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Develop multi-sectoral national action plans

Last edited: February 26, 2019

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National action plans (NAPs) are both a way of coordinating the national/federal response and supporting state/provincial and local coordination efforts.  NAPs comprise a whole-of-government policy framework for addressing one or more forms of violence against women.  This can include laying out how legislation or legal reforms will be implemented, outlining mechanisms for the coordination of different sectors at the national and local levels, mapping out the roles of different sectors and agencies and stating how implementation will be monitored and evaluated.  Effective national action plans should also include timescales for achieving these goals and identify budgets/resources.

NAPs can be adapted to all contexts: they are useful where there is minimal coordination as they establish a shared model of response from the outset; at the same time, they have much to offer where there is a wide range of response that has developed in disparate and unconnected ways, where they can provide a coherent overarching framework.

NAPs are considered good practice as they offer a comprehensive multiple-sector approach (UNIFEM, 2010).  They are accepted as an indicator of a national policy on violence against women and political will in addressing it (Council of Europe, 2006).  They can also contribute to democratic debate on whether existing policies are adequate (Morrison et al., 2004; Council of Europe, 2006).

A NAP should contain the following elements:

  • A shared definition of violence against women based on international human rights standards;
  • A policy statement or vision to end violence against women, outlining key issues and the government’s short, medium and longer term goals;
  • A set of guiding principles, which will inform the development and implementation of policies and programmes;
  • The roles and responsibilities of key government ministries/departments;
  • Key priorities for action, with objectives, timelines and indicators of success;
  • Strategies for ensuring departments engage in collaborative responses;
  • Mechanisms for how the national plan is to be implemented at sub-national levels; and
  • Budget/resources.
  • Source: adapted from Queensland Government, Australia (2002) Coordinating Efforts to Address Violence against Women (CEA violence against women) 2002-2005, in English.

NAPs should set as an explicit goal the enhancing of multi-sectoral coordination and outline coordination mechanisms to assist implementation at the national and sub-national levels.  The following examples show how the principle of multi-sectoral coordination is used to frame the overall approach to addressing violence against women outlined in various NAPs, as well as instances where coordination has been made a specific objective.

 

Example: National Plan on Violence against Women 2009-2015 (Peru)

The objectives of Peru’s national plan are to:

  • adopt and implement policies to address violence against women with an inter-sectoral approach at the different levels of government;
  • ensure victim-survivors have access to quality public services; and
  • change socio-cultural attitudes that lead to violence against women.

The plan authorised the establishment of a high-level multi-sectoral commission composed of ministers or deputy ministers from the relevant sectors to implement, monitor and evaluate the plan and various additional structures at the regional and local levels.  In addition to the Ministry of Women and Social Development, which chairs the commission and is responsible for its operation, the ministries of Internal Affairs, Health, Education, Justice and Foreign Affairs participate.  The commission is responsible for developing action plans, liaising with the Finance Ministry to guarantee the necessary funds to implement the plan and incorporating the recommendations of the national working group and regional and local multi-sectoral groups.

The Minister of Women and Social Development also chairs a national working group made up of technical representatives of the relevant sector and civil society organisations.  Regional consultation bodies comprise state and civil society representatives at the regional level.  At the local level, there are inter-agency roundtables bringing together those working directly with victim-survivors.

Source: UN Secretary-General’s Database.

Example: National Plan for the Eradication of Violence against Children, Adolescents and Women (Ecuador)

This NAP was introduced by executive decree by the national government in 2007.  This was the first time that government had taken a role in addressing violence against women, with all previous efforts occurring through civil society initiatives.  The plan is conceived of as multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral and designates the involvement of the ministries of the Interior, Justice, Health, Education, Social and Economic Inclusion, the Attorney General and Judicial Council, as well as the National Councils for Women and for Children and Adolescents.  Objectives include:

  • institutionalising the provisions within the NAP;
  • developing a system of comprehensive support and assistance for victims/survivors through provision of 17 Integral Attention Centres and four shelters funded by the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion;
  • training and capacity building within all sectors involved in delivery of the plan (e.g. teachers, health workers); and prevention.

The Interior Ministry chairs and coordinates the NAP with the help of a coordination team.  There is an Inter-Ministerial Committee composed of government policy makers, and a Technical Secretariat comprising representatives of each institution involved in the plan, which meets every 15 days to assess, plan and monitor progress.  The overall budget allocated to the NAP was $2.7 million in 2008, rising to $6.3 million in 2009.

Source: Serrano, M. (2010) Supporting Paper on Ecuador, United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Good Practices in National Action Plans on Violence Against Women, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 13th-15th September 2010, available in English.

 

Tools and resources:

Handbook for National Action Plans on Violence Against Women (UN Women, 2011), New York: UN Women.  This handbook sets out guidelines to help policy makers and advocates formulate effective national action plans.  It is based on current knowledge on effective policies, the experiences of states who have implemented such plans and the advice of experts from different countries and regions.  Available in English.

Introductory Brief and Suggestions: Formulating National Action Plans (NAPs) to End Violence against Women and Girls (UNIFEM, 2011), New York: UNIFEM.  Provides guidance on key issues to consider in developing a NAP and suggests the main aspects that should be included.  Available in English.

Realising Rights, Fulfilling Obligations: A Template for an Integrated Strategy on Violence Against Women for the UK (Coy, M., Lovett, J. and Kelly, L., 2008), London: End Violence Against Women.  This document analyses ways in which government policies addressing violence against women should be made more integrated and provides a template for developing an integrated strategy.  Available in English.

For more information on developing national action plans, see the Legislation section on this site.