento (Bogotá, Colombia: Humanas, July 2020) at https://www.humanas.org.co/alfa/dat_particular/arch_contenidos/ i_e_73153_q_PRONUNCIAMIENTO_R1325.pdf; Also from Humanas Colombia, see Observatorio Mujeres, Paz y Seguridad (a group actively lobbying for a WPS NAP), Cumplimiento del Estado Colombiano con la Resolución 1325 de 2000: Informe de monitoreo del año 2017 y primer semestre de 2018, (Bogotá, Colombia: Humanas, December 2018) at https://www.humanas.org. co/alfa/dat_particular/ar/ar_9042_q_R1325informe.pdf.
By Felicia Dede Addy and Shikshya Adhikari
Ghana is one of the biggest producers of gold in Africa and the world.1 Gold contributes significantly to Ghana’s economy, and small-scale mining—an important means of income for many low-income Ghanaian households—produces about 30 percent of Ghana’s total gold output.2 Under Ghanaian law, small-scale gold mining is reserved for Ghanaians, but the boom in gold prices in the 2000s and Ghana’s unprotected gold wealth drew thousands of Chinese miners to Ghana who started mining for gold illegally.3 Known locally as galamsey, illegal gold mining by Chinese migrants in Ghana has had devastating effects on the economy, the environment, communities, and women’s security.
The Ghanaian government has adopted several measures to curb the proliferation of illegal mining, but these measures have been ineffective because of government incompetence, severe corruption, a weak judiciary system, rampant violence in communities, and the complicity of locals.
Civil society can play an important role in dealing with the adverse effects of galamsey. Civil society organizations (CSOs) are particularly important in raising awareness in communities, helping curb violence, protecting women and pressuring the government to be accountable and transparent. This policy brief looks at small-scale mining in Ghana and the growing problems associated with illegal Chinese miners. It lays out the obstacles that government and local communities face in curbing galamsey and relates how CSOs are pushing for solutions. We conclude by providing recommendations for more active civil society engagement, both nationally and transnationally.
Small-Scale Mining in Ghana
Indigenous small-scale mining dates back to the 15th century in Ghana. It is an important means of livelihood for many rural people, who use the income from mining to supplement meagre farming income. Ghanaian small-scale mining may be second only to agriculture in its ability to create jobs and boost the economy.4 About one million people work directly in the sector, and approximately four million work in services dependent on small-scale mining.5
With so many Ghanaians practicing small-scale mining, the government felt the need to regulate mining practices to streamline the sector’s contribution to the economy, regulate the use of resources by small-scale miners, and provide official marketing channels for gold that the sector produced.6 In 1989, the government passed the Small-Scale Gold Mining Act, which introduced a licensing process. However, the process is highly bureaucratic, expensive, time-consuming, and riddled with corruption. Only those with money and political connections can secure licenses. Thus the process discourages many Ghanaians without money and influence from applying for and obtaining legal licenses. Since villages depended greatly on the mining sector, unlicensed smallscale mining continued.7
The scale of illegal mining expanded greatly in the 2000s, when Ghana’s gold reserves and the surge in gold prices attracted many foreign miners from neighboring Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and countries such as Russia, Armenia, and China. Ghana saw an especially large influx of experienced Chinese miners.
Two main reasons explain the influx of Chinese miners.8 First, China’s economic liberalization led many Chinese migrant workers to come to Africa for work in a range of industries. With its ample unprotected gold reserves, Ghana proved attractive to Chinese gold diggers. Second, the majority of the Chinese miners in Ghana come from the Guangxi autonomous region in China, a region with a long history of gold mining and expertise in advanced mining techniques. About 50,000 Chinese miners have flocked to Ghana over the past decade and have been illegally mining gold.9
Effects of Chinese Illegal Mining
Unregulated and illegal mining by Chinese migrants has severely challenged the Ghanaian government, local communities and rural populations. It has compromised the local economy and security, particularly the well-being and security of women. In response, the government passed the 2006 Minerals and Mining Act, which “reserved” small-scale mining for Ghanaian citizens, and instituted the Alternative Livelihood and Community Mining Program, which sought to diversify sources of livelihood in mining areas. But because of widespread government corruption among national and local officials, their implementation was unsuccessful.10 Therefore, Chinese miners’ galamsey continues.
Economic and Environmental Impacts
Chinese investors bought up plots of lands from local farmers and landowners and replaced farmlands with gold mines. Farmhands lost their jobs, and overall food production declined. In addition, the influx of Chinese miners increased housing prices, which in turn led to an increase of homeless people.11 Lastly, Chinese miners introduced technologies such as dredging and advanced excavators, replacing lowtech, traditional mining techniques, increasing productivity and making it difficult for Ghanaian small-scale miners to compete with them.
The use of advanced technology has also polluted remaining farms lands and rivers nearby with dust, cyanide and mercury.12 Major rivers such as the Pra, Ankobra and Birim— essential for supplying water in Western and Eastern Ghana— have been polluted by mining runoff.13 This pollution has depressed farm productivity and the livelihoods of people who depend on farming. In addition, the consistent use of mercury in gold extraction has also harmed people’s health, which in turn has made them unable to work and earn a living.14
An increase in robberies, violence, and other criminal activity accompanied the influx of Chinese miners. Attacks on Chinese migrants increased as local resentment grew. In response, the Chinese miners acquired weapons to protect themselves.15 Some became involved in the illegal buying and selling of arms.16 In many mining communities, the use and trafficking of narcotics also increased.17
Some observers worried that the loss of local livelihoods and the increase in security problems were bound to multiply locals’ grievances, thereby making communities vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremist groups. Violent protests have on occasion broken out over grievances in local mining communities in Ghana.18
Impact on Women
The majority of women in Ghana’s small-scale mining communities work on cocoa farms under abysmal conditions. Many supplement their meagre farming incomes by working in illegal mines. Often, women force their children to work in the mines to help supplement the family income.19 Women’s weak economic standing has made them quite dependent on galamsey, and government crackdowns on Chinese illegal mining have hit them hard.20 Although the government has acknowledged women’s economic vulnerability, its efforts thus far have not been directed toward reducing women’s dependency on illegal mining.21
The arrival of Chinese miners has also led to increased prostitution and sexual exploitation and abuse. Some women provide sexual favors to miners in exchange for money. In so doing, they expose themselves to arrest, as prostitution is illegal in Ghana. As a result, they become vulnerable to extortion and corruption. Equally worrisome is the sexual abuse of women employed by Chinese miners.22 These women, as well as their children, are discriminated against and ostracized by local communities.23
Prior to 2013, the Ghanaian government paid little attention to the proliferation of Chinese migrants in the small-scale mining sector. Although the government did pass the Minerals and Mining Actin 2006, the law was undermined by corrupt officials taking bribes from Chinese miners to allow them to continue mining.
When news media began reporting on galamsey issues in
2013, the government felt pressure to respond. President John Mahama established a task force made up of military personnel and other state security forces.24 The task force was instrumental in deporting over 4,500 Chinese miners and the seizure of mining equipment, but it also attempted to curtail illegal mining by Ghanaians.25 During presidential and parliamentary electoral campaigns in 2016, however, the Mahama government held back on enforcement against Ghanaians due to pressures from some communities that threatened to vote against it for attempting to stop them from working in galamsey mines.26
After Mahama’s electoral defeat, the new government under President Nana Akufo-Addo nonetheless sought to reinforce the ban on illegal mining. In 2017, an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining was set up to deal with the problem.27 The new government also launched Operation Vanguard, which deployed 400 military and police officials in centers of illegal mining.28 An Alternative Livelihood and Community Mining Program is also in place to train those previously involved in small-scale mining for work in other sectors. All have failed to curb illegal mining.
Obstacles to Curbing Galamsey
The lack of government success in curbing galamsey is due to a variety of reasons, key among them are the corruption of government officials and heavy-handed crackdowns by the security forces. Other reasons include a weak judicial infrastructure and complicit local populations that directly benefit from illegal mining.
Corruption. Some task force officials and local police take bribes to “look the other way” and thus reap the benefits of illegal mining.29 Chinese miners boast about their “good working relationships” with local police. Indeed, Chinese miners who are caught and detained are usually let go after they pay fines and are thus free to resume their illegal activities. The lack of law enforcement transparency around who is arrested and released makes it difficult for civil society actors to protest or counter illegal mining. On occasion, prosecutions of Chinese miners have been halted without reasonable justification and their seized equipment returned to them.30
Weak enforcement of anti-galamsey laws and complicit officials make combating corruption particularly difficult. In January 2020, the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, which has oversight over the galamsey issue, revealed that about 500 excavators seized from illegal miners had gone missing, calling into question the vigilance of local authorities in policing the galamsey problem.31 Miners have relocated to more remote areas where authorities are less likely to discover them. This move “underground” to wait it out shows that the security forces’ vigilance waxes and wanes, making efforts to combat illegal mining inconsistent and, therefore, ineffective.32
Violence. Crackdowns by security forces have led to violence without effectively containing illegal mining. Both the Ghanaian and the Chinese communities have suffered the repercussions of this violence. Children and minors have been targets of violent raids. A 16-year-old Chinese boy was shot while fleeing a crackdown by Ghanaian forces.33 Families in China worry about family members who have been targeted in crackdown operations, as they receive no communication from Ghanaian authorities when their children or siblings are jailed or killed.34
Some aggrievedlocal authorities have incited young Ghanaians from the mining communities to engage in violence. In April 2020, a group of youth in eastern Ghana, with the support of a local assembly, set ablaze mining equipment belonging to Chinese miners and put the lives of many community members at risk.35
The ineffectiveness of government efforts has angered many local residents. In October 2016, some residents in Western Ghana violently demonstrated against Chinese miners, vandalizing government buildings and other infrastructure.36
Because miners carry cutlasses, shovels, and other mining equipment as weapons, they have been ready to attack at the slightest misunderstandings with communities or law enforcement officials, increasing the violence of attacks. Illegal miners have also armed themselves to protest closures of some illegal pits, causing panic and insecurity.37
Weak Judiciary. Those arrested on galamsey charges typically face minimal consequences. Beyond the problem of bribery, the legal and judicial process is slow. Thus many who are arrested post bail and quickly return to the field.38
Local Complicity. Galamsey provides ready income for many local people, much more than what farming offers or even compared with the government’s initiative on alternative livelihoods.39 Thus some individuals would rather sell land for galamsey, work in galamsey fields, or protect perpetrators by failing to report their activities. In some cases, community members clash directly with security forces seeking to prevent galamsey.40 Chiefs and family heads and custodians of communal and family lands in Ghana have seen large plots of land go to the highest bidder: foreign miners with no interest in sustainable mining to preserve the environment for future generations.41
In sum, illegal mining has not ceased despite some government efforts. Miners have become more likely to conceal their activities, however, making it more difficult for authorities to curb their activities or find other solutions.42 Ghanaian communities, meanwhile, have become more dependent on illegal mining, exposing them to violence and destitution.
The Role of Civil Society
CSOs can play an important role in curbing the proliferation of illegal Chinese mining activities in Ghana and alleviating its negative impacts on communities. CSOs have the standing to reach both the government and the people and can strategically position themselves as mediators.
Local civil society groups have been instrumental in pressuring the Ghanaian government to take action on illegal mining.43 Ghanaian CSOs have publicized the impact of galamsey on the environment and community security. They have worked to rehabilitate mined-out or degraded lands, and they have provided legal aid to those affected in galamsey communities while holding the government to its promises to curb galamsey.44
One such CSO, the Media Coalition against Galamsey, has been pressuring the Akufo-Addo government to take action. To promote reforestation and rejuvenation of galamsey sites, the nongovernmental organization Partners of Nature Africa initiated a project to plant rubber-tree seedlings on degraded land at a mining site at Peminanse in the Asiwa District of the Ashanti region.45 CSO Tropenbos Ghana has been helping local communities rehabilitate mined-out lands and teaching them to integrate good farming and settlement practices around the mining sites.46 The Centre for Public Interest Law provides courtroom representation and other legal services to those affected by mining operations and to those contending that the government or illegal mining operators encroached on their rights.47
Despite the meaningful work CSOs have been doing to curb and mitigate the effects of illegal small-scale mining, there is more to do: involve the affected communities in awareness raising, dialogue with the government and international community, create attractive alternative employment opportunities, and provide safe places for those who are physically or mentally abused. Moreover, the international community and the Ghanaian and Chinese governments should vigorously support the activities of CSOs.
Raising Awareness.One of the most important roles civil society can and should continue to play is to raise awareness regarding issues related to illegal mining. CSOs can raise awareness about environmental and security issues that may discourage local people from engaging in illegal mining. They can convene hearings and meetings for local people and government, including law enforcement officials, where all parties can raise issues and work toward resolving them. NGOs can appoint community mobilizers to talk to people, record their complaints, and present the results to government officials.
Dialogue with the Government and Local Officials. It is imperative that CSOs in Ghana engage the government in sustained dialogue on mitigating illegal mining. It is only through proper communication that people in affected communities will be able to understand the government’s perspective. While it may be difficult to prevent officials from taking bribes or becoming involved in corrupt activities, CSOs can highlight the corruption that does come to light and encourage transparency and accountability.
CSOs should increase efforts to engage local governments. Local officials are directly involved in the communities and sometimes facilitate illegal activities for profit. Engaging local government officials—and appealing for central government and law enforcement intervention where necessary—will increase accountability and transparency.
Programs to Develop Alternative Employment Opportunities. Civil societies can work with the local and central government officials to develop other opportunities for those who have lost their livelihoods due to illegal mining. Local and international NGOs working in Ghana should continue to offer skill-building training programs. It should prioritize women and men from marginalized backgrounds, female and single-headed households, people with disabilities, and others who may have a harder time coping with the loss of livelihood. These programs could help discourage criminal or extremist activity.
CSOs that advance alternative employment opportunities in Ghana’s mining regions may also be able to prevent or reduce violence. Targeting female-headed households for alternate employment programs will help reduce the burden on women who are forced to work long hours in mining while also caring for children. Accountability and transparency mechanisms and other initiatives should supplement these efforts, and CSOs are in a key position to establish them.
Safe Houses. CSOs, including religious groups, should establish safe houses for survivors of assault, rape, or other gender-based violence. These organizations must also connect survivors of violence to appropriate services such as hospitals, counseling, police, and lawyers.
Transnational Advocacy.CSOs have immense potential to build transnational and regional advocacy networks. CSOs in Ghana should ally with CSOs elsewhere to jointly pressure their respective governments to resolve problems stemming from illegal mining. Civil societies can also press countries to take the matter to the United Nations, which can encourage the international community to devise solutions.48 For example, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation have supported CSO efforts to rehabilitate mined-out lands, providing resources for rehabilitation projects in galamsey areas.49
This policy brief proposes peaceful means for curbing Chinese galamsey in Ghana through greater reliance on CSOs. Forceful curbing of galamsey will only lead to more violence and abrupt loss of livelihoods. Grievances will increase, aggravating the challenges communities already face.
The government’s ban on illegal mining and violent crackdowns are compounding the problem while failing to tackle it systematically. The problem of Chinese illegal mining in Ghana is both serious and complicated. It secures livelihoods for some and destroys it for others. It creates dependencies, incites violence, reduces security, and severely depletes natural resources. By bringing together all stakeholders—the local mining communities, the Ghanaian government, and international actors—we believe mobilizing CSOs will help Ghanaian communities address the problem holistically.
- Fernando Aragon and Juan Pablo Rud, “Gold Mining and Living Standards in Ghanaian Households” (International Growth Center, January 2011–March 2012).
- Gordon Crawford et al., “The Impact of Chinese Involvement in
Small-Scale Gold Mining in Ghana,” E-33110-GHA-1 (International
Growth Center, May 2015); Gabriel Botchwey and Gordon Crawford, “Lifting the Lid on Ghana’s Illegal Small-Scale Mining Problem,” The Conversation (September 25, 2019).
- Botchwey and Crawford, “Lifting the Lid”; Jeremy Luedi, “Galamsey in Ghana and China’s Illegal Gold Rush” (Asia by Africa, January 16, 2019).
- “Ghana: Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Formalization,”Project Information Document, Report No: PIDISDSC25363 (Washington, DC: World Bank, January 23, 2019).
- Gavin Hilson, “Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining and Agriculture: Exploring Their Links in Rural sub-Saharan Africa,” Issue Paper (London: International Institute for Environment and Development, March 2016).
- Government of Ghana, “Minerals and Mining Policy of Ghana—Ensuring Mining Contributes to Sustainable Development” (November 2014), https://www.extractiveshub.org/servefile/getFile/id/798.
- Gavin Hilson and Abigail Hilson, “Entrepreneurship, Poverty and Sustainability: Critical Reflections on the Formalization of Small-Scale Mining in Ghana” (International Growth Center, April 10, 2015).
- Gabriel Botchwey et al., “South‐South Irregular Migration: The Impacts of China’s Informal Gold Rush in Ghana,” International Migration Vol. 57, No. 4 (2019), pp. 310–28; Botchwey and Crawford, “Lifting the Lid.”
- Luedi, “Galamsey in Ghana.”
- Minerals and Mining Act in Ghana (2006), https:// resourcegovernance.org/sites/default/files/Minerals%20and%20 Mining%20Act%20703%20Ghana.pdf; Gordon Crawford and Gabriel
Botchwey, “Conflict, Collusion and Corruption in Small-Scale Gold Mining: Chinese Miners and the State in Ghana,” Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, Vol. 55, No. 4 (2017), pp. 444–70.
- “House Rent for Only Chinese,” My Joy Online (June 25, 2013).
- Hilson and Hilson, “Entrepreneurship, Poverty and Sustainability.”
- Crawford and Botchwey, “Conflict, Collusion and Corruption”; Stanley Martey, “Mud Instead of Clean Water!!! How GWCL Is Struggling Due to Galamsey Canker,” Peace FM Online News (June 8, 2019).
- Juliane Kippenbery, “Mercury, Ghana’s Poisonous Problem,” Graphic Online (October 10, 2014); Aboka Yaw et al., “Review of Environment and Health Impacts of Mining in Ghana,” Journal of Health and Pollution Vol. 8, No.1 (2018), pp. 43–42.
- Jeremy Luedi, “Chinese Galamsey and the Illegal Allure of Ghana’s Gold Rush (Part 1),” The Daily Statesman (October 2, 2019).
- “Chinese National Arrested for Selling Guns,” Graphic Online (November 1, 2016).
- Edward Burrows and Lucia Bird, “Gold, Guns, and China: Ghana’s Fight to End Galamsey,” (Geneva: Global Initiative Against Transnational Crime, May 30, 2017).
- “Police Storm Community as Angry Youth Burn Mining Equipment in Eastern Region,” GhanaWeb (April 12, 2020). Many policymakers and academics have argued that young unemployed people are prime recruitment targets for insurgent and terrorist groups. See Guy Lamb et al., “Rumors of Peace, Whispers of War: Assessment of the Reintegration of Ex Combatants into Civilian Life in North Kivu, South Kivu, and Ituri, Democratic Republic of Congo,” Working Paper (Washington,
DC: World Bank, 2012); Jairo Munive and Finn Stepputat, “Rethinking Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Programs,” Stability: International Journal of Security and Development Vol. 4, No. 1 (2015). Studies have established significant connections between unemployment amongst youths and attraction to terrorism activities in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan region. See Aniruddha Bagchi and Jomon A. Paul, “Youth Unemployment and Terrorism in the MENAP (Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan) Region,” Socio-Economic Planning Sciences Vol. 64 (2018), pp. 9–20.
- Report of the UN Secretary-General on Social Analysis of Ghana’s Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Sector (2016).
- Tara Rava Zolnikov, “Effects of the Government’s Ban in Ghana on Women in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining,” Resources Policy Vol. 65, No. 101561 (March 2020).
- Sofia Christensen, “Ghana Just Scratching Surface of Illegal Gold
Mining,” VOA News (May 27, 2019); Stephanie Barrientos, “Women in
Cocoa Production: Where Is the Gender Equity?” The Guardian (March 8, 2013); Roy Maconachie and Elizabeth Fortin, “On Ghana’s Cocoa Farms, Fairtrade Is Not Yet Working for Women,” The Guardian (March 11, 2016).
- “Illegal Mining in Ghana Will Create Risk to Social Stability,” Mining Review Africa (May 28, 2018).
- Jonas Nyabor, “Ghana’s ‘Galamsey Kids’: Children Left Behind by Chinese Miners,” Citi Newsroom (April 16, 2018).
- Gordon Crawford et al., “The Impact of Chinese Involvement in Small-Scale Gold Mining in Ghana” (International Growth Center, Dec. 1, 2013).
- Afua Hirsch, “Ghana Deports Thousands in Crackdown on Illegal Chinese Goldminers,” The Guardian (July 15, 2013).
- “Galamseyers Will ‘Fight to Death’—Aning,” Ghana Web (October 20, 2016); Abdulai Abdul-Gafaru, “The Galamsey Menace in Ghana: A Political Problem Requiring Political Solutions?” Policy BriefNo. 5 (University of Ghana Business School, June 2017).
- “Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining to be Dissolved
Soon,” Modern Ghana (July 7, 2020). See also Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, “Government Outlines Measures to Lift Small-Scale Mining,” press release(Accra: GNA, August 2018).
- Dominic Moses Awiah, “Operation Vanguard Launched to Wipe Out Galamsey,” Graphic Online (August 1, 2017).
- Edwin Appiah, “Operation Vanguard Soldier Allegedly ‘Pockets up to GH¢45k Biweekly’ from Illegal Miners,” Ghana Report (February 1, 2020); Burrows and Bird, “Gold, Guns, and China.”
- “Lack of Prosecution Hindering Fight against ‘Galamsey’—Operation Vanguard,” GhanaWeb (February 4, 2020).
- “Two Groups Question Government over Seized Galamsey Excavators,” Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (January 29, 2020).
- Sefanam Agboli, “Excavators Are Not Mobile Phones, Find Them—Ashigbe Tells Minister,” Ghana Report (January 29, 2020).
- “Chinese Boy, 16, Killed during Crackdown on Illegal Gold Mining in Ghana,” ABC News(October 15, 2012); “Ghana Probes Death of Illegal Chinese Gold Miner,” BBC(October 15, 2012).
- Dan Levin, “Ghana’s Crackdown on Chinese Gold Miners Hits One Rural Area Hard,” New York Times (June 29, 2013).
- “Police Storm Community as Angry Youth Burn Mining Equipment in Eastern Region,” GhanaWeb (April 12, 2020).
- “Chinese Galamseyers Take Over Wassa Forests,” GhanaWeb (October 20, 2016).
- Ishaq Akmey Alhassan, “Galamsey and the Making of a Deep
State in Ghana: Implications for National Security and Development,” Research on Humanities and Sciences Vol. 4, No. 16 (2014), pp. 47–56.
- “Lack of Prosecution Hindering Fight,” GhanaWeb; “Operation Vanguard Ordered to Withdraw from All Illegal Mining Areas,” GhanaWeb (February 27, 2020).
- Nathan Andrews, “Digging for Survival and/or Justice? The Drivers of Illegal Mining Activities in Western Ghana,” Africa Today 62, No. 2 (2015), pp. 3–24.
- “Galamseyers will ‘fight to death’ ” GhanaWeb.
- Alhassan, “Galamsey and the Making of a Deep State.”
- James Boafo, Sebastian Angzoorokuu Paalo and Senyo Dotsey,
“Illicit Chinese Small-Scale Mining in Ghana: Beyond Institutional Weakness?” Sustainability 11, No. 21 (2019).
- Keith Slack, “In Ghana, Civil Society Is Driving Mining and Oil Reforms,” Politics of Poverty blog (Boston and Washington, DC: Oxfam, September 2017).
- “Implement New Mining Policy Effectively—Media Coalition against Galamsey Tells Government,” My Joy Online (December 14, 2012); “Rehabilitation of Mined-Out Areas and Mercuric Mine Tailing in Gbane in the Talensi District,” (Accra: UNDP), https:// sgp.undp.org/spacial-itemid-projects-landing-page/spacialitemid-project-search-results/spacial-itemid-project-detailpage. html?view=projectdetail&id=27746; “Two Groups Question Government,” Ghana Broadcasting Corporation; Boafo, Paalo and Dotsey, “Illicit Chinese Small-Scale Mining in Ghana.”
By Clodagh Quain and Isabelle Roccia
Fifth-generation telecommunications (5G) technology promises to dramatically increase the interconnectedness and efficiency of commercial and civilian communication infrastructures. 5G will also enable other advances. On the civilian side, it will improve existing applications and give rise to others, from telemedicine to connected cars. It also presents an opportunity to enhance NATO’s capabilities, improving logistics, maintenance, and communications. For instance, 5G will speed communication and improve response time in a theater of operation.
These developments also pose challenges. 5G is part of a complex architecture. To leverage its full benefits, millions of sensors and devices will need to be deployed and connected, from smart home appliances and connected toys to fullscale factories and critical infrastructures. The number of connected devices is projected to total 41.6 billion worldwide by 2025.1 By 2030, this estimate ratchets up to 125 billion.2 Of these, mobile devices will grow from 8.8 billion in 2018 to 13.1 billion devices by 2023 – 1.4 billion of which will be 5G capable.3 Because devices are connected to one another or to a network, security risks will multiply. The Alliance faces an increased challenge in ensuring that NATO Allies’ 5G networks and the critical infrastructures that rely on them
can withstand multiple physical and cybersecurity threats.
NATO’s main concern in this context is the risk associated with foreign ownership or management of critical infrastructure, including by private operators and foreign state actors in supply chains. That such ownership could result in collusion between the supplier and a country’s intelligence or security services is deemed particularly worrisome by many governments, critical infrastructure operators and industry alike.4 For NATO allies, supply-chain risk management is therefore a critical aspect of the strategic and operational challenges posed by 5G.
At the NATO meeting in London in December 2019, Allies prioritized 5G security as part of its security and resilience agenda. The final declaration stated, “NATO and Allies, within their respective authority, are committed to ensuring the security of our communications, including 5G, recognizing the need to rely on secure and resilient systems.”5 Including 5G in the London Declaration formalized NATO’s work in this emerging field.
5G technology is transformative on several fronts. It will challenge the design and implementation of existing infrastructure and applications. The velocity and pervasiveness of 5G technology will stimulate development of advanced applications, including smart cities and autonomous vehicles.
A diverse set of suppliers form the 5G ecosystem, which encompasses network infrastructures, spectrum, devices and software. While Ericsson (Sweden), Nokia (Finland) and Huawei (China) are the three best-known vendors, they represent only a small number of the stakeholders involved. The telecommunications industry estimates that operators will have
to invest $1.1 trillion by the end of 2025 to build 5G networks.6
In 2016, the European Commission developed a 5G Action Plan for Europe to support launching the rollout of commercial 5G services in all EU member states by the end of 2020.7 Subsequently, there will be a rapid buildup of infrastructure in urban areas and along major transport routes by 2025.8
At the Prague 5G Security Conference in May 2019, 32 EU and NATO members adopted recommendations known as the Prague Proposals.9 They propose principles that governments should apply to 5G deployment, stipulating that communication networks and services should be “designed with resilience and security in mind. They should be built and maintained using international, open, consensus-based standards and risk-informed cybersecurity best practices.” State representatives also called for the adoption of principles of fairness, transparency, risk-based policy and interoperability.
Relevance for NATO
Since 1949, NATO has centered on safeguarding the security and freedom of its members. Its mandate has evolved in political and geographic terms as the world changed. Today, emerging technology, with its many political, military and commercial implications, is driving NATO’s need to adapt.
Given its broad membership overlap with the European Union, deployment of 5G in Europe will undoubtedly affect the Alliance. The implications for NATO allies are strategic and operational in nature and affect defensive and offensive postures. At a minimum, dependence on 5G exposes critical infrastructure to more vulnerabilities, including software vulnerabilities, which NATO allies must address.10 That said, 5G can also improve capabilities such as communication security.11
At the multilateral level, NATO, like the European Union, seeks to balance collective and national interests. At the Munich Security Conference on February 15, 2020, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg referred to guidelines and basic requirements that both organizations had developed for infrastructure investment—notably in telecommunications and 5G.12
On January 29, 2020, the Network and Information Systems (NIS) Cooperation Group published an EU toolbox, with measures to mitigate risks identified in the EU coordinated risk assessment report of October 9, 2019:
- strategic measures on regulatory powers for incident reporting, security measures, threats and assets;
- initiatives to promote a diverse supply and value chain;
- technical measures to strengthen the security of networks and equipment; and
- risk mitigation plans.13
NATO’s leadership also seeks to develop a minimum set of common practices for resilient telecommunications while avoiding encroachment on individual state approaches. At the October 2019 NATO Defense Ministerial meeting, for example, representatives agreed to update the baseline requirements for civilian telecommunications, including 5G.14 This update covered foreign ownership, foreign control and direct investment. While civilian infrastructure remains a “national responsibility,” Article 3 of NATO’s founding treaty states that resilience, intended to prevent the failure of critical infrastructure or hybrid attacks, is part of states’ commitments to the Alliance and to one another. The Secretary General reiterated NATO’s approach the following month at the NATO Industry Forum in Washington, DC, where he linked resilience of supply chains and that of nations and the Alliance.15
NATO members maintain the right to decide national policies for regulating critical infrastructure and 5G vendors. For example, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab addressed the House of Commons on January 28, 2020, outlining the government’s review of national telecommunications and its position on “high risk vendors.” The United Kingdom approved the use of equipment acquired from “high risk vendors” while restricting those vendors’ access to “safety critical networks.”16 The foreign secretary stressed that the review would not hamper his government’s ability to share sensitive data with its partners over highly secure networks. In May 2020, the UK Government decided to review the impact of the decision on national networks with the assistance of the National Cyber Security Centre.
What Is at Stake?
Foreign ownership or management of critical infrastructure is a significant risk for NATO allies. Consequently, more governments may look to adopt procurement rules that limit sourcing to trusted vendors.
Such a position creates another risk, however. Indeed, the operators of critical infrastructure may have only limited capacity to detect, prevent and recover from the cybersecurity risks they face if they cannot choose the technologies and processes they need to match security requirements stemming from their size, complexity and risk profile. These operators must remain in control of how they improve their overall security posture if they are to meet the security and resilience objectives set nationally or at NATO. Innovation with state-of-the-art technology is critical in the interconnected environment in which Allies find themselves, through cross-border infrastructure (for energy supply, for instance) or shared functions (such as airspace control). NATO’s value-added in this context is to facilitate the development and sharing of baseline requirements for supply-chain risk management among Allies. It can also be to share best practices and information on risks and threats. This coordination would ensure that all individual state efforts contribute to more secure, resilient critical infrastructures.
As NATO allies move forward, they should focus on four main issues: leveraging NATO and EU membership, assessing supply-chain management issues, adopting a principled approach and building international consensus.
Leveraging Membership: 5G affects strategic, political, industrial and commercial elements on both sides of the Atlantic. The integrated economies of the European Union and the United States share a common value system, with policies that traditionally align with NATO’s, despite conflicting messages from the current US administration regarding its commitment to the Alliance. Despite the inherent cross-border, integrated nature of critical infrastructure in Europe, EU member states approach supply-chain evaluation differently. As the European Union seeks a coordinated, harmonized process for 5G supply-chain assessment, it is important that NATO and the EU align their policies in this regard. The lack of such alignment might create challenges for NATO, such as overdependence on one supplier.
Supply-Chain Risk Management: NATO allies must consider the global, interconnected nature of supply chains and the threats they face as they weigh effective approaches to 5G supply-chain risk management. Their approaches should ultimately strengthen NATO’s strategic mission, inform procurement guidelines and harmonize risk-management baselines across Allies. Such risk management entails identifying likely threats, vulnerabilities and potential consequences, tailoring mitigation strategies to risks and prioritizing actions based on an assessment of the most relevant, potentially impactful risks.17
A Principled Approach: A similar or harmonized set of principles should underpin effective supply-chain risk management. These principles should do the following:
- encourage interoperability of systems and the use of stateof-the-art technologies;
- develop a more secure global cybersecurity ecosystem that recognizes norms for responsible behavior and prioritizes collective defense against malicious threats;
- collaborate with key nongovernmental stakeholders, including industry, to adapt to an ever-changing environment of new technologies and new threats;
- invest in research and development of new technological approaches to fostering supply-chain integrity; and
- avoid prohibiting the acquisition or integration of some technologies simply because they were developed abroad.
Building International Consensus: Several international organizations and groups have begun to assess the 5G environment and its related security risks. The Prague 5G Repository produced a library of tools, frameworks and legislative measures to assist NATO member states. Multilateral organizations, such as the EU, and states have come to similar conclusions. They too underline major risks that have national security implications. Integrity, confidentiality and availability of networks and communications are also key to their security.
5G innovation is not just a technological choice but a strategic one. Even in a collective defense system such as NATO, states remain sovereign, making decisions based on their assessment of the geopolitical environment. A state approach driven primarily by economic opportunity may undermine collective defense and security.
To both build and manage 5G capabilities, NATO’s allies will need to leverage EU and NATO membership; balance national and collective methods for supply-chain risk management; apply a principled approach to supply-chain integrity; and coordinate at the state and international levels.
|• ensure, where possible, transparency of supply-chain risk management policies and their implementation, in part to facilitate best practices;|
Former director of Carnegie Europe Tomáš Valášek referred to critical civilian networks as “the path of least resistance” for adversaries in the digital age to divide NATO from within.18 To protect this critical infrastructure, he argues, both the public and private sectors will need to invest in IT expertise. This shared challenge presents an opportunity for NATO and other multilateral organizations to fill gaps for their member states and to adapt to emerging technology beyond their traditional role. It is a novel test for NATO: to broker strategic geopolitical rivalries and national security concerns over critical infrastructure while developing its own modern capabilities and addressing the multiple fractures in global and allied security today.
- International Data Corporation (IDC), The Growth in Connected IoT Devices Is Expected to Generate 79.4ZB of Data in 2025, press release (Framingham, MA: IDC, June 18, 2019).
- IHS Markit, The Internet of Things: A Movement, Not a Market, presentation (London: IHS Markit, 2017), p. 2.
- Cisco, Annual Internet Report (2018–2023), white paper(San Jose: Cisco, 2020), p. 2.
- Kadri Kaska, Henrik Beckvard, and Tomáš Minárik, Huawei, 5G, and China as a Security Threat (Tallinn: NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, 2019).
- NATO, London Declaration: Issued by the Heads of State and Government Participating in the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in London 3-4 December 2019, press release (Brussels: NATO, December 4, 2019).
- GSMA Intelligence, The Mobile Economy 2020 (London: GSM Association, 2020), p. 5.
- European Commission, 5G for Europe: An Action Plan, COM(2016) 588 final (Brussels: European Commission, 2016), p. 4.
- European Commission, Future Connectivity Systems, 5G for Europe Action Plan (Brussels: European Commission, December 19, 2019).
- Flexera, Vulnerability Review 2018: Global Trends (Itasca, IL: Flexara Software LLC, 2018).
- Karl Norrman, Prajwol Kumar Nakarmi, and Eva Fogelström, 5G Security—Enabling a Trustworthy 5G System, Ericsson White Paper (Stockholm: Ericsson, January 8, 2020).
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Transcript of Opening Re-marks, Munich Security Conference, Brussels, February 15, 2020.
- European Commission, Cybersecurity of 5G Networks: EU Toolbox of Risk Mitigating Measures (Brussels:European Commission, January 29, 2020).
- NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg, Press Conference Follow-ing the Meeting of NATO Defense Ministers, Brussels, October 25, 2019.
- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Keynote Address at the NATO Industry Forum, Washington DC, November 14, 2019.
- United Kingdom, Foreign Secretary’s Statement on Telecommunica-tions, London, UK Foreign Secretary Office, January 28, 2020.
- BSA | The Software Alliance (BSA), BSA Principles for Good Governance: Supply Chain Risk Management (Washington, DC: BSA, 2019).
- Tomáš Valášek et al., “NATO at 70: What Next?” Politico (April 3, 2019).
9. Government of the Czech Republic, Prague 5G Security Conference Announced Series of Recommendations: The Prague Proposals,press release, May 3, 2019.
Clodagh Quain is Policy Analyst at the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA), Dublin, Ireland. The views expressed here are those of the author and not of the IIEA.
Isabelle Roccia is Senior Manager, Policy – EMEA at BSA | The Software Alliance in Brussels, Belgium.
This publication is the result of a joint WIIS DC, WIIS Brussels, WIIS France, and WIIS UK project focused on new challenges for the NATO alliance and showcasing the expertise of the Next Generation women defense experts. Through a competitive selection process six Next Generation experts were invited to participate in programs on the sidelines of the 2019 December NATO Leaders meeting. We would like to thank our six experts for their thoughtful contributions to this initiative, WIIS Global for publishing their research and the US Mission to NATO for providing the generous grant without which this project would not have been possible. With this support, we were able to turn an idea to promote greater cooperation among our affiliates and cities into a reality. We hope this project encourages more collaboration across borders and helps bolster the overall WIIS mission of supporting women in the international security field.
The NATO Consortium Team: Michelle Shevin-Coetzee, WIIS-DC; Armida van Rij, WIIS
UK; Florence Fernando and Pauline Massart, WIIS Brussels; Ottavia Ampuero and Jessica
Pennetier, WIIS France
By Kulani Abendroth-Dias and Carolin Kiefer
If World War III will be over in seconds, as one side takes control of the other’s systems, we’d better have
Data, the food of all algorithms, lie at the core of cohesive EU and NATO AI strategies. Such strategies must encompass the regulation of data in high- and low-risk technologies with
and Romania have tested and often deployed AI and ML facial recognition tools, many of which were developed in the United States and China, for predictive policing and border control.3 AI and ML systems aid in contact tracing and knowledge sharing to contain the COVID-19 virus.4 However, the civilian and military strategies that drive use of AI and ML for the collection and use of data diverge across the member states of the European Union and the North a greater understanding of how data feed AI and ML technologies and systems, the results they produce become skewed. For example, a facial analysis and recognition system insufficiently trained to analyze and recognize women or people of color will often misidentify people in these populations, which could lead to inaccurate criminal profiling and arrests.7 Machines don’t make errors, but humans do. Policymakers need to rapidly identify parameters and systems of governance for these technologies that
maximize their efficiency while protecting civilian rights.
Growth in the development of AI-driven technologies has been exponential, but strategies to regulate their implementation have yet to catch up. The European Union and NATO need to develop coordinated, comprehensive, and forward-looking strategies based on data protection protocols to regulate AI use and deployment to counter myriad threats. Such strategies will be critically important if the transatlantic alliance is to adapt a common defense system to evolving threats in the digital age. Beyond Definitions
AI and ML are changing the security landscape-for example, by the deployment of disinformation to undermine political participation or of unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs), which may or may not operate as lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS). The states that are party to the Group of
Governmental Experts (GGE) on Lethal Autonomous Weapons
the smarter, faster, more resilient network. dual uses. They should guide policies governing predictive
or delivery within the European Union, Amazon policing, border surveillance, facial analysisand countering disinformation.6 and recognition now sells facial recognition cameras for door
locks, webcams, home security systems, and office To regulate data use effectively, policymakers need to attendance driven by artificial intelligence (AI) better understand the technical, political, economic and
and machine learning (ML)-powerful tools with civilian 2 social risks and biases in data collection methods. Without and military purposes. Germany, France, Spain, Denmark
Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).5
(LAWS), which aligns its work with the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), have devoted considerable attention to defining autonomous weapons. Unfortunately, the group has not yet paid enough attention to the data. Prolonged focus on what constitutes LAWS rather than the data that drive them impedes the important investigation of how best to regulate the technologies’ rapid development and use for security and defense. Discussion of the types, limits, and biases of data that drive AI and ML is pertinent throughout the myriad sectors in which they find application.8
Recently, the GGE took steps to move the debate from definitions of autonomous systems to why data matter. In 2020, it decided that the 11 guiding principles that frame the development and use of LAWS needed no further expansion.9 The group agreed to give greater attention to how the principles can be unpacked. It decided to distinguish between high- and low-risk AI technologies and gain a better understanding of dual-use technologies.10 Differentiating between uses for civilian and military operations should focus on how data will be mined and drive algorithms at both levels.11 NATO and the European Union should lead in facilitating these discussions and regulations.
According to the European Commission’s February 2020 white paper on artificial intelligence, “Europe’s current and future sustainable economic growth and societal well-being increasingly draws on value created by data…. AI is one of the most important applications of the data economy.”12 However, the report concludes, for AI to “work for people and be a force for good in society” it must be trustworthy.13 It highlights “trustworthy AI” 27 times in its 26 pages.
Governance of data is key to this trust.14 The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was a step in the right direction, but it needs to be expanded to cover AI and ML data collection and use in national and international security contexts. Close consultation and data coordination between the European Union and NATO is integral in this regard.
An understanding of who drives the development of AIdriven technologies for European security and how they are funded can illuminate the political, technical, and social, and legal bottlenecks confronting EU and NATO data regulation, both in the member states and at a supranational level. While the defense sector has traditionally driven technology innovation, private companies have taken the lead in recent years. 15 According to the OECD, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Intel have spent more than $50 billion a year on digital innovation.16 This sum dwarfs the ‚Ç¨13 billion budgeted by the European Defense Fund (EDF) for 2021-27 – for defense spending in general, not solely for AI-driven technologies.17 NATO and the European Union should pay particular attention to these private-sector actors when developing policies for data protection and strategies to encourage US and European technological innovation. NATO and the European Union should work with the CCW GGE to determine clear operational distinctions between the commercial and military uses of data for AIdriven technologies.18 NATO and the European Union need comprehensive, legally enforceable AI strategies to regulate the use of data and the integrity of information networks to better protect their citizens while keeping the Alliance agile.
The Way Forward
In EU and NATO contexts, the development and implementation of dual-use technologies and cyberprotection policies remain fragmented. This fragmentation could undermine the ability to respond to evolving threats to European security and stability. Examples abound: Cambridge Analytica’s involvement in Britain’s Leave Campaign, radicalization via social media, the politicized use of data via hybrid-use platforms to influence behavior (from political participation to violent action), and targeted cyber-attacks and disinformation campaigns in the Visegrad Four and the Baltic states.19 Therefore, coherent EU and NATO AI strategies require the regulation of the data that drive emerging technologies. Regulation to promote network integrity and protect data access must be key tenets of EU and NATO strategies to deploy AI that can react faster and more effectively in the face of new security threats.
AI and ML systems are valuable, as demonstrated by their use in contact tracing and knowledge sharing in the search for a cure during the Covid-19 pandemic.20 For the transatlantic relationship to thrive, NATO and the EU must work together to develop coordinated AI strategies that address appropriate use and misuse of data. As the EU and NATO develop these strategies, they should focus on five activities:
Govern the use of data in dual-use technologies.
While AI strategies may sound exciting and innovative to policymakers and the general public, responsible data use sounds less so. Yet it is essential. EU and NATO strategies need to distinguish between high- and low-risk technologies, dual- and hybrid-use platforms, and the types, limits, and mediums by which data can be collected and anonymized (or at least kept confidential) for civil and military uses. These limits need to be developed and regulated in discussions with civilian and military actors who are mining data across sectors, from the traditional security and military arena to healthcare, logistics, and entertainment companies. Discussions should include how the rights of citizens and those residing in NATO and EU countries-e.g., lawful migrants, asylum seekers, refugees-will be protected.
Acknowledge bias in datasets.
There should be a comprehensive discussion on how bias in datasets influences the training of algorithms, which in turn influences security targets and undermines the integrity of a system. Policymakers, human rights actors, and technology developers should be in the room for this discussion. An awareness of these biases within security forces can help them better evaluate the outcomes the algorithms produce, interpret targets with caution, avoid errors, and generate more effective responses.
Ensure purpose-limited data collection and sharing.
Personal data collected and tracked for specific purposes (e.g., contact tracing during a pandemic) should generally not be shared and used for other purposes. Where an overlap in data collection is deemed necessary for EU-NATO security purposes, tight regulations for civilian protection should spell out where, with whom, and for how long the data can be stored, with strong legal and operational deterrents for backdoor access to data. Private-sector companies should limit how data are used to influence behavior: Should they be used in political campaigns the same way that they are used to nudge consumer behaviors on what to buy? The European Union’s GDPR sets up important rules in this regard. It can be viewed as the cornerstone of an EU-NATO strategy for the development and regulation of AI for security and defense.
Adapt traditional defense and deterrence strategies to the digital age.
The evolving nature of security threats in the digital age calls into question traditional strategies of defense and deterrence. Collaboration between NATO, the European Commission, the European Defence Agency (EDA), the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the Coordinated Annual Review on Defense (CARD) and technology developers should focus on efficiency-trimming current weapons systems and technologies used by the European Union on the battlefield and in the cyber realm while using AI and ML to inform strategy. The weaponized use of social media data must be addressed, not solely via counternarratives but by working in concert with social media companies to develop AI and ML techniques to identify and shut down fake news at the source. The integrity of networks set up by actors outside of NATO member states needs to be raised as a security concern as well, including incentives to drive the local business development of such networks.
Build trust via counter-AI agencies to protect citizen rights and detect AI-driven forgeries.
Agencies that currently promote the responsible use of AI need to work in tandem with NATO and EU agencies to develop comprehensive AI strategies. The strategies should promote digital literacy, advance critical thinking through online modules, and publicize the precautions NATO and the European Union are taking to protect citizen data in order to build public trust. Partnerships between EU, NATO, and such agencies need to go beyond traditional NGO-security agency relationships to integrate AI protection mechanisms into security policy itself. Ideally, these organizations would work with NATO partner countries to better identify targets, weaknesses, and priorities to build resilient intelligence architectures.
Map the development and use of AI-driven technologies across EU and NATO member states.
NATO security operations are in place at member state borders. However, most of the AI technologies being developed, test, or adapted are deployed within France and Germany, key EU member states. AI-driven security threats differ across states, especially disinformation. For example, the content, medium, and speaker of disinformation shared in the Czech Republic may differ considerably from disinformation shared in Germany. Adapting traditional deterrence strategies to the digital age requires an understanding of the contextbased nature of these threats. It is therefore integral to include experts across the EU and NATO member states in the development and implementation of AI strategies. A comprehensive mapping of the security threats faced-and development and use of AI-driven technologies to combat such threats across EU and NATO member states-can help better train personnel and develop more targeted solutions and localized data protection policies.
The digital industry is already transforming the Alliance. NATO is essential to setting up a coordinated structure to develop and regulate AI- and ML-driven technologies for NATO members’ security and defense. While sociopolitical and economic priorities in the development and regulation of AI vary across sectors and countries, awareness of the use and misuse of data in driving AI-and ML-driven technologies is a common thread that binds these debates together. The use of data fed into a system run by AI and ML technology can have vast implications for the nature of future security threats and the development of technologies to combat them. Cohesive EU and NATO strategies for AI will determine how strong and agile the Alliance will become.
Pedro Domingos, The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World (New York: Basic Books, 2015).
See Daniel S. Hoadley and Nathan J. Lucas, Artificial Intelligence and National Security (Washington DC.: Congressional Research Service,
2018); Greg Allen and Taniel Chan, Artificial Intelligence and National Security (Cambridge, MA: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, 2017). Artificial intelligence comprises a vast number of fields, including machine learning, natural language processing, robotics, computer vision, and knowledge representation and reasoning. In this policy brief, the authors largely refer to the use of AI- and ML- driven technologies for EU and NATO security and defense.
Steven Feldstein, The Global Expansion of AI Surveillance (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment, September 2019).
The Cybersecurity Strategy of the Visegrad Group Countries Coronavirus, Artificial Intelligence web page (April 12, 2020).
Raluca Csernatoni, An Ambitious Agenda or Big Words? Developing a
European Approach to AI, Egmont Security Policy Brief No. 117 (Brussels: Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations, November 2019).
Michael Chui et al., Notes from the AI Frontier: Insights from Hundreds of Use Cases (New York: McKinsey Global Institute, 2018).
Philipp Gr√ºll, “Germany’s Plans for Automatic Facial Recognition Meet Fierce Criticism,” EURACTIV (January 10, 2020).
Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb, Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Press, 2018).
See the UN’s 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
German Federal Foreign Office, Chair’s Summary: Berlin Forum for Supporting the 2020 Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (Berlin: German Federal Foreign Office, April 2020).
United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, The Human Element in Decisions About the Use of Force (Geneva: UNIDIR, March 2020).
European Commission, On Artificial Intelligence: A European
Approach to Excellence and Trust, white paper, COM (2020) 65 final (Brussels: European Commission, February 19, 2020), p. 1. See also European Commission, A European Strategy for Data, COM (2020) 66 final (Brussels: European Commission, February 19, 2020).
EC, On Artificial Intelligence, p. 25.
Dieter Ernst, Competing in Artificial Intelligence Chips: China’s Challenge amid Technology War, Special Report (Center for International Governance Innovation, March 26, 2020).
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Private Equity Investment in Artificial Intelligence (Paris: OECD, December 2018).
European Commission, European Defence Fund (Brussels: European Commission: March 20, 2019). Arguably, Washington would do well not to view the EDF with suspicion and skepticism but rather as a vehicle to stimulate more transatlantic discussion on “home-grown” innovation and development.
Daniele Amoroso et al., “Autonomy in Weapon Systems: The Mili-tary Application of Artificial Intelligence as a Litmus Test for Germany’s New Foreign and Security Policy,” Democracy Vol. 49 (Heinrich B√∂ll Foundation, 2018).
Marek G√≥rka, “The Cybersecurity Strategy of the Visegrad Group
Countries,” Politics in Central Europe Vol .14, No. 2 (2018), pp. 75-98. See also Alistair Knott, “Uses and Abuses of AI in Election Campaigns,” presentation, N.d.
Council of Europe, AI and Control of Covid-19.
By Naďa Kovalčíková and Gabrielle Tarini
The rise of China poses a strategic challenge for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Alliance needs a comprehensive political, economic, and security strategy to deal with China’s growing
global power. The more assertive a role China plays in world affairs, the more it could undercut NATO’s cohesion and military advantages by translating commercial inroads in Europe into political influence, investing in strategically important sectors, and achieving major breakthroughs in advanced digital technologies.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has repeatedly emphasized the need for NATO allies to assess and better understand the implications of China’s increased presence and activity in the North Atlantic.1 At their London meeting in December 2019, NATO leaders noted that “China’s growing influence and international policies present both opportunities and challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance.”2 At the 2020 Munich Security Conference in February 2020, China again featured prominently in the discussions. Plenary sessions and many of the side sessions focused on China, with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and Stoltenberg all highlighting the role for transatlantic cooperation in addressing China’s rise.3
This policy brief examines the challenge that China presents for NATO and the importance of a common posture toward China. It also considers China’s perception of NATO as a stumbling block to its global ambitions, and it provides recommendations for how the Alliance should approach China moving forward.
China’s Rise and Its Implications for NATO
China has used its growing economic, political and military capabilities to pursue an increasingly assertive foreign policy, and NATO has rightly begun to assess the implications for the Alliance. As the secretary general remarked in December 2019, “This is not about moving NATO into the South China Sea, but it’s about taking into account that China’s coming closer to us, in the Arctic, in Africa, investing heavily in our infrastructure, in Europe, in cyberspace.”4
China’s increased involvement in European allies’ economies poses a challenge to NATO’s political cohesion. China’s annual foreign direct investment (FDI) in Europe has grown exponentially since 2008.5 Europe is also one of the most important destinations for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global development strategy initiated by China in 2013. Last spring, Italy became the first G7 country to join BRI, while Greece joined China’s “17+1 grouping,” an initiative aimed at enhancing ties between China and Central and Eastern Europe.6
Chinese commercial inroads today can lead to wider political influence tomorrow, which well may be China’s objective. An analysis from the Mercator Institute for Chinese Studies, for example, contends that China “incentivizes state-led Chinese banks as well as State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to fill financing or investment gaps in EU member states and accession countries in exchange for political support for Chinese positions, such as on territorial claims in the South China Sea or human rights.”7 Most recently, during the
COVID-19 pandemic, China has attempted to make political inroads in Europe through “mask diplomacy.”8 China is widely publicizing its provision of medical masks and critical health equipment to affected European states and promoted false narratives over Chinese state media Twitter accounts (such as claims that COVID-19 actually began outside of China).9 These actions have helped China deflect criticism of its initial response to the virus and elevate its image in Europe as a global humanitarian player.
NATO allies also face pressure to address Chinese companies’ investments in Europe’s strategic sectors such as telecommunications, energy, transportation and ports. Chinese investments in these sectors have direct security implications for the Alliance, as it depends on national critical infrastructure to execute its activities and missions. For example, national telecommunication networks that are hacked or disrupted by foreign governments could threaten NATO networks such as the Federated Mission Network that are critical to command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) and allied decisionmaking.10 5G equipment made by companies with obscure ownership structures and close ties to the Chinese Communist Party “could use wellconcealed kill switches to cripple Western telecom systems” during conflict, or even during peacetime. 11 Moreover, the protection and integrity of digital information is also critical to secure force mobilization and plans for reinforcement. Civilian roads, ports and rails are an integral part of NATO’s plans for military mobilization. Chinese investments in European ports and rail could complicate NATO’s ability to reinforce and resupply Europe in a warfighting scenario. Currently, Chinese SOEs have invested in 12 ports in seven NATO countries that are key for military mobility planning in the east, south and southeast of NATO.12
Finally, China’s advances in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) threaten to undermine NATO’s current military and intelligence advantages. China’s “New Generation AI Development Plan” calls for China to “catch up on AI technology and applications by 2020, achieve major breakthroughs by 2025, and become a global leader in AI by 2030.”13 China sees AI as a way to leapfrog—in other words, skip—a generation of military technology.14
NATO relies on individual members to incorporate AI into their national defense capabilities. However, if all do not master and integrate this technology at the same pace, it may erode decades of work to strengthen interoperability. Moreover, European technologies to run AI operations— including robotics and efficient electronic chips such as
Dutch ASML semiconductors—are in high demand in China. If foreign state-backed companies were to acquire this technology, with its dual commercial and military applications, it would cause serious security concerns for the
China’s Perception of NATO
Generally, Beijing views NATO as a stumbling block to its global ambitions. As Adam Liff’s work on China and the U.S. alliance system has shown, Beijing expresses “deepening frustration towards, and even open opposition to” America’s alliances.16 China has not yet publicly expressed its vision of an alternative international system—and indeed scholars vigorously debate China’s long-term strategic objectives—but it is clear that China believes it can exercise greater influence on the world stage if power is more broadly diffused.17
China’s efforts to date seem to have focused largely on driving a wedge in U.S. alliances in the Indo-Pacific, but China would undoubtedly welcome a fractured transatlantic relationship, where US and European threat perceptions and policy priorities increasingly diverge.18 As a recent analysis of China-Europe relations noted, China wants to “weaken Western unity, both within Europe and across the Atlantic.”19 Consequently, it prefers to deal with European states individually rather than through the European Union’s collective leadership. Thus President Xi Jinping was likely displeased when French President Emmanuel Macron unexpectedly invited German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to join his bilateral meeting with China in March 2019.20 China also seeks to fragment EU unity on economic issues and trade, criticizing it for “politicizing” economic and trade issues in its Policy Paper on the European Union.21 China knows that NATO has neither robust tools nor a legacy of regulating political economy issues. China’s use of this narrative contributes to internal tension within the Alliance between those who guard against NATO’s involvement in these areas, especially since 21 EU members are also NATO allies.22
In sum, a united NATO and a cohesive transatlantic relationship thwart China’s desire to increase multipolarity in the international system, while a fractured NATO enables China to play Europe off America and Europe off itself.
Developing a united stance toward China will require NATO to synchronize regional priorities. It will also need to strengthen partnerships with other institutions and countries, given that much of what needs to be done currently falls outside NATO’s core competencies. NATO could strive for greater cohesion toward China in three areas: politics, military and technology.
To date, there is little evidence that NATO allies are coming closer to a solid political consensus on how to address China’s rise.23 In order to operationalize allies’ views in the London Declaration on the “opportunities and challenges”24 that China’s growing influence presents and limit its ability to undermine transatlantic cohesion or make further political inroads in Europe, NATO should do the following:
- Consistently coordinate allied efforts to ensure that Chinese initiatives, such as the BRI or the 17+1 grouping with Central and Eastern European countries, do not allow Beijing to gain political support for Chinese positions, such as on human rights or territorial claims, and drive wedges between allies.
- Increase cooperation with the EU on screening and assessing Chinese FDI in allied critical infrastructure and advanced technologies, which rely heavily on sensitive data. NATO should contribute to defining key criteria on FDI in domains with dual civilian-military applications.
- Encourage allies to make full use of their existing screening mechanisms for foreign investment and encourage those that do not have one to set it up.25 NATO’s EU allies should also systematically implement the EU’s foreign investment screening mechanism in order to mitigate the risks of foreign investors acquiring control over critical technologies, infrastructure, or sensitive information with potential security implications to all NATO allies. Increased transparency about Chinese FDI in critical infrastructure across NATO would help to mitigate the potential impact on NATO’s overall political cohesion.
|engagement and expertise. Such partnerships could inaugurate a new consultative body, which could pave the way for more coordinated planning and intelligence sharing.27||•||NATO should coordinate its efforts with the European Union in this domain, as AI and other advanced technologies are developed primarily in the private sector and can have both civilian and military applications. EU-NATO collaboration may be hampered by the fact|
- Enhance NATO’s political partnerships with IndoPacific countries, especially with Australia (within the “Enhanced Opportunities Partner” framework26 or other tailored platforms) and Japan to strengthen interregional Military Recommendations
It would be difficult and inadvisable to reposture the Alliance toward a hypothetical contingency with China: NATO members already have varied preferences over which region should receive priority focus and, with the exception of the United States, do not have the expeditionary capabilities to project power into the Indo-Pacific region. Nevertheless, there are four areas where NATO could improve its posture vis-à-vis China:
- Increased Chinese naval activity in the Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea, and the High North, often in collaboration with Russia, is a direct concern for NATO.28 NATO need not make plans to fight China in the North Atlantic. However, as a noted NATO and maritime affairs expert argues, allies must be prepared to “monitor and interact with another growing naval power operating in waters of key interest to the transatlantic alliance.” 29
- NATO should step up its existing military partnerships with Indo-Pacific countries, in particular in NATO exercises, the Partnership Interoperability Platform, and other capacity building programs.30
- Working with the EU, NATO tabletop exercises should focus on enhancing military mobility in Europe to mitigate against the effects of rising, potentially coercive Chinese investments and to secure a more robust, integrated civilian-military infrastructure.
- NATO allies should continuously assess and avoid investment in Chinese military equipment that would plug into NATO’s command and control system.31
- NATO allies should coordinate efforts to incorporate AI-based military technologies into their national capabilities in order to avoid duplication and economize.
- The roadmap on disruptive technologies adopted by NATO’s Allied Command Transformation in 2018 should guide allies toward increased and better tailored investments in military technology powered by AI, biotechnology and cyber and quantum computing. NATO should also continue to adapt its Defense Planning Process to account for rapid, fundamental technological evolution.32
that not all EU member states or NATO allies have written national AI strategies, and as one analyst notes, “Europe’s political and strategic debate on AI-enabled military technology is underdeveloped.”33 NATO should encourage all allies to develop their respective AI strategies, while the European Union can guide them by collecting and publishing best practices and encouraging countries to limit potentially burdensome regulations on AI before it is applied. The European Union in collaboration with NATO may also consider establishing an AI Center of Excellence.34
- Cybersecurity in 5G networks is another area where
NATO should coordinate its efforts with the European Union. Because this issue concerns mostly civilian networks, NATO does not have robust tools to tackle this problem alone. Thus the European Union and the European Commission in particular should lead in coordinating and implementing action. In its new “toolbox,” rolled out in January 2020, the European Union recommended measures to mitigate the cybersecurity risks of 5G.35 The plan, which could ban suppliers from core parts of telecoms networks if they are identified as “high-risk” vendors, could allow European countries to limit Chinese tech giant Huawei’s role in Europe in the future. NATO allies should not only consider the EU measures when appropriate but also push for more transparency into foreign companies’ ownership structures and state influence. In general, each NATO member should strengthen oversight of telecom network security by creating mechanisms to review contracts between operators and suppliers and conducting national-level audits of the security practices of 5G companies.
In sum, NATO must strive to maintain transatlantic unity in the face of a rapidly evolving technology and global security landscape. As China seeks to divide allied democracies, it is critical for NATO allies, in coordination with the EU and other partners, to address a widening array of emerging economic, political, societal and technological challenges to the Alliance.
Naďa Kovalčíková is a Program Manager and Fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshal Fund of the United States.
Gabrielle Tarini is a Policy Analyst at the non-profit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.
- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, opening remarks at the
Munich Security Conference, February 15, 2020, at the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) and Sub-Committee on Security and Defence (SEDE), January 21, 2020, and doorstep statement ahead of the meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Heads of State and/or Government , December 4, 2019.
- NATO, London Declaration, Issued by the Heads of State and
Government Participating in the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in London 3-4, December 2019 (Brussels: NATO, December 4, 2019).
- Daniel W. Drezner, “What I Learned at the Munich Security Conference,” commentary, Washington Post (February 17, 2020).
- NATO, “Questions and Answers by NATO Secretary General
Jens Stoltenberg at the ‘‘NATO Engages: Innovating the Alliance’ Conference,” transcript (London: NATO, December 3, 2019).
- Thilo Hanemann, Mikko Huotari and Agatha Kratz, Chinese FDI in Europe: 2018 Trends and Impact of New Screening Policies, MERICS Papers on China (Berlin: Mercator Institute for China Studies, June 3, 2019).
- Federiga Bindi, Why Did Italy Embrace the Belt and Road Initiative? commentary (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 19, 2020); Jonathan E. Hillman and Masea McCalpin, Will China’s ‘16+1’ Format Divide Europe? (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, April 11, 2019).
- Thorsten Benner et al., Authoritarian Advance: Responding to China’s Growing Political Influence in Europe, report (Berlin: Mercator Institute for China Studies, February 2018), p. 106, p. 15.
- AFP News, “Mask Diplomacy: China Tries to Rewrite Virus Narrative,” France 24 (March 20, 2020).
- Matt Schrader, Analyzing China’s Propaganda Messaging in Europe
(Alliance for Securing Democracy, March 20, 2020). See also Elizabeth Braw, “Beware of Bad Samaritans,” Foreign Policy (March 30, 2020).
- Kadri Kaska, Henrik Beckvard and Tomáš Minárik, Huawei, 5G and China as a Security Threat, report (Brussels: NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, 2019).
- Lindsay Gorman, “5G Is Where China and the West Finally Diverge,” The Atlantic (January 4, 2020).
- Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey. See also Ian Anthony, Jiayi Zhou and Fei Su, EU Security Perspectives in an Era of Connectivity: Implications for Relations with China, SIPRI Insights on Peace and Security, No. 2020/3 (Stockholm: SIPRI, February 2020), p.14.
- Graham Webster et al., China’s Plan to ‘Lead’ in AI: Purpose,
Prospects, and Problems, blog post (Washington, DC: New America, August 1, 2017); Ryan Hass and Zach Balin, US-China Relations in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, report (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, January 10, 2019).
- Gregory Allen, Understanding China’s AI Strategy: Clues to Chinese
Strategic Thinking on Artificial Intelligence and National Security, report (Washington, D.C., The Center for a New American Security,February 6, 2019), p. 8.
- Alexandra Alper, Toby Sterling and Stephen Nellis, “Trump Administration Pressed Dutch Hard to Cancel China Chip-Equipment Sale: Sources,” Reuters (January 6, 2020).
- Adam Liff, “China and the US Alliance System,” The China Quarterly Vol. 233 (March 2018).
- Nadège Rolland, China’s Vision for a New World Order, NBR Special Report No. 83 (Washington, D.C.: The National Bureau of Asian Research, January 2020).
- Scott Harold, Chinese Views on European Defense Integration, MERICS China Monitor (Berlin: Mercator Institute for China Studies, December 19, 2018).
- Thomas Wright and Thorsten Benner, testimony to U.S. China
Economic and Security Review Commission, hearing on “China’s Relations with U.S. Allies and Partners in Europe and the Asia Pacific,” April 5, 2018.
- Keegan Elmer, “France’s Emmanuel Macron Asks Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker to Join Meeting with Xi Jinping in Paris,” South China Morning Post (March 22, 2019).
- Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union, China’s Policy Paper on the European Union (Brussels: Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union, December 2018).
- Jens Ringsmose and Sten Rynning, “China Brought NATO Closer Together,” War On the Rocks (February 5, 2020).
- 23 Noah Barkin, “The U.S. and Europe Are Speaking a Different Language on China,” Foreign Policy (February 16, 2020).
- NATO, “London Declaration, Issued by the Heads of State and Government Participating in the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in London, 3-4 December 2019” (December 4, 2019).
- European Commission, Guidance to the Member States Concerning Foreign Direct Investment (FDI Screening Regulation)” (Brussels: EC, March 25, 2020).
- NATO, Partnership Interoperability Initiative (Brussels: NATO, March 24, 2020).
- Fabrice Pothier, How Should NATO Respond to China’s Growing Power? analysis (London: IISS, September 12, 2019).
- Mercy A. Kuo, “NATO-China Council: Now Is the Time: Insights from Ian Brzezinski,” The Diplomat (October 15, 2019).
- Magnus F. Nordenman, “Five Questions NATO Must Answer in the North Atlantic,” Proceedings Vol. 145, no. 3 (Annapolis, Md.: U.S. Naval Institute, March 2019).
- Turkey, for example, was interested in buying China’s HQ-9 missile systems in 2013 but ultimately abandoned their bid after significant pressure from other NATO allies. See Denise Der, “Why Turkey May Not Buy Chinese Missile Systems After All,” The Diplomat (May 7, 2014).
- Nicholas Burns and Douglas Lute, NATO at Seventy: An Alliance in Crisis, report (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, February 2019).
- Ulrike Franke and Paola Sartori, Machine Politics: Europe and the AI Revolution, Policy Brief (Berlin: European Council on Foreign Relations, July 11, 2019).
- Wendy R. Anderson and Jim Townsend, “As AI Begins to Reshape
Defense, Here’s How Europe Can Keep Up,” Defense One (May 18, 2018); Institute for Security Studies, The EU, NATO and Artificial Intelligence: New Possibilities for Cooperation? report (Paris: ISS, 2019).
- EU Commission, Cybersecurity of 5G Networks – EU Toolbox of Risk Mitigating Measures (Brussels: EU, January 29, 2020).
This publication is the result of a joint WIIS DC, WIIS Brussels, WIIS France, and WIIS UK project focused on new challenges for the NATO alliance and showcasing the expertise of the Next Generation women defense experts. Through a competitive selection process six Next Generation experts were invited to participate in programs on the sidelines of the 2019 December NATO Leaders meeting. We would like to thank our six experts for their thoughtful contributions to this initiative, WIIS Global for publishing their research and the US Mission to NATO for providing the generous grant without which this project would not have been possible. With this support, we were able to turn an idea to promote greater cooperation among our affiliates and cities into a reality.
We hope this project encourages more collaboration across borders and helps bolster the overall WIIS mission of supporting women in the international security field.
The NATO Consortium Team: Michelle Shevin-Coetzee, WIIS-DC; Armida van Rij, WIIS UK; Florence Fernando and Pauline Massart, WIIS Brussels; Ottavia Ampuero
By Ashley Bandura and Mercedes Blackwood
Women continue to be sidelined in ongoing efforts to end the Syrian civil war, which so far has cost more than 400,000 lives and displaced as many as 13 million people.1 Yet they share fully in the suffering: Syrian women have been targeted for kidnapping, arbitrary arrests, and sexual violence, and they are often used as collateral for negotiations and extortion. The group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently has documented hundreds of cases of women being forced into marriage with ISIS fighters, with about a third of them under age 18.2 The issues Syrian women face cannot be separated from the considerable challenge of resolving the Syrian conflict.
Since 2012, attempts at peace talks have failed to achieve meaningful ceasefires or deescalate the conflict. Ensuring women’s meaningful participation in stabilization and peace efforts in Syria is thus a strategic security imperative. Such participation will promote a more inclusive, enduring, and stable democratic society. Women’s participation in peace agreements has been shown to critically affect their sustainability, with 64 percent of agreements being less likely to fail if women are at the negotiating table. Additionally, agreements such as ceasefires are 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years if women participate in their negotiation.3
Female leaders have been consistently underrepresented in Syrian delegations to high-level international meetings and ceasefire negotiations.4 Peace talks in Geneva and the initial round in Astana lacked women’s participation entirely (box 1). The failure of these talks resulted from many factors: competing global interests, geopolitical maneuvering, regional instability, and obstruction by parties to the negotiations. But the absence of women is surely an important factor as well.
In early 2017, Syrian civil society organizations called upon the Syrian opposition and the international community to ensure that the delegation to any future talks include at least 30 percent women.5 In the last round of Astana talks in October 2017, women made up 16 percent of the negotiators. They raised critical issues in areas where women have been at the forefront of action on the ground. Syrian women have negotiated local ceasefires, deescalated fighting so aid could pass through, organized nonviolent protests, monitored and documented war crimes, led humanitarian efforts for displaced Syrians, and worked in schools and hospitals while the conflict raged.6 By finding consensus on controversial issues related to aid delivery and the release of detainees, for example, the Women’s Advisory Board has demonstrated what women can do.7
This policy brief outlines barriers to women’s participation in Syrian peace and stabilization, major challenges they face regarding protection in the war, the lack of aid and resources for recovery, and steps the United States can take to ensure they are included in future efforts.
Barriers to Women’s Participation
Despite the efforts of the Syrian Women’s Network and the Women’s Advisory Board, Syrian women remain largely absent from the negotiating table. Even when women have been part of high-level peace talks, they are silenced or pushed into supporting roles.
|Timeline of Negotiations|
|Geneva I Conference, June 2012 – US and Russian officials, and other major powers met to agree on a road map for peace. No women present at the peace table or on the margins of talks. Geneva II Conference, January 2014 – The UN fails to break deadlock between opposition and the government and blames the Syrian government’s refusal to entertain the opposition’s demands. Few women, with limited roles at the negotiating table. Vienna Process, 2015 – All 20 members of the International Syria Support Group met to outline a transitional plan and timetable for formal talks. No women were involved. Geneva III, January 2016 – The Syrian government and opposition refused to sit in the same room, talks were suspended. No women were involved.|
Their absence from high-level talks belies the realities on the ground, where many women have taken on informal leadership roles in the wake Syrian Arab Spring in 2011 and subsequently because of the absence of men.8 Eightyfive percent of those killed inside Syria have been men.9 According to reports by CARE International, females head 12 to 17 percent of households in Syria and up to one-third of households in refugee-hosting countries.10 With high rates of male casualties, women must be breadwinners and caregivers in a broken system that is ill equipped to provide basic services they need for survival.
Although women have additional responsibilities, cultural, physical, and structural barriers often prevent them from assuming formal leadership roles. These include social stigma, lack of education or specialized training, economic deficiencies, safety hazards, and limited mobility. Culturally, most Syrian women are raised with stereotypical gender roles and expectations. They thus may be apprehensive of leadership roles that have traditionally belonged to men. According to a 2017 study by Bareeq Education and Development, 81 percent of women surveyed said that “the social norms in Syria truly impede women’s success.”11
They may also find it difficult to obtain work that does not jeopardize their safety or their sense of what is honorable for a woman.12 Syrian women living outside the country— particularly Turkey, Lebanon, or Jordan—may not have the right to work in their host country.13 With the added economic pressure for both men and women, many women face increased stress.14 In cases where female heads of households find jobs, their income is less than that of male heads of households. Dedicated resources for services, protection, security, and training for women inside and outside Syria are critical, given the new roles, dearth of job opportunities, and safety hazards they face.
|Timeline of Women’s Participation|
|Syrian Women’s Network, May 2013 – 200 individuals and 29 NGO’s formed the Network to develop a new Syrian constitution and a set of laws with full equality of women. Syrian Women’s Initiative for Peace, 2013 – 50 women representing civil society, including 8 members of the Syrian Women’s Network established the Initiative to promote the peace process, and bring women directly into the negotiations. They demanded a 30% quota of female participants in the Geneva II Sessions. Syrian Women’s Advisory Board, February 2016 – Politically unaffiliated group of 12 women. The Board does not participate directly in talks, but advises mediators on proceedings. SWN withdrew based on critiques of transparency. Syrian Women Peacemakers Conference, May 2016 – 130 Syrian women met in Beirut, Lebanon and forged a statement of unity to further the work of Syrian women.|
Their lack of physical security and restricted mobility also keep women from engaging meaningfully in political roles. The destruction of infrastructure and the economy have constrained women’s ability to move freely, and heightened security concerns make travel dangerous for them. Cultural limitations for women’s travel alone outside the home exacerbate the mobility and security barriers. Limited movement makes it more difficult for women to participate in local initiatives and heightens economic barriers.
Structural barriers include economic, legal, and educational limitations. Discriminatory laws and lack of education or skills discourage women from standing for elected office or other leadership positions.15 The selection process for local councilors highlights these structural challenges. Local councils are often not elected but rather selected based on familial ties or community standing, which women have not had the opportunity to develop.
Shifting governance structures in a fragile environment also make it difficult for women to grasp or maintain a foothold for meaningful change and to realize their full potential. Where councils are elected, they are often limited in capacity and plagued by turnover. Active women would therefore rather get involved in civil society than government, which they may see as lacking legitimacy and effectiveness. When women are elected to government positions, it is often for superficial roles. In government-controlled areas women are included to showcase modernization; in opposition-controlled areas they are included to attract attention from international donors.16 Despite public support for quotas for women in public administration, women thus remain underutilized, as real power stays in the hands of a few male elites.
According to the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, the next priority should be a political process for Syria that includes drafting a new constitution as well as developing an election process.17 Thus women’s role in peacebuilding must go beyond peace negotiations. Women should be involved in all political decision making. The international community should continue to provide tools and training for women so that they can meaningfully engage in elections and constitution building when the time comes. Conflicts can sometimes provide an opportunity to fast track progress for women in political spheres. Opening formal and informal channels for women’s participation that were previously restricted to Syrian men would be one way for such progress to emerge out of the Syrian conflict.
UN and international organizations’ efforts to boost women’s collective voice have created demands and opportunities for women’s inclusion that could contribute meaningfully to Syria’s transition to peace. Their local successes demonstrate the value and credibility they can bring to the negotiating table and in reconstruction.
Protection from Harm and Abuse
Women are particularly vulnerable to harm and abuse. An understanding of preconflict gender dynamics in Syria is essential for assessing how the conflict has increased the vulnerability of Syrian women. Including women in negotiations to end the conflict will enable them to advocate for women and to prioritize solutions to harms and abuses that disproportionally affect women. Many of these are related to forced migration and decreased security: genderbased violence, abuse by security forces, and economic marginalization.
More than five million refugees have fled Syria, 48.4 percent of whom are female.18 They are increasingly vulnerable to assault, kidnapping, and gender-based violence. On some routes, as many as half of women surveyed reported experiencing sexual assault during their journey, and many take birth control to avoid getting pregnant from rape.19 An initial assessment report conducted in 2015 revealed that women were sometimes forced to engage in transactional sex as to pay for travel.20
The lack of security and the breakdown of the rule of law make women targets. Terrorist groups, security forces, and border guards alike harass and assault them. These abuses increase distrust of state security providers and force women to rely on informal or extralegal familial and communal ties for protection.21 Yet even these networks are failing them as their communities are shattered and they lose male allies.
Armed groups kidnap women in transit and use them as hostages in prisoner exchanges.22 Reuter’s news service has documented how ISIS kidnapped women refugees in transit to Europe to provide their fighters with sex slaves.23 CNN reported that women in ISIS-held territory in Syria were forced into marriage with fighters.24 Women refugees who manage to arrive in camps find that they are often unsecured and poorly resourced.25
Lack of Resources for Relief and Recovery
As the conflict endures, women have gained a measure of agency as they undertake relief and recovery efforts. Despite the overwhelming challenges, Syrian women are filling gaps in society and providing basic needs to their families and communities. As women play a larger role in relief and recovery, it is fundamental that they be included in strategies for peacebuilding and long-term stability. Otherwise, transitions to democracy and peace will not be successful.
Relief efforts in Syria continue regardless of the status of humanitarian assistance from abroad. Women in traditional roles such as health professionals, educators, and mothers are well placed to rebuild, educate, and sustain their communities postconflict. Where health and rehabilitation services are no longer available, women step in to care for the elderly, injured, and others in need of specialized care. Where schools have closed, it is often mothers who fill the void and educate children.26 In refugee camps, women have started to engage in home-based entrepreneurial activities. As women take on these roles, they will need specialized training to carry them out more effectively.
Recovery efforts are not waiting for the resolution of the conflict either, and women are central. Syrian women’s involvement can help close strategic gaps in the fight against ISIS. But for recovery efforts to move forward, women’s substantive roles must be recognized and their needs must be addressed.
The development and security sectors should continue to address barriers that hinder women’s participation in peacebuilding efforts. Likewise, it is important to keep studying the conditions that facilitate women’s involvement so that these conditions can be leveraged to increase women’s roles and representation in peacebuilding.
As part of the implementation of the Women, Peace, and
Security (WPS) Act, which was signed into law in October 2017, the U.S. government will develop a governmentwide strategy to integrate gender perspectives across its diplomatic, development, and defense-related work in conflict-affected environments. The U.S. national strategy required by the WPS Act must emphasize the importance of understanding the barriers and facilitating conditions for women’s representation in mediation, negotiation, humanitarian efforts, and political development.
Applying this strategy to Syrian women will enable the U.S. government to meet the goal, articulated in January 2017 by the secretary of state, of a stable, unified, and independent Syria, free of terrorist threats and free of weapons of mass destruction.27 Implementing this plan with Syrian women is in the best economic and security interest of the entire region, as the Syrian conflict continues to overwhelm neighboring countries. As negotiations begin and recovery efforts ensue, it is imperative that the inclusion of women in decision making is a top priority for achieving and then maintaining peace.
As the U.S. government engages, the following recommendations should inform an inclusive Syrian peace process:
Breaking down Barriers for Leadership and Participation
- Promote women in negotiations and build their credibility as essential partners at the negotiating table. Increasing awareness of the importance of women in peacebuilding and encouraging their participation are important. However, it must be clear what the women who are brought to the table are there to represent. Women cannot be brought to the negotiating table just to represent women but must be credible leaders for their causes, whether it be a political party or an organization representing a certain sector of civil society. Women’s participation at the negotiating table must be mainstreamed from the grassroots level for women to be viewed as credible actors once they are appointed to participate in negotiations or peacebuilding efforts. Training for women on building coalitions and on mediation and negotiation skills can boost women’s credibility.
- Support activities that provide women with the necessary tools and training they need to increase their political participation. As women’s roles continue to evolve amid the Syrian conflict, programming supported by the international community will need to enhance women leaders’ capacity for governing, as the UN and other external actors will focus on a political solution and Syrian opposition will need to be ready to work toward a solid democratic framework.
- Connect politically active women outside the country with women who are formal or informal leaders inside Syria, and build upon existing networks. By strengthening the work of existing networks through better coordination, the efforts of these women can be enhanced and used to highlight examples for other reconstruction and reconciliation efforts. The Women’s Advisory Board should play a larger role in coordinating efforts internally with negotiations and advocacy externally. When women leaders work together, regardless of their roles or stances, they can serve as unified advocates for more inclusive institutions as Syria rebuilds.
- Use the negotiation process to develop more inclusive governing institutions in Syria. The trauma and destruction created by conflicts seems insurmountable at times, yet transitions can also provide unique opportunities for change. The parties to negotiations should recognize this and push for more inclusive policies that will govern the Syrian elections and the writing of a new constitution. Any outcomes of negotiations should take advantage of the opening to facilitate a new culture of citizenship.
Protection from Harm
- Examine preconflict gender dynamics, and collect disaggregated data on the standards, issues, and roles that women live with as a result of the turmoil in Syria. A thorough understanding of Syrian women’s historical and traditional roles is required to fully appreciate how women have been affected by war. Disaggregated data on within-country and refugee conditions can provide implementing organizations with key information needed to design responsive interventions. It is important to consistently track and measure gender and diversity dynamics throughout the conflict in order to draw key lessons for the diplomatic and humanitarian communities.
- Provide resources and support to protect women from harm. Including more women in security forces and creating a more responsive security sector can empower women and ensure that law enforcement considers female perspectives. This is important for police, military, and peacekeeping forces inside Syria and in refugee hosting countries. By training more women to contribute to security and policing, women’s perspectives can be incorporated and unique challenges can be given the attention they need. Women trained to serve in the security sector may be more receptive to claims of genderbased violence and other gender-specific problems. Women may also be more inclined to report offenses such as assault to female security agents than to male counterparts.
- Increase awareness of the unique issues women face in conflict and their unique roles in mitigating difficulties and reconciling conflicts. The barriers to political participation and safety that women face globally are exacerbated in conflict. By spreading awareness, the security and humanitarian sectors can provide more targeted support to address the challenges women face in conflict zones. The media can play an important role in building this awareness and in showcasing women’s resilience and strength in overcoming challenges, thus increasing the recognition they deserve as powerful forces for change.
Resources for Relief and Recovery
- Provide technical and career training for Syrian women so that they can build skills that will allow them to obtain work and contribute to rebuilding the economy. It is imperative to equip Syrian women with skills they can use long term in conjunction with financial resources. Training on topics such as business development, financial management, and negotiation should be included to ensure that women can effectively fill the gaps in the economy that typically result from high numbers of male casualties during the war.
- Include more women in strategic planning for rehabilitating infrastructure now rather than waiting until the conflict is resolved. This will prepare women to move recovery efforts forward when opportunities are presented. It will also allow women to develop realistic expectations and knowledge on how to troubleshoot issues when the time comes for reconstruction efforts.
- Increase educational opportunities for specialized skills. As women continue to serve informally in relief roles such as medical and special care, the international donor community can build on their skills by providing them opportunities to gain formal education in these roles. Such opportunities could take the form of scholarships for technical schooling or educational exchange programs.
About the Authors
Ashley Bandura works as a Governance Specialist at the International Republican Institute’s Center for Global Impact. Ashley joined IRI in 2016 where she has focused on citizen-centered governance, electoral transitions, political party capacity building, and conflict management. She has conducted trainings and managed programs with elected officials in MENA, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. She holds a Master’s of Arts in International Development from The George Washington University.
Mercedes Blackwood has been working at the International Republican Institute (IRI) since June of 2016 where she is a
Senior Program Associate in the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN.) Currently, she is working alongside IRI’s Syria team to support moderate, democratic activists standing in opposition to both the Assad regime and Islamist extremists. Mercedes also oversees WDN’s Women, Peace, and Security programming, which focuses on women’s political inclusion during conflict, transition of power, and reconciliation efforts and the Arab Women’s Leadership Institute. Previously, Mercedes worked for
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham and for the Republican National Committee on several state and federal level campaigns. Prior to these positions, Mercedes was an athlete for the U.S.A. Bobsled and Skeleton team where she was training for the 2018 winter Olympics. She received her Bachelors in Political Science from the University of Idaho.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “About the Crisis.”
- Arwa Damon and Gul Tuysuz, “Syrian Woman: I Had to Marry an ISIS Police Chief to Save My Father’s Life,” CNN (February 4, 2015).
- Michelle Barsa et al., “Inclusive Ceasefires: Women, Gender, and a Sustainable End to Violence,” (Washington, DC: Inclusive Security, March 2016).
- Women’s participation is often measured by how many women are included as mediators and negotiators. Mediators are defined as third-party affiliates who work with belligerent parties to regulate negotiations, while negotiators are considered individuals directly participating in Track 1 negotiations.
- Council on Foreign Relations, “Syrian Women at the Table,” Case Studyies:Syria, web page, https://www.cfr.org/interactive/womensparticipation-in-peace-processes/syria.
- Rafif Jouejati, “Women Are Invisible at the Syria Peace Talks,” PassBlue (February 23, 2017).
- CFR, “Syrian Women at the Table.”
- Daniel Hilton, “Syrian Women at Risk of Losing New Economic Power to Tradition,” Worldcrunch (January 23, 2018).
- Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Updated Statistical Analysis of Documentation of Killings in the Syrian Arab Republic, (OHCHR, 2014).
- Beatrix Buecher and James Rwampigi Aniyamuzaala, “Women, Work & War: Syrian Women and the Struggle to Survive Five Years of Conflict,” (Amman: CARE International, 2016).
- “Syrian Women’s Perceptions of Women’s Rights, Work, Education, and Vocational Skills, Bareeq Education and Development,” (Amman: Bareeq Education and Development, May 2017), http://bareeqeducation.org/wp-content/uploads/syrian_women_survey_2017.pdf. 12. Buecher and Aniyamuzaala, “Women, Work & War.”
- Anthony Tirado Chase, Routledge Handbook on Human Rights and the Middle East and North Africa (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2016), p. 202.
- Buecher and Aniyamuzaala, “Women, Work & War.”
- Razan Ghazzawi et al., “Peacebuilding Defines Our Future Now: A Study of Women’s Peace Activism in Syria” (Istanbul: Badael Foundation, 2015), http://www.badael.org/wp-content/ uploads/2015/10/Syria_october22.pdf.
- Rana Khalaf et al., “Women Participation in Syrian Cities Today,” Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation, 2017, https://docs.
- UNHCR, “Registered Syrian Refugees,” interagency information sharing portal, last updated 19 April 2018, 2017, http://data.unhcr.org/ syrianrefugees/regional.php.
- Anja Parish, “Gender-Based Violence against Women: Both Cause for Migration and Risk along the Journey” (Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute, 2017).
- Rebecca Eapen et al., “Initial Assessment Report: Protection
Risks for Women and Girls in the European Refugee and Migrant Crisis” (Washington, DC: UNHCR, UNFPA, Women’s Refugee Commission, 2015).
- Joshua Rogers et al., “Security Barriers to Women’s Public Participation in the Middle East,” (London: Saferworld, November 11, 2013).
- OHCHR, “Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic,” (n.d.), retrieved November 8, 2017, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/IICISyria/Pages/ IndependentInternationalCommission.aspx.
- “Dozens of Eritrean and Nigerian for Islamic State Captives Freed in Libya,” Reuters (April 5, 2017).
- Damon, “I Had to Marry an ISIS Police Chief.”
- OHCHR, “Independent International Commission of Inquiry.”
- Buecher and Aniyamuzaala, “Women, Work & War.”
- Rex Tillerson, “Remarks for the Way Forward for the United States Regarding Syria,” US State Department, January 17, 2018.