Multiple Meanings and Practices of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda in the Asia‐ Pacific: A Multi‐Scalar Regional Analysis

Sarah Sharma, Queen's University; Jennifer Mustapha, Huron University College at Western; Stéphanie Martel, Queen's University


Gender, Peace and Security in Southeast Asia


Although the UN’s Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda is now over 20 years old, it has only recently gained traction in the more formal national and regional workings of the Asia-Pacific. States in the region have started to articulate official WPS national action plans (NAPs). Regional institutions are beginning to adopt joint statements on the WPS agenda, signalling an emerging regional view. Multi-track diplomacy networks are increasingly investing in WPS-focused regional security dialogue. As a result, new opportunities for actors of Asia-Pacific security governance are arising, for both engagement and contestation, around the WPS agenda. This paper explores the emergence of a regional, multi-scalar field of multiple meanings and practices relating to WPS. It analyses how dynamics of diffusion, localization, and resistance unfold in various regional spaces of conversation as they pertain to the WPS agenda. The paper argues that new areas of ambiguity, friction, and tension are emerging as competing meanings of the intersection between gender and security are developed, negotiated, and opposed at the regional and national levels, but also outside the state.

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