Elements of a frame of reference for evaluating adaptation to climate change: The RAC-Québec case

Submitted by Johann Jacob | published 5th Nov 2015 | last updated 25th Nov 2015

Overview of the report

For this research project we produced a frame of reference for evaluating adaptation to climate change (ACC) and demonstrated its use in the sectors of forestry and the built environment in Southern Québec. To develop the proposed frame of reference, we first analyzed the issues surrounding ACC problem. This analysis resulted in a problem model that illustrates the main variables influencing the planning process leading to the definition of adaptation measures.

Without denying the importance of the contribution from other existing models of resource behavior in sectors confronted by climate change (CC), our model reports on the issues involved in developing public action for adaptation (whether at the generic level or in specific sectors such as forestry and the built environment). Our model also considers the determinants of decision making for stakeholders faced with adopting adaptive actions. For purposes of conciseness, our objective was to produce a simple model. Although our model may appear to simplify a very complex reality, we are aware that decision making in the area of ACC involves numerous constraints.

From our study of the ACC problem, we situated the ACC actions by first developing a Regional Adaptation Collaborative (RAC)-Québec logic model, followed by specific logic models for the sectors of forestry and the built environment in Southern Québec. Taken together, the problem and logic models helped us identify the essential elements to consider in a frame of reference for ACC evaluation.

The research project also led us to survey the principal frameworks for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of ACC and then to analyze and classify their indicators based on the components of our evaluation frame of reference. This classification not only served to clarify the large body of existing indicators, but also inspired certain indicators of our own at the generic and sectoral levels (forestry and built environment in Southern Québec). It should be noted, however, that this classification is not exhaustive, since a systematic inventory of all existing M&E frameworks for ACC was not done. However, this limitation is minimized by the number and rationale of the sources consulted.

The project produced many contributions and benefits. First of all, the problem and logic models made it possible to formulate a comprehensive theory of ACC action and to identify the entire zone of effects around which a frame of reference is organized.

Amid the many existing M&E frameworks in ACC and approaches used to develop them, this work provides a sound conceptual and theoretical base likely to contribute to the field of ACC planning evaluation. The modeling of the ACC problem is based on a survey of literature in the ACC field as well as in economics, policy analysis, and knowledge transfer and use. This plurality of disciplines and rationalities in analyzing the question of ACC planning gives a certain originality to our work. 

We also believe that the indicators compiled and classified will be a useful contribution to practitioners evaluating ACC. This list includes many indicators that can be mobilized and adapted to particular evaluation contexts and needs. 

The full report is available to download from the right-hand column of this page. The French version of the report can be downloaded from the further resources section below.