Best Practices in Monitoring and Evaluation of Urban Climate Adaptation: A Literature Review

Sara Mills-Knapp, Owen Scott, Aimee Rose, Chemonics International Inc.
Posted on: 1/16/2024 - Updated on: 1/16/2024

Posted by




Increasingly, cities are taking control of assessing their local or regional vulnerability to climate variability and extreme weather events and implementing adaptation strategies to reduce their vulnerability. Cities will need a framework to measure and assess their adaptation activities and guide improvements to their strategies. At the international and national levels, adaptation monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is further along in development than in cities, and could serve as a guide.

To build resilience at the speed necessary to meet looming climate related impacts, cities need to act quickly and adjust during planning or implementation of adaptation actions. Improving adaptation M&E will help to ensure that cities are not wasting time and money on ineffective adaptation actions.

There is a range of approaches to vulnerability assessment and adaptation M&E, and there is a need to identify good practices or standards in the design of city-level adaptation M&E frameworks. This literature review and review of adaptation frameworks provides guidance on developing robust, practical, and resource-efficient urban adaptation M&E systems. The intended audience comprises adaptation practitioners, the climate adaptation M&E field, and the development community at large.

Key Messages

There are M&E approaches that are working at all scales of application. Key elements of these approaches include:

  • Good practice in M&E generally also applies to M&E for adaptation actions.
  • Planning and design are crucial, but iterations and flexibility to adjust are vital.
  • Swift action is as important as getting a strong foundation. 
  • Proper institutional structures will ease and enhance implementation. 
  • Codifying adaptation M&E helps ensure success. 


The literature review identified adaptation M&E frameworks for analysis by using the following criteria:

  • Information on the process and application of the framework was available publicly.
  • Focused on climate change adaptation (not disaster response or other related topics).
  • Relevant to urban context and sectors.
  • Applied recently (within the last 5 years) or recent iterations have been published.
  • Robustly cited and referenced Frameworks from international development organizations, national governments, and cities were explored.


Sara Mills-Knapp, Owen Scott, Aimee Rose (2019). Best Practices in Monitoring and Evaluation of Urban Climate Adaptation: A Literature Review. Prepared by Chemonics International Inc.

Affiliated Organizations

USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. We partner to end extreme poverty and to promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity.

Related Resources