Summer is the policy review season

colorful-reaching-handsIn the midst of summer bbq’s, heatwaves and cottage visits, WPSN-C members have been busy participating in two policy reviews launched by the Canadian government. Our submissions are now on our website!

Canada’s International Assistance Review (IAR) involved numerous consultations across the country (and in embassies around the world). WPSN-C members (both organizations and individuals) participated in informal discussions and frequent consultations. We sought to highlight the importance of gender analysis and the WPS agenda in the discussions of peace and security assistance. We organized our own informal consultation, bringing together WPSN-C members and Global Affairs Canada Staff. And we explored – along with many others – what a feminist lens means or could mean for Canada’s international assistance.

There are many other submissions online, here are a few examples:

The other major policy review was the Defence Policy Review. This differed in tone as well as substance from the IAR. Most of the consultations were by invitation only, but there was an online portal for inputs and discussion. Although not originally envisioned as part of the consultation process, there was a specific consultation on gender perspectives and issues organized on July 19th. Several WPSN-C members participated and we learned a lot from the discussions.  Short submissions by participants in that Roundtable are available online.

Now we wait for the dust to settle and the results of these consultation processes. How will the government sort through the 100s (if not 1000s) of inputs, submissions, ideas and comments? What ideas will influence the final document and emerging directions?

We hope that the Government’s commitment to a feminist approach is reflected in strong analysis, an ambitious agenda, and new resources in both Canada’s emerging defence and international assistance policies. For international assistance, the easy road is to ‘repackage’ what is already being done, stamping a ‘women and girls’ label on business-as-usual initiatives. For our defence policy, a major question is whether there will be new resources allocated to gender equality related priorities. We will be watching to see if these consultations result in policies and investments that truly reflect “because it’s 2016.”

By Beth Woroniuk, Coordinator/WPSN-C and independent consultant. Follow her on twitter @bethottawa

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