Fostering dialogue and learning on M&E of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction policies

Submitted by Stephanie Ferguson | published 31st Jul 2017 | last updated 16th Jun 2020
sparkles Fostering dialogue and learning on M&E of CCA and DRR policies

Introduction

Although significant progress has been achieved in the fields of climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) in recent years, experience in policy monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is still rather limited and hence fundamental conceptual and methodological challenges remain. Furthermore, despite their common ground in managing risks and reducing negative impacts of climate change and disasters, CCA and DRR have evolved separately to a large extent, and thus opportunities for knowledge exchange have been limited. However, as the number of countries developing M&E schemes to track the implementation of relevant policies and assess their impacts is growing, interest in sharing experiences and learning from each other, as well as in aligning relevant processes when such opportunities exist, becomes greater.

This session at the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference (5-9 June 2017, Glasgow), which was hosted by the PLAtform for Climate Adaptation and Risk reDuction (PLACARD) project, focused on fostering dialogue and learning on M&E of CCA and DRR policies. Five speakers shared their experience in designing and implementing M&E systems, presenting examples from Europe and beyond. The discussion that followed revolved around the challenges that evaluators often encounter when attempting to develop meaningful and effective M&E procedures, and the lessons learned so far.

Presentations and lessons learned from the discussion are presented below. For further information please contact Eleni Karali. For more information and other outputs from PLACARD click here.

Lessons learned

  • Having acknowledged that there is no perfect, shining example of an M&E system, participants underlined the importance of people who design M&E schemes reflecting on and sharing their experiences of what worked and what didn’t.
  • Taking time to define the purpose and objectives of a national M&E system at an early stage is an important step that can save time and resources, and help in making better decisions at a later stage.
  • Learning is often one of the fundamental purposes of M&E systems. While it can be as complex as adaptation itself, evaluators should try to distinguish between different types: technical learning; social learning; systemic learning. A focus on systemic learning, which aims to improve policy-making and implementation, seems to be lacking in many of the current M&E systems.
  • There seems to be a gap between people carrying out M&E activities and their ability to translate the results of these activities into meaningful messages for policy-makers. This gap must be bridged if we aim to use M&E results to inform policies and other relevant decisions.
  • No single indicator is perfect. A single indicator might tell a very different story compared to the one reflected by when the same indicator is seen in combination with others. This is why indicators should be seen as a set rather than individually.
  • Sharing information across countries can be useful. Yet borrowing a set of indicators only can be helpful only if evaluators have a clear idea of what they aim to achieve and what they try to assess.
  • To obtain the knowledge needed to revise indicators and/or the overall methodological approach (i.e. what improvements could or should be implemented and where), evaluators need to go through a full M&E cycle at least once.

Webinar: Monitoring & evaluation to enhance adaptation and reduce disaster risk

This webinar, held in February 2017, examined some of the lessons learned from M&E emerging from CCA and DRR evaluation processes, and considered how we can ensure that learning can inform practice in both fields. More details can be found here.