Twelve reasons why climate change adaptation M&E is challenging

Posted on 21 January, 2014 – 10:34 AM

Bours, Dennis, Colleen McGinn, and Patrick Pringle. 2014. “Guidance Note 1: Twelve Reasons Why Climate Change Adaptation M&E Is Challenging.” SeaChange & UKCIP     Available as a pdf

“Introduction:  Climate change adaptation (CCA) refers to how people and systems adjust to the actual or expected effects of climate change. It is often presented as a cyclical process developed in response to climate change impacts or their social, political, and economic consequences. There has been a recent upsurge of interest in CCA among international development agencies resulting in stand-alone adaptation programs as well as efforts to mainstream CCA into existing development strategies. The scaling up of adaptation efforts and the iterative nature of the adaptation process means that Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) will play a critical role in informing and improving adaptation polices and activities. Although many CCA programmes may look similar to other development interventions, they do have specific and distinct characteristics that set them apart. These stem from the complex nature of adaptation itself. CCA is a dynamic process that cuts across scales and sectors of intervention, and extends long past any normal project cycle. It is also inherently uncertain: we cannot be entirely sure about the course of climate change consequences, as these will be shaped by societal decisions taken in the future. How then should we define, measure, and assess the achievements of an adaptation programme?  The complexities inherent in climate adaptation programming call for a nuanced approach to M&E research. This is not, however, always being realised in practice. CCA poses a range of thorny challenges for evaluators. In this Guidance Note, we identify twelve challenges that make M&E of CCA programmes difficult, and highlight strategies to address each. While most are not unique to CCA, together they present a distinctive package of dilemmas that need to be addressed.”

See also: Bours, Dennis, Colleen McGinn, and Patrick Pringle. 2013. Monitoring and evaluation for climate change adaptation: A synthesis of tools, frameworks and approaches, UKCIP & SeaChange, pdf version (3.4 MB)

See also:  Dennis Bours, Colleen McGinn, Patrick Pringle, 2014, “Guidance Note 2: Selecting indicators for climate change adaptation programming” SEA Change CoP, UKCIP

” This second Guidance Note follows on from that discussion with a narrower question: how does one go about choosing appropriate indicators? We begin with a brief review of approaches to CCA programme design, monitoring, and evaluation (DME). We then go on to discuss how to identify appropriate indicators. We demonstrate that CCA does not necessarily call for a separate set of indicators; rather, the key is to select a medley that appropriately frames progress towards adaptation and resilience. To this end, we highlight the importance of process indicators, and conclude with remarks about how to use indicators thoughtfully and well”

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