Is the EU Gender Action Plan II actually transforming the lives of women and girls in the world? Has the lives of women and girls improved thanks to EU actions? With its report “Transforming lives: EU Gender Action Plan II – From Implementation to Impact”, CONCORD aims to demonstrate how the EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2020 is being implemented. Based on in-country research in Rwanda, Vietnam and Ghana, CONCORD report provides concrete recommendations on how to bring about a more impactful implementation of the Action Plan.



The Gender Action Plan (GAP) II is the framework for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the EU’s external relations. Two years after its endorsement, its first annual progress report showed that key challenges remain and much still needs to be done to ensure all EU actors meet GAP II commitments. Our report, based on in-country analysis in Rwanda, Ghana and Vietnam, reveals the following:


  • There are enabling factors for GAP’s positive impact in the mid-long-term.
  • In all three countries, Rwanda, Vietnam and Ghana, there is an awareness of, and political commitment to, gender equality and women’s empowerment. But the next step is ensuring implementation and translation of policies and political will into practice.
  • Questions remain around implementation, and impact varies across population groups. Rural populations, minority populations and people with disabilities tend to be left behind.
  • Where the objectives of GAP II match those of other donors and of the SDGs, strategic efforts to achieve them have a mutually reinforcing effect.
  • All actors encourage the EU Delegation to increase its leadership role in coordination on gender, using its leverage .
  • In all three countries, there needs to be increased knowledge and commitment within the sectors and amongst those responsible for programming, especially in the priority sectors where large sums of money are directed to government through budget support.
  • Gender must be mainstreamed in all sectors, including in non-social sectors such as trade, energy, agriculture and migration, and in a way to moves beyond the tick box approach.
  • The EU must promote CSO inclusion at all levels if GAP II is to achieve its goal of transforming the lives of women and girls.