Learning to ADAPT: Monitoring and Evaluation Approaches in Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction – Challenges, Gaps, and Ways Forward

Paula Silva Villanueva
Posted on: 8/30/2011 - Updated on: 3/06/2020

Posted by

Hannah Robinson



This working paper is a methodological contribution to the emerging debate on monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in the context of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Effectively managing disaster risk is critical for adapting to the impacts of climate change, however disasters risk reduction M&E practice may be limited in capturing progress towards adaptation. First, this paper situates the M&E discussion at the interface of climate change adaptation, disaster risk management and development. It describes the key practical challenges for M&E in the context of climate change and briefly explores the limitations of current disaster risk reduction M&E efforts within this context. Second, the paper examines current M&E efforts in adaptation and disaster risk reduction, comparing methodological aspects and the conceptual underpinnings of existing practice, pointing to gaps and limitations. Particular attention is paid to the room current approaches provide in gaining a deeper understanding of the determinants that may enable or constrain adaptation and in building an evidence base of progress made. Finally, based on the limitations that these present, this paper presents a set of ADAPT principles (Adaptive, Dynamic, Active, Participatory and Thorough) to facilitate the development of M&E frameworks for interventions that aim to contribute to integrated adaptation processes. The M&E approach by which adaptation and disaster risk management are to be evaluated involves challenging existing M&E practice towards new M&E that enable flexibility, account for uncertainty and complexity and encourage an understanding of the linkages between capacity, action and the driving forces of individuals and communities towards change. The unique nature of adaptation to climate change calls for experience-based learning M&E processes for discovering the key insights into adaptive capacity and its links to adaptation processes, and to risk and vulnerability reduction at large. The ADAPT guiding principles and indicators set the foundations towards this end.


Villanueva, P. S. (2011). Learning to APAPT: Monitoring and evaluation approaches in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction – challenges, gaps, and ways forward (SCR Discussion Paper 9). Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. Retrieved from CAKE: http://www.cakex.org/virtual-library/learning-adapt-monitoring-and-eval…

Affiliated Organizations

Strengthening Climate Resilience (SCR) is a DfID funded programme that aims to enhance the ability of governments and civil-society organisations in developing countries to build the resilience of communities to disasters and climate change as part of their development work. SCR, along with over 500 disaster risk practitioner ahve developed the Climate Smart Disaster Risk Management (CSDRM) approach to better integrate disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and development.