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Women, Peace and Security governance in the Asia - Pacific: a multi-sclar field of discourse and practice | International Affairs

Published: 1 February 2023

February 1st, 2023 | The UN's Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda is now over 20 years old, yet much of the Asia–Pacific has been slow to engage in formalized WPS work at national and regional scales. In this article, Stéphanie Martel, Jennifer Mustafa, and Sarah E. Sharma examine the relatively recent development of official WPS national action plans by Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Timor-Leste, alongside mounting collective efforts towards WPS governance by regional organizations like ASEAN. We demonstrate the existence of an emerging multi-scalar field of WPS discourse and practice in the Asia–Pacific, which is still in its formative stages and carries the potential for both convergence and contestation as actors work to navigate diverse approaches to WPS governance along various ‘tracks’. This article also points to the limitations of a rigidly formalized elite-driven WPS agenda that neglects well-established communities of practice in the Asia–Pacific. Ultimately, more attention needs to be paid to the complex dynamics that shape the ongoing postcolonial encounters between the broader WPS agenda and the localized historical and discursive contexts of regional WPS governance.

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