"The United States recognizes the responsibility of all nations to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity, including when implemented by means of sexual violence. The United States further recognizes that sexual violence, when used or commissioned as a tactic of war or as a part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilians, can exacerbate and prolong armed conflict and impede the restoration of peace and security."
The National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security was signed by President Obama on 19 December 2011. The ethos behind the Plan is centered upon the idea that gender equality in conflict prevention and peacebuilding is vital to global and national security. President Obama’s Executive Order, titled “Instituting a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security,” outlines outlines various measures to be taken by the United States government to coordinate and institutionalize gender equality efforts in the areas of peacebuilding and conflict prevention. Additionally, the order describes various initiatives to protect women from sexual and gender-based violence and increase access to relief and recovery assistance in conflict areas. A plan is outlined for the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the Agency for International Development to, within 150 days, designate officers tasked with submitting agency-specific Women, Peace and Security plans to the Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor.
The Executive Order outlines five high-level objectives that the U.S. National Action Plan is tasked to meet:
1. National Integration and Institutionalization: Through interagency coordination, policy development, enhanced professional training and education, and evaluation, the United States Government will institutionalize a gender-responsive approach to its diplomatic, development, and defense-related work in conflict-affected environments.
2. Participation in Peace Processes and Decision-making: The United States Government will improve the prospects for inclusive, just, and sustainable peace by promoting and strengthening women’s rights and effective leadership and substantive participation in peace processes, conflict prevention, peacebuilding, transitional processes, and decision-making institutions in conflict-affected environments.
3. Protection from Violence: The United States Government will strengthen its efforts to prevent—and protect women and children from—harm, exploitation, discrimination, and abuse, including sexual and gender-based violence and trafficking in persons, and to hold perpetrators accountable in conflict-affected environments.
4. Conflict Prevention: The United States Government will promote women’s roles in conflict prevention, improve conflict early-warning and response systems through the integration of gender perspectives, and invest in women and girls’ health, education, and economic opportunity to create conditions for stable societies and lasting peace.
5. Access to Relief and Recovery: The United States Government will respond to the distinct needs of women and children in conflict-affected disasters and crises, including by providing safe, equitable access to humanitarian assistance.
Read the action plan or the fact sheet