Analyzing the SDG16+ landscape:

A gap analysis

A gap analysis on SDG16+ can help you to understand who is doing what, what should be done and what resources are needed to advance peace, justice and inclusion


A ‘gap analysis’ is an examination and assessment of the current landscape – including the key stakeholders, policies, plans, laws, practices and resources – for the purpose of identifying the differences between the current state of affairs and where you would like them to be. In the case of SDG16+, a gap analysis examines a country’s current level of commitment and performance in relation to SDG16+ implementation and accountability. In preparing for engagement with SDG16+, you may find it useful to undertake an initial gap analysis in order to determine who is doing what, what should be done and what resources are needed to advance peace, justice and inclusion. 


The process of undertaking a gap analysis can help you to identify the most strategic and effective entry points for engagement in SDG16+ advocacy, implementation and accountability or follow-up and review. It can help you to understand which SDG16+ targets are (or are not) being addressed, whether government and non-government stakeholders are working to address gaps, and what further action and resources may be needed. In addition to being a valuable tool to guide civil society action on SDG16+, a gap analysis can also be a useful resource for governments who may be stretched to capacity in implementing the SDGs. Sharing your gap analysis on SDG16+ with your government, including practical recommendations for action, can be of enormous help to them and can open the door for constructive and positive engagement with government actors going forward.

Putting it into practice

There are many ways of undertaking a gap analysis on SDG16+ and no particular methodology or reporting format needs to be followed. Depending on the focus of your organization, a gap analysis can focus on all of the SDG16+ targets, a smaller group of targets or a specific SDG16+ target or issue. Similarly, you may wish to undertake a gap analysis on SDG16+ as an individual organization, in collaboration with other non-governmental stakeholders or in partnership with government actors.


In carrying out a gap analysis on SDG16+, you should consider the national reports and recommendations from international review mechanisms that address specific SDG16+ issues.  For example, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) all have review processes that provide information on the current state of implementation, gaps, challenges and the actions that are needed to make progress on SDG16+ issues such as violence against children, gender equality, organized crime and corruption.


The following page provides a template for undertaking a gap analysis in relation to SDG16+.

Key TAP Network resource:

Goal 16 Advocacy Toolkit: A practical guide for stakeholders for national-level advocacy around Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies (TAP Network, 2016)

This toolkit provides civil society and other non-governmental stakeholders with guidance on how to engage with their governments and other local, regional or international stakeholders to support the planning, implementation, follow-up and accountability of SDG 16. It includes a short section on preparing a gap analysis. Available at: 


Key tool: Undertaking a gap analysis for peaceful, just and inclusive societies 1

Step 1: Identify who is responsible for implementation or follow-up and review

Consider who is responsible for the implementation or follow-up and review of your SDG16+ target(s) or issue(s), as well as how other stakeholders are or could be involved with key activities related to the target(s) in question. Consideration should be given to both national government stakeholders – such as ministries and legislative bodies – as well as non-governmental stakeholders at local, national, regional and international levels that could provide support for SDG16+ implementation or follow-up and review.

Step 2: Assess current implementation or follow-up and review in participatory ways

Assess the current state of SDG16+ implementation or follow-up and review by consulting with stakeholders, including vulnerable and marginalized groups, government actors and non-governmental stakeholders. Identify key gaps and major obstacles to achieving or reviewing the SDG16+ target(s) in question, as well as any existing good practices that can be built upon. Review current government policies, plans and practices – including national development plans, strategies, laws and action plans – and determine whether they are helping or hindering SDG16+ implementation or follow-up and review.

Step 3: Identify priority areas for action and make recommendations

Determine areas for action to achieve or review the SDG16+ target(s) including policy, legal and/or institutional reforms. Consider dividing actions into short-term (0-5 years), medium-term (5-10 years) and long-term (10-15 years) priorities. Summarize the priority actions in short, clear and practical recommendations, along with a brief rationale as to why the action is needed.

Step 4: Identify resources needed for implementation or follow-up and review

Consider what financial and human resources are needed for the successful implementation or follow-up and review of SDG16+. Assess the capacities of existing institutions, mechanisms, taskforces and stakeholder groups. Identify financial resources – both from national finances and donor resources – for the implementation or follow-up and review of the SDG16+ target(s).

Step 5: Share the gap analysis report with Government

Ideally, government partners will have collaborated on your SDG16+ gap analysis. If this is not the case, present your findings to government actors for discussion and further engagement. Ensure your analysis is concise and focuses on practical and action-based recommendations.