Making Adaptation Count: Concepts and Options for Monitoring and Evaluation of Climate Change Adaptation

Adaptation efforts have evolved significantly in recent years. Alongside growing political recognition, a wealth of new experience in implementation has been gained. While much remains to be learned in terms of what constitutes successful adaptation, the time has come to consider seriously how to most effectively use available funding.

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems have a critical role to play as stakeholders seek to ensure that their investments are effective in building climate resilience.  How do we account for success and learn from failures as we confront the complexities and uncertainties of climate change adaptation? How do we know when we are reducing climate risks? To what extent are we succeeding, and who is benefitting?

Aimed at development practitioners and decision makers, this publication offers a roadmap for designing M&E systems for climate change adaptation that help fulfill core principles of aid effectiveness. It brings together the latest thinking on adaptation and practical experiences from development cooperation, building on the work of the World Resources Institute (WRI), as well as the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It argues that M&E systems need to enable results-based management, promote flexibility, and support iterative learning as the world grapples with the uncertainties of climate change impacts. Achieving these goals requires development practitioners to carefully articulate their adaptation objectives, clarify the basis for their project design, and make transparent their assumptions regarding, for example, climatic, social and economic factors that may influence the project’s ability to help vulnerable people thrive in a changing climate. With this foundation, project managers can then select indicators and build information systems that are able to track adaptation success.  This publication outlines a six-step sequence to support this process.

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