Towards Gender-Responsive National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Processes: Progress and Recommendations for the Way Forward

Published: 1st May 2018 17:54Last Updated: 12th October 2018 22:43
Gender-responsive National Adaptation Plan (NAP) processes
 A Gender-Responsive NAP Process

Summary

This report presents an analysis of progress on integrating gender considerations in NAP processes.  It is based on a review of completed NAP documents available on NAP Central at the end of January 2018, as well as data collected directly from country NAP teams. Based on this analysis, the authors draw out lessons learned to date and identify common themes across countries. Although countries are at different stages in their NAP processes, we believe that enough progress has been made to generate some useful lessons.

The aim of this synthesis report is to help countries engaged in NAP processes who are interested in pursuing gender-responsive approaches, regardless of what stage of the process they are. The report may also be of interest to development partners who are providing capacity development and technical support to adaptation actors involved in NAP processes.

Explore more resources on gender-responsive NAP processes from the NAP Global Network.

Recommendations

Recommendations for NAP teams and development partners

Based on the above challenges, as well as our findings, we recommend the following actions by NAP teams:

  • Commit to a gender-responsive NAP process going forward.
  • Develop a more nuanced understanding of gender and climate change linkages to inform the NAP process.
  • Use the NAP process to enhance institutional linkages between climate change adaptation and gender equality.
  • Improve gender balance in NAP-related institutional arrangements.
  • Identify existing capacities and gaps related to gender and climate change adaptation.
  • Undertake gender-balanced and inclusive stakeholder engagement for NAP processes.
  • Use gender analysis and stakeholder inputs efficiently and effectively.

Recognizing the important role played by development partners in supporting country NAP processes, we offer the following recommendations for these actors:

  • Invest in in-country capacity building on gender adaptation.
  • Enable participatory and inclusive adaptation decision-making processes.
  • Harmonize guidance on gender mainstreaming in adaptation.
  • Share knowledge on gender and climate change adaptation with government partners and other actors.

Recommendations for government actors

Government actors lead the NAP process, meaning they have the power to shape how it unfolds and how gender issues are integrated. These recommendations are oriented toward NAP focal points and other actors who are involved in coordination of the NAP process. For more detail, see chapter 7 of the full text.

  • Commit to a gender-responsive NAP process going forward. What this commitment looks like will depend on the context; however, our analysis demonstrates that opportunities remain to more effectively integrate gender considerations, regardless of the stage that countries are at in their NAP processes. 
  • Develop a more nuanced understanding of gender and climate change linkages to inform the NAP process. Targeted gender analysis will support informed decision making in the NAP process, enabling NAP teams to unpack assumptions and analyze specific issues related to their particular context and NAP process. This includes differences among women and men and intersections of gender with other drivers of vulnerability to climate change.
  • Use the NAP process to enhance institutional linkages between climate change adaptation and gender equality. Dialogue between gender and climate change adaptation actors is vital for effective integration of gender in NAP processes. Creating institutional linkages between the ministry responsible for gender and the team leading the NAP process creates the conditions for this dialogue to occur and increases the likelihood that gender issues will be considered. 
  • Improve gender balance in NAP-related institutional arrangements, in terms of both participation and influence. The planning and coordination mechanisms that are established for the NAP process should strive for gender balance in participation and influence in decision making. Recognizing that participation is often determined by role, not by individual, this may require specific actions to promote women’s leadership in relevant ministries, and to ensure that institutions with women in decision-making roles are included. 
  • Identify existing capacities and gaps related to gender and climate change adaptation. For NAP processes to be gender-responsive, capacities are needed by both gender actors and adaptation actors, within government and among stakeholders. 
  • Undertake gender-balanced and inclusive stakeholder engagement for NAP processes. UNFCCC guidance recommends that NAP processes should be participatory and transparent, with consideration of vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems (UNFCCC, 2011). This creates a clear mandate for stakeholder engagement in the process. Gender-balanced involvement of stakeholders in adaptation planning, implementation and monitoring & evaluation is critical for NAP processes to be gender-responsive, again with the understanding that gender balance is about more than representation. 
  • Use gender analysis and stakeholder inputs efficiently and effectively. Many countries face resource limitations for undertaking their NAP processes, which can limit the scope of analysis and stakeholder engagement that can be feasibly conducted. An important first step is taking stock of what has already been done that can inform the NAP process. 

Recommendations for development partners supporting NAP processes

Many bilateral and multilateral development partners are providing support to countries for their NAP processes. These partners have an opportunity to work with countries to improve integration of gender, building on existing policies and programs.

Invest in in-country capacity building on gender and adaptation. Capacity to integrate gender in the NAP process is a barrier to progress on this issue. Development partners can support country governments in filling capacity gaps, for example by providing dedicated human resources (such as a climate change advisor in the ministry focused on gender) and facilitating access to training and technical support. To ensure that information is available for gender-responsive decision making in the longer term, the establishment of systems for sex-disaggregated data collection and gender analysis to inform adaptation decision making is another potential area of support. Finally, development partners can contribute to creating opportunities for dialogue among gender and adaptation actors by, for example, financing workshops and knowledge-sharing platforms.

Enable participatory and inclusive adaptation decision-making processes. Development partners should recognize that the NAP is a process, not a document. Participation takes time and ensuring that the process is inclusive requires additional effort and resources, both human and financial. The iterative nature of the process should allow for capacity development and learning by doing, for adaptation outcomes that are equitable and sustained over the longer term. Incorporating flexibility in support to NAP formulation and implementation can facilitate this. At the same time, countries may need support to understand trade-offs associated with different approaches in order identify the most strategic way forward in their particular context.

Harmonize guidance on gender mainstreaming in adaptation. Countries seeking financial assistance for their NAP process face a range of different policies and requirements in relation to gender mainstreaming in adaptation policymaking and program implementation. To increase efficiency, different institutions could work together to ensure that guidance provided to countries is consistent, practical and allows for increasing integration of gender considerations over time as countries develop their capacity, undertake analysis and more effectively engage stakeholders. Aligning gender mainstreaming guidance for NAPs with existing tools and approaches for integrating gender in policies and programs, such as the SDGs, can help to maximize synergies and avoid duplication of effort.

Share knowledge on gender and climate change adaptation with government partners and other actors. Development partners often have a great deal of experience in supporting gender-responsive policy development and program implementation in adaptation and other relevant sectors, sometimes across multiple countries and regions. This knowledge should be captured and shared, in relevant formats and languages, with governments engaged in NAP processes to enable them to incorporate the lessons learned. Concise commentary pieces (such as blogs), case studies, policy briefs and guidance documents may be useful in this regard. Creating opportunities for exchange across countries can also support ongoing learning on gender and climate change adaptation, toward gender-responsive NAP processes.