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We began by collecting all publicly available National Action Plans (NAPs). Where the NAP was not available in English, we had the document translated. This created an English-language dataset of all available NAPs, including those that have since been superseded.

For each NAP, we noted several data-points: country; region; year of publication; and the government agency or organisation that co-ordinated the development of, or took responsibility for, the Plan (such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or the Ministry of Defence). In the case of the first three data points (country, region and year of publication), this information was easily drawn from the National Action Plans. However, in the case of the department or organisation responsible for co-ordination, this occasionally required subjective assessment; for example, both of the Ugandan National Action Plans (published in 2008 and 2011) are attributed to the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. We coded this under ‘Gender/Women’, though a convincing argument could be made for an alternative code, such as ‘Social Affairs’.

Keyword mentions

To generate data on how frequently various terms were used in each NAP, we used NVivo, a piece of software that helps researchers conduct qualitative analysis on large datasets. For each NAP, we searched for various terms which you can see displayed as the ‘filters’ on the page with the interactive map. These filters – and the actual search terms that we searched for in each NAP – are as follows:

Filter Actual search term
refugee/IDP asylum OR refugee OR displaced
disasters disasters
sexual and reproductive health reproductive
human trafficking traffick
climate change environment OR climate OR environmental
civil society “civil society”
transitional justice mechanisms “transitional justice” OR reconciliation OR reparations
men and boys “men and boys”
sexual violence “sexual violence” OR rape OR “sexual and gender-based violence” OR “sexual and other violence” OR “gender-based violence” OR “gender-based persecution”
human rights defenders “human rights defenders”
small arms and light weapons “arms trade” OR “small arms” OR “light weapons”
terrorism/extremism terrorism OR terror OR terrorist OR extremism OR extremist OR radical OR radicalized OR radicalised OR radicalisation OR radicalization
prevention prevention
participation participation
protection protection
humanitarian (relief & recovery) humanitarian

Extent of civil society involvement, budget specification, and detail on monitoring & evaluation

We went through each NAP individually by hand, to investigate:

  1. the level of civil society involvement in the planning and implementation of the Plan;
  2. the level of budget specification; and
  3. the extent to which monitoring and evaluation (M&E) was specified.

These three elements were scored according to a six-point scale.

Civil society engagement
0 There was no civil society involvement in the NAP
1 There was a mention of civil society (such as a thank you given on an acknowledgements page but no specification of activity or extent of involvement)
2 Civil society involvement was ill-defined (such as a reference to civil society being consulted on the NAP but without any clear indication of what that meant)
3 Civil society involvement was clearly defined (such as a reference to civil society being involved in a focus group or a steering committee)
4 Civil society involvement was extensively defined (such as civil society being offered the opportunity to provide feedback on a draft of the NAP or providing comprehensive input into the drafting process)
5 Civil society was a co-drafter of the NAP

0 No mention of budget
1 Budget is mentioned but no specification (such as being included in agencies’ existing budgets)
2 Budget is mentioned but ill-defined (such as there being a recognition of a need for a dedicated budget for the implementation of the NAP, but without one being provided)
3 Budget is broadly defined (such as the provision of an overall total amount for the implementation of the NAP)
4 Budget is well-defined (such as each section of activity having a clearly specific budget)
5 Budget is extensively defined (with each individual activity having a corresponding budget line)

Monitoring and evaluation
0 No mention of M&E
1 Mention of M&E but no specification (such as a recognition that M&E is important but without indicating how it will be undertaken)
2 Mention of M&E but ill-defined (may only have some of activities, timeframes and responsible parties, with little detail on that which is included)
3 M&E broadly defined (such as activities broadly defined, timeframes being the duration of the NAP and parties broadly identified)
4 M&E well defined (such as an indication of two of the three of: specific activities including measurable outcomes, as well as timeframes and responsible party/ies).
5 M&E extensively defined (with a clear and comprehensive specification of specific activities including measurable outcomes, as well as timeframes and responsible party/ies).

There is a great deal of variation amongst NAPs, so even though we used the above scales for the purposes of coding, there was an element of interpretive analysis necessary when determining how extensively each NAP engaged with civil society, budgetary issues and monitoring and evaluation.

It should also be noted that these findings are based solely on our interpretation of the material presented in the text of the National Action Plan; this phase of desk-based research does not interrogate the validity of claims, for example, that civil society organisations were ‘consulted’ in the drafting of the NAP, or that a particular budget has been allocated to a specific initiative or activity. From this phase of research, we have no way of evaluating the extent – or even the existence of – such consultation or budget allocation. Thus, we do not evaluate the accuracy of the representations contained within each Plan, but instead report on the content. Further research would be required to engage with the question of how accurately the Plans represent the experience of NAP drafting and formulation within each country on a case-by-case basis.


We included an indication as to which of the pillars each NAP ‘skews’ towards (where sufficient data is available). These ‘skews’ are based on the raw counts of the pillars of ‘prevention’, ‘participation’ and ‘protection’ and are therefore are designed to give a sense of the pillar upon which the NAP places the greatest emphasis [1]. However, we did use raw counts of these pillars, meaning that, with ‘prevention’ for example, we would have captured the ‘prevention of conflict’ and the ‘prevention of sexual and gender-based violence’, but have no way of knowing which of these dominates in the document. Similarly, ‘protection’ captures both the protection of rights, and the protection from violence.

Map projection and the politics of representation

We considered many different map projections in the preparation of this website, recognising that all projections are partial and political. In addition to the question of projection, we needed to consider the existence of contested boundaries, and even of naming (Aotearoa/New Zealand, for example). We have used the United Nations Geospatial Information Section map of the world today to inform our interactive world map.

In addition, we recognise that boundaries and naming are, in many contexts, implicated in former and ongoing practices of colonial domination. Learn more about land rights, native title, and the dispossession of Indigenous communities:

The above links direct to external content for which we can take no responsibility and over which we have no control.

We hope that the research we present here provides a useful resource for the Women, Peace and Security research, policy, and advocacy community. If you have any feedback on the data, or questions about the research, please contact the Principal Investigator, Professor Laura J. Shepherd, by email at

1 We have only included three of the pillars because we have not, at this stage, been able to find a straightforward way to code for the fourth pillar (humanitarian/relief & recovery) to accurately determine ‘skew’. This remains a work in progress.