We are proud to be actively engaged in South Africa’s journey towards gender equality, peace, and security through our collaboration on the National Action Plan (NAP) on Women Peace and Security (WPS).

The development of South Africa’s NAP on WPS has been a decade-long endeavour, showcasing the dedication of both government and civil society in crafting a policy instrument that addresses the critical challenges and opportunities within South Africa and beyond. Our nation’s NAP is widely acknowledged as progressive and inclusive, signifying a need for a comprehensive, society-wide approach to its successful implementation.

In South Africa, despite the presence of progressive gender policies and laws, the scourge of gender-based violence and persistent gender inequities remains a stark reality. This is especially poignant for the LGBTQIA+ community, including trans and gender-nonconforming individuals, who continue to face violence and systemic discrimination, further deepening their marginalisation. Addressing these deeply rooted issues necessitates a radical transformation of systems and institutions perpetuating unequal power dynamics and gender-based violence.

While strides have been made to increase women’s participation in governmental and security structures, gender mainstreaming strategies within security institutions need revitalisation, and gender-based violence against women within these institutions remains a concern. South Africa’s significant role in international peace and security processes further underscores the need for increased representation of women in these forums and a stronger advocacy effort for women in conflict-affected regions.

Another challenge we face is the lack of baseline data, which hinders our ability to monitor and evaluate the progress of NAP implementation effectively. Research is indispensable for tracking the NAP’s effectiveness and ensuring its success.

In this context, civil society organisations like IJR play a vital role in promoting, implementing, and monitoring the SA NAP on Women Peace and Security. Our approach is deeply rooted in feminist principles that prioritise inclusivity and democratic participation. We blend these principles with transitional justice and restorative justice lenses, which emphasise rebuilding relationships, trust, and security. Through participatory methods such as awareness campaigns, research initiatives, dialogues, capacity-building programs, and training, we aim to advance the NAP’s objectives. Our approach is inherently collaborative, working hand in hand with both government entities and civil society organisations that have played a pivotal role in shaping the NAP’s development.

In essence, the journey towards gender equality, peace, and security in South Africa is a collective endeavour, and we at IJR are committed to being active participants in this transformative process.