Updated: Jul 11
Luxembourg announced its intention to implement a feminist foreign policy in its Coalition Agreement in late 2018. The intention was to centre the promotion of the following thematic priorities through diplomatic dialogue: social and political representation of women, women’s equal opportunities (in education, employment, social services, health, and land and property rights), women’s sexual and reproductive health rights, and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex people.
In June 2021, the Luxembourg government pledged to establish an Action Plan on Feminist Foreign Policy, in order to mainstream gender equality across all its activities, at the Generation Equality Forum. Luxembourg's Feminist Foreign Policy prioritizes three Ds, namely diplomacy, development, and defence. It aims to systematically include the principles of feminist foreign policy in the implementation of all dimensions of its external action. It committed to launching a gender development cooperation strategy, and to adopting goals around gender mainstreaming and adopting a policy of zero tolerance toward sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment (SEAH).
Luxembourg grounds its feminist foreign policy in other instruments and frameworks such as the WPS Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and its commitments under Goals 5 and 16 in particular, the CEDAW Convention, and the Equal Rights Coalition, which seeks to advance the rights of LGBTI people. In pursuit of its Feminist Foreign Policy goals, the Luxembourg government adopted a National Action Plan under the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda, from 2018 to 2023. Within this scope, it focuses on the protection and promotion of the human rights and sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls, and to fight violence perpetuated against women. It also aims at enhancing the representation and participation of women in multilateral forums, electoral observation missions, education, and recruitment, among other areas, and reinforcing women’s autonomy in these spaces. Third, it aims at promoting gender equality within the structures of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, its national action plan, competency-based recruitment policies, work-life balance, language, trainings, and legal frameworks.
It also emphasized on gender equality (aside from environmental sustainability and human rights) as one of the goals of its Development Cooperation Strategy of 2018. In 2021, as part of this Development Cooperation strategy, Luxembourg also adopted a Gender Strategy to strengthen its multidimensional and intersectional approach to sustainable development, in effect, leaving no one behind.
There is no concrete literature in place on the impact or the measures of the impact of Luxembourg’s feminist foreign policy. However, it ranks among one of the top 20 donors to the UN Women, supports the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, and recruited women to constitute 60% of the total workforce within the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in 2020. Its emphasis on acknowledging a feminist foreign policy that covers defence, diplomacy, and development is laudatory, but the extent of impact on the defence and diplomacy components remains unclear. According to the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) data in 2021, 46% of Luxembourg’s ODA was gender-focused (8% with gender as a principal objective, and over 38% as a significant objective).
1) ICRW, Defining Feminist Foreign Policy: A 2021 Update
2) WPS Focal Points Network, Luxembourg https://wpsfocalpointsnetwork.org/luxembourg/
3) Chronicle.lu, Luxembourg Presents Feminist Foreign Policy at International Meeting https://chronicle.lu/category/abroad/35646-luxembourg-presents-feminist-foreign-policy-at-international-meeting