Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is the last stage in the OECD's outline of a generic adaptation process. It is important because it serves to determine whether measures have actually achieved their results in terms of reducing vulnerability or mitigating impacts, as well as ensuring accountability. Furthermore, because of uncertainty about climate change, the correct adaptation measures can often not be designed ex ante, but have to be found via a circle of experimentation, evaluation, and learning. Differently from mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation assesses the impact of a project after its start and aims to improve its performance, while mainstreaming aims to estimate the impact of decisions before they are implemented and narrow down the list of available options.
Adaptation M&E is not fundamentally different from M&E in other policy areas, but there are some additional challenges:
- Uncertainty about climate change and its impacts on society
- Lack of a universal metric for measuring success (such as reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions as universal metric for mitigation). The success of adaptation interventions is therefore difficult to quantify and often cannot be directly compared across different locations.
- Close interconnection between climatic and non-climatic stressors. The increased risk of bushfires in Mozambique, for example, is the result not only of greater aridity, but also of the spread of slash-and-burn clearing in response to population growth and the decline in traditional governance of natural resources (INGC 2009 ).
- Long time scales. In many cases, the ultimate success of adaptation can only be measured far into the future.
In the context of climate change, vulnerability assessments can be of particular use not only to determine how to act, but also whether a strategy has been successful. If adaptation to climate change is done effectively, this should be reflected through reduced vulnerability of the target exposure unit or system, either by increasing its adaptive capacity or by decreasing the exposure or sensitivity. Therefore, it should be possible to use VAs in order to monitor and evaluate adaptation interventions. For this purpose, there are certain aspects that VAs should fulfil, e.g. objectivity, reliability, validity, and robustness. Pilot projects currently undertaken will show to which degree repetitive VAs can be used for M&E adaptation policies and interventions.
- Overview of M&E approaches and experiences on AdaptationCommunity.net
- A closer look at monitoring & evaluation
- ↑ INGC (2009): Study on the Impact of Climate Change on Disaster Risk in Mozambique: Synthesis Report. National Institute for Disaster Management, May 2009.
- ↑ GIZ (2013). Vulnerability Assessments: Experiences of GIZ with Vulnerability Assessments at the local level.