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

Paula Silva Villanueva
Created: 8/30/2011 - Updated: 3/12/2019


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.

Published On

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Sector Addressed: 
Disaster Risk Management
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Capacity Building
Invest in / Enhance emergency services planning and training
Conduct / Gather additional research, data, and products
Create stakeholder engagement processes to develop and implement adaptation strategies
Governance and Policy
Develop / implement adaptive management strategies

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