Climate Risk Management: Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Knowledge Management

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Posted on: 4/11/2024 - Updated on: 4/11/2024

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Climate risk management (CRM) is the process of assessing, addressing and adaptively managing climate risks that may impact the ability of USAID programs to achieve their objectives. This document complements USAID’s Climate Risk Screening and Management Tools, which facilitate assessing and addressing climate risks. It is designed to help the target audience manage climate risks adaptively, learn from the process of climate risk management and share its learning.

Program managers should monitor, evaluate and learn (MEL) during implementation. This should be done at the frequency required to inform decision-making in order to adapt and achieve results. CRM should be incorporated into MEL processes to ensure climate risks are adaptively managed throughout implementation and that learning is captured and shared. MEL is a critical aspect of climate risk management and it flows through all stages of USAID’s program cycle (i.e., strategy, project and activity). This document focuses largely on the activity and project levels, but the principles apply at the strategy level as well.

The target audience includes USAID staff and implementing partners who manage USAID programs; USAID’s climate integration leads, who support climate risk management in their USAID mission or operating unit; and monitoring and evaluation specialists.

Key Messages:

  • Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) processes (e.g., MEL Plans) should reflect CRM as appropriate to ensure climate risks are adaptively managed and that learning is captured and shared.
  • If actions are being taken to address climate risks and/or if opportunities are being acted upon, performance monitoring can help reveal if implementation is on track and if expected results are being achieved.
  • Context indicators can help manage when there is uncertainty, determine when key thresholds are reached and to understand how climate may be impacting results. 
  • Evaluations can help determine the effectiveness or impact of addressing climate risks and/or acting upon opportunities. 
  • The learning section of a MEL Plan can identify CRM knowledge gaps and how they will be filled via M&E, research, or otherwise. The section additionally facilitates an intentional approach to adaptive management, which involves periodically reflecting on learning and making adjustments based on evidence.
  • Sharing feedback and examples, and learning from others inside and outside of USAID, are examples of knowledge management, which can help all of us improve climate risk management.
  • Examples of incorporating CRM to MEL are provided.


Climate Risk Management: Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Knowledge Management. 2017. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

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.

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