Three EU flags
The EU wants to help its partner countries gain more gender equality.

Assisting the European Commission with gender and human rights

NIRAS’ experts support the European Commission in its work on gender equality and women’s empowerment

The Gender Advisory Service is a support desk managed by NIRAS that assists the European Commission in successfully implementing its framework for promoting gender equality in its partner countries: The Gender Action Plan.

The EU is committed to improving gender equality and supports its partner countries – developing, enlargement and neighbourhood countries, including those in fragile situations – in the creation of an enabling environment to prevent gender discrimination.

To this end, the European Commission has designed The Gender Action Plan II 2016 to 2020, called GAP for short. GAP provides a framework for action which helps the EC measure its progress on gender equality in its external relations and cooperation with third countries.

GAP outlines four pivotal areas to focus on. The first three are thematic and can be summed up as: Girls’ and women’s physical and psychological integrity, their economic and social rights and their voice and participation.

The fourth area emphasises shifting the institutional culture so that an awareness of gender perspectives is integrated into the modus operandi of all EU actors in their external relations.


We want to provide our partners with the effective support they need (…)

- EU High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini on the adoption of the GAP II

Implementation reports and lessons learnt

The Gender Support Desk which NIRAS manages is composed of four senior gender experts and a roster of short-term experts. The desk provides technical expertise in gender analysis and gender mainstreaming to EU-staff in their work with GAP.

The work of the support desk also involves disseminating key information, lessons learned and good practices related to gender programming and gender mainstreaming in all sectors of development cooperation such as agriculture, the environment and more.

Another important task is to monitor and assess progress and results against indicators related to the four pivotal areas that GAP outlines. This results in yearly GAP implementation reports. 

Last but not least, the support desk facilitates networking of the gender focal points of EU delegations and provides capacity development.

The Gender Support Desk is available to the DG-DEVCO (Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development) as well as EU delegations in third countries.