Maximizing the Impacts of Targeted Gender Analyses for the National Adaptation Plan Process

Submitted by Cesar Henrique Arrais | published 7th Sep 2023 | last updated 27th Sep 2023
Why Gender Matters for Effective Adaptation to Climate Change
Unidentified Beninese couple sails in a wooden boat over the lake Nokwe.

This assessment focuses on a sample of nine countries—Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kiribati, Madagascar, Marshall Islands and Togo— that have undertaken gender analyses for their NAP processes since 2017.


The National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process represents an important opportunity to ensure that investments in adaptation are effective and sustainable and that they generate equitable benefits for people of all genders and social groups, including those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Gender analysis is an essential tool for gender-responsive NAP processes, enabling countries to understand gender differences in climate change impacts, decision-making power, and opportunities to participate in—and benefit from—adaptation, as well as the opportunities and gaps in the policy and institutional context. Seizing this opportunity, the NAP Global Network has worked with several countries to undertake targeted gender analyses to inform their NAP processes.

In 2019, the NAP Global Network published a first briefing note on gender analyses for the
NAP process describing the rationale and approach used in six African countries and presenting common themes that emerged from the process, as well as lessons learned. A few years on, this second briefing note seeks to assess how the gender analyses have been used as countries advanced their NAP processes, the changes they contributed to, and the key factors that enabled those changes.

In sharing these reflections, we aim to demonstrate the value of targeted gender analysis in promoting adaptation action that is gender responsive, while also documenting learning that may be useful for other countries undertaking gender analysis for their NAP processes. The findings are illustrated by concrete examples from the countries included in the assessment. Finally, key factors are identified for maximizing the impact of these analyses in advancing gender-responsive
NAP processes.

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This assessment focuses on a sample of nine countries that have undertaken gender analyses for their NAP processes since 2017, including five of the six countries covered in the first briefing note, as well as four analyses that were subsequently completed. It is based on a review of country documents, including NAPs, gender and climate change strategies, and other relevant documents (such as implementation strategies) to analyze how the findings and recommendations of the gender analyses have been integrated. The document review was complemented by information gained through exchanges with representatives from four countries. The countries were able to respond through interviews or by filling in a questionnaire.

Overview of the Gender Analyses

Gender analysis is a tool that builds understanding of gender differences in the distribution of resources, opportunities, and constraints, as well as roles, relationships, and power dynamics among people of different genders. It helps to identify gender-specific needs and priorities, providing a basis for integrating gender considerations in policies, programs, and institutions.

The gender analyses included in this assessment were supported by the NAP Global Network between 2017 and 2022. According to the first NAP Global Network briefing note on gender analysis, gender analyses for NAP processes typically consist of four major components:

  • a policy and institutional analysis, which aims to understand how gender and climate change adaptation are linked, or not, in existing policies, strategies, and institutional arrangements;
  • a technical analysis exploring the links between gender and climate change—for example in priority sectors for adaptation—to identify practical considerations for prioritization, implementation, and monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) of adaptation action;
  • analysis of the implications for the NAP process, elaborating the findings that are relevant for adaptation decision making; and
  • development of recommendations for the NAP process.

Gender analysis is useful to inform decision making throughout the NAP process, from planning, through implementation, and supporting MEL. It is also important for putting in place the enabling factors for the NAP process. The gender analyses reviewed for this briefing note have been mainly carried out in the early stages of the NAP processes.

Across the gender analysis reports assessed for this briefing note, there is some variation in the emphasis on the different components mentioned above, with each country taking a slightly different approach. For example, all four components are addressed in the analysis carried out in the Central African Republic (CAR); however, the analysis undertaken by the Republic of the Marshall Islands focused on the policy and institutional analysis and did not include a technical analysis. These examples confirm the importance of adjusting the methodology to the particular context (taking into account what has already been done) and the objectives that the NAP team is seeking to achieve.

Key Factors That Maximize the Impact of Targeted Gender Analyses for the NAP Process

The extent to which the gender analyses have had an impact on the gender responsiveness of the NAP process varies from one country to another. While it is early to assess the impacts in some countries, the assessment also showed that there have been some missed opportunities to apply the analysis in subsequent steps of NAP processes. However, even if partner governments have faced difficulties in implementing the specific recommendations, the process of undertaking the analysis has contributed to building a foundation for gender-responsive adaptation action. The assessment also points to key factors that can help maximize the impact of gender analyses in advancing gender-responsive NAP processes:

  • Ownership of the gender analysis process by key actors
  • Engagement of key stakeholders, ensuring a diversity of voices
  • Proactive sharing of the results of the gender analysis on an ongoing basis
  • Targeted recommendations that are directed at specific entry points in the NAP Process
  • Ongoing efforts to support application of the gender analysis in the NAP Process

Types of impacts resulting from the gender analyses (Source: Authors; See Figure 3, p. 6).



Looking back at the changes brought about by the gender analyses, it is clear that they added value to the NAP process and helped countries move toward a more gender-responsive approach. The gender analysis processes themselves have served to increase awareness, promote dialogue, and create connections between gender and climate change actors. They also provided recommendations that were either implemented directly or were included in other key documents,  including NAP documents, sectoral NAPs, or more concrete gender and climate change plans.

At the same time, the assessment identified missed opportunities in the application of the gender analyses in country NAP processes. Increasing ownership and strengthening stakeholder engagement in the process can help with this, as can improved dissemination of the results. Follow-up actions that put in place the systems and capacities needed for the integration of gender in NAP processes are needed to build on the analyses. Further, gender analysis is not strictly a planning tool—it must be applied throughout implementation and MEL of adaptation, with clear accountability and ongoing reflection and learning processes.

Further resources