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Promoting gender-responsive adaptation in the agriculture sectors: Entry points within National Adaptation Plans

Using the framework of the NAP process, this brief provides an overview of the key gender issues to consider and main entry points for gender mainstreaming in the agriculture sector.
Figure 1: Gender entry points in NAP Formulation (FAO).
Addressing Gender in Climate Change Policies for Agriculture: Colombia, Uganda and Viet Nam


Structural inequalities (e.g. in policies, laws, norms, institutions, etc.) and inequitable power relations at all levels underlie many of the different adaptation challenges that women and men may experience depending on one or more various intersecting factors (e.g. sex, age, socio-economic group, ethnicity, caste, etc.). Furthermore, if adaptation processes do not identify and address inequitable power relations or social norms, or identify and address the gender-differentiated adaptation needs and interests, they risk creating new gender inequalities which can worsen vulnerabilities.

Using the framework of the National Adaptation Plans (NAP) process, this brief*provides an overview of the key issues to consider and main entry points for gender mainstreaming in the development of NAPs for the agriculture sectors. Examples from the recent experiences of some of the 11 countries participating in the NAP-Ag Programme illustrate where gender, adaptation and agriculture intersect.

*Download the full brief from the right-hand column. Learn more about gender approaches in the Gender and Social Equality Theme.

Gender-responsive NAPs

A gender-responsive NAP is a programme that: (i) recognizes the gender differences in adaptation needs, opportunities and capacities; (ii) ensures the equitable participation and influence of women and men in adaptation decision-making processes; and (iii) ensures gender equitable access to financial resources and other benefits resulting from adaptation investments (Dazé, A. and J. Dekens, 2017).

Entry points for mainstreaming gender in NAPs for agriculture

In this paper the process of formulating and implementing NAPs for the agriculture sector (or of integrating agriculture into an overarching NAP) has been framed as a multi-stakeholder process including four elements and a number of steps therein (see Figure 1 above). These entry-points are outlined below. See the full text for much more detail.

  • Element A: Lay the ground and address the gaps:Element A focuses on setting the foundation for integrating the agriculture sectors in NAPs. This includes undertaking a stocktaking of information on climate change impacts, vulnerabilities and adaptation, as well as the gaps and needs of the enabling environment. There are a number of ways to ensure this early part of the process is gender-responsive, including in the following areas:
    • Align adaptation process with global and national gender policy commitments, including those focusing on agriculture and rural development.
    • Ensure the meaningful participation of stakeholders with a gender and social inclusion perspective.
    • Undertake stocktaking and address capacity gaps on gender.
  • Element B: Prepare a NAP framework: Element B focuses on impact, vulnerability and adaptation assessments, selecting and prioritizing adaptation options, and the formulation of an adaptation framework or plan for the agriculture sectors. From a gender perspective, it is important to ensure that both analyses as well as the process of engaging stakeholders in these actions are gender-sensitive:
    • Conduct gender analysis for adaptation in the agriculture sectors.
    • Address gender in climate vulnerability/ risk assessments and appraisal of adaptation options.
  • Element C: Develop implementation strategies: This element focuses on developing a strategy and enhancing capacities to implement adaptation actions in the agriculture sectors. Gender-related efforts within this element should be informed by the previous elements. In particular, stakeholders’ capacities should be built upon and insights from gender analysis can help prioritize where to focus resources.
    • Reinforce gender-related commitments when integrating the NAP into sectoral planning.
    • Integrate gender-responsive budgeting.
    • Use gender analysis and commit to increasing gender mainstreaming capacity in funding proposals for work related to a NAP.
    • Maintain good gender mainstreaming practices in the adaptation projects that result from the NAP.
    • Manage for gender-sensitive results and long-term change.
  • Element D: Monitor, review, report and communicate: Element D focuses on monitoring and review systems, with particular attention to the success in implementing agricultural adaptation actions, with a possibility for evidencebased learning and revisions. Reporting and communicating adaptation progress are fundamental parts of revising and improving NAPs. Integrating gender into this element is crucial to be able to assess who is adapting and to share lessons learned with all stakeholders.
    • Develop gender-sensitive indicators and collect and use disaggregated data for monitoring.
    • Document and communicate lessons learned on gender in adaptation.

Key messages

1. Climate change does not impact everyone in a community or country in the same way; greater attention to the structural inequalities and gendered power relations that impact resilience and adaptation, particularly in the context of small-holder agriculture, pastoralism, fisheries and forestry is crucial for effective adaptation planning in the agriculture sectors.

2. Adaptation responses in the agriculture sectors are shaped by formal and informal institutions and processes; to avoid reinforcing existing inequalities and to identify adaptation options that are relevant to more people, a gender perspective should be integrated into the formulation and implementation of NAPs and other planning processes for the agriculture sectors.

3. Meeting gender-related adaptation goals requires sustained actions from multiple actors and institutions (e.g. agriculture and related ministries, extension services, community resource groups, financial and insurance organizations, climate information services, community land use groups; customary leadership, etc.).

Integrating agriculture in National Adaptation Plans

This publication was made possible by the Integrating Agriculture In National Adaptation Plans Programme (NAP-Ag) led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the United Nations Development Programme, with generous support from the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. The programme supports Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and developing countries to identify and integrate climate adaptation measures in the agriculture sectors (crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture) into relevant national planning and budgeting through the formulation and implementation of NAPs.

Suggested citation

FAO, 2018. Promoting gender-responsive adaptation in the agriculture sectors: Entry points within National Adaptation Plans.

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