The book contains 18 chapters in which leading authors examine innovative and emerging evaluation knowledge and practice of climate change and its link to sustainable development. The authors discuss methodologies and approaches to better understand, learn from and assess interventions, strategies and policies. The contributions also discuss evaluation challenges encountered and lessons learned to better understand and tackle difficult areas of evaluation.
Chapter 2 or overview chapter by Rob D. van den Berg and Lee Cando-Noordhuizen, ‘Action on climate change: What does it mean and where does it lead to?’ discusses the micro-macro paradox of climate change action. There is evidence that climate action works and achieves direct impact – yet climate change seems unstoppable. An analysis of multiple comprehensive evaluations indicates that technology and knowledge are available to fight climate change. However, economic development and subsidies harmful to the climate still outweigh remedial climate action with at least a factor of one hundred. Current successes of programmes and projects will not impact global trends unless unsustainable subsidies and actions are stopped.
Chapter 3 written by Rob D. van den Berg, ‘Mainstreaming impact evidence in climate change and sustainable development’ examines the demand for impact evidence and concludes that this demand goes beyond the experimental evidence that is produced during the lifetime of an intervention. Van den Berg argues for impact considerations to be mainstreamed throughout interventions, programmes and policies and for evaluations to gather evidence where available, rather than focusing the search for impact and its measurements on one or two causal mechanisms that are chosen for verification through experimentation.
Chapter 4 by Tonya Schuetz, Wiebke Förch, Philip Thornton and Ioannis Vasileiou from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) describes the design of an impact pathway-based Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) system that combines classic indicators of process in research with innovative indicators of change. The chapter highlights the importance of engaging users of research in the development of impact pathways and continuously throughout the life of the program. Results show that partnerships with diverse actors such as the private sector and policy makers are key to achieving change. The chapter concludes that research alone is insufficient to bring about change. However, research does generate knowledge that stakeholders can put to use to generate development outcomes.
Chapter 5 by Monika Egger Kissling and Roman Windisch, ‘Lessons from taking stock on 12 years of Swiss international cooperation on climate change’ highlights the challenges encountered and lessons learned from this assessment where a bilateral donor puts climate change lens on a longstanding development cooperation portfolio. The chapter discusses the need (1) for evaluators to put more effort in identifying best methodological practices amidst a large volume of information, diverse portfolio and absence of reliable data; (2) for practitioners to invest more in strategic project design and monitoring to provide accurate data; and (3) for policy makers to be cognizant of the value that evaluation brings, as it is an important tool that contributes to accountability.
Chapter 6 by Michael Carbon discusses the approach, process and lessons from the evaluation of UNEP’s Climate Change Sub-programme. It shows the importance of developing an appropriate analytical framework that is well-suited for the scope and complexity of the object of evaluation, and how the Theory of Change approach helped make a credible assessment of UNEP’s contribution towards impact, sustainability and upscaling.
Chapter 7 written by Aryanie Amellina focuses on an assessment of the initial phases of the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) in Indonesia. It highlights JCM governance and ease of use of methodologies related to measurement, reporting and verification (MRV). The author concludes with recommendations to strengthen methods to determine reference emissions and for clarifying ways to allocate credit among countries to define a pathway to a tradeable credit mechanism.
Chapter 8 by Jyotsna Puri, ‘Using mixed methods to assessing trade-offs between agricultural decisions and deforestation’, demonstrates the importance of using qualitative and quantitative methods to assess and measure win-win development policies that also help mitigate climate change. The author’s study explores the poverty and environment nexus using historical data on land rights and panel data on land use in Thailand. The chapter concludes that it is important to measure the differential effects of policies on different crops, agricultural intensity and agricultural frontier. In the case examined by the author, she advises that policies that encourage cultivation may not be detrimental to forest cover after all.
Chapter 9 written by Aaron Zazueta and Neeraj Negi presents the methodological approach adopted in the evaluation of climate change mitigation projects supported by the Global Environment Facility in four emerging markets, namely China, India, Mexico and Russia. The authors demonstrate the use of the Theory of Change approach to carry out a comparative analysis across projects seeking to bring about changes across diverse markets or market segments in different countries. Zazueta and Negi highlight how the evaluation focused on understanding the extent and forms by which GEF projects are contributing to long-term market changes, leading to reduction in GHG emissions, and on assessing the added value of GEF support in the context of multiple factors affecting market change.
Chapter 10 written by Yann François and Marina Gavaldão explore how climate change mitigation projects can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, potentially have adaptation benefits, and achieve sustainable development objectives. ‘Integrating avoided emissions in climate change evaluation policies for LDCs’ provides an example of socio-economic benefits gained if accounting for avoided emissions are incorporated in projects, in this case, passive solar housing technology.
Chapter 11 by Debora Ley, ‘Sustainable development, climate change, and renewable energy in rural Central America’, demonstrates the potential and multiple benefits of decentralized renewable energy. The author also demonstrates how specific drivers can facilitate or hinder projects in achieving multiple objectives using on the ground, qualitative methods.
Chapter 12 by Jasmine Hyman, ‘Unpacking the black box of technology distribution, development potential and carbon markets benefits’ explores whether and how carbon markets can support a pro-poor development agenda. The author introduces a ‘Livelihood Index’ to understand the employment impact of a carbon intervention. Their study finds that variations in the distribution framework means that development outcomes may compete rather than complement one another. Methods used include value chain analysis and a qualitative analysis to understand how carbon finance recipients access the mechanism, perceive the project and conceptualise its benefits.
Chapter 13 by Takaaki Miyaguchi and Juha Uitto presents the methodology of a meta-analysis of ex-post evaluations of climate change adaptation (CCA) programmes in nine countries using a realist approach. The authors conclude that adopting a realist approach to evaluating complex development projects is a useful way of providing relevant explanations, instead of judgments, about what type of intervention may work for whom, how and under what circumstances for future programming.
Chapter 14 written by Jacques Somda, Robert Zougmoré, Tougiani Abasse, Babou André Bationo, Saaka Buah and Issa Sawadogo, ‘Adaptation processes in agriculture and food security: Insights from evaluating behavioural changes in West Africa’ focuses on the evaluation of adaptive capacities of community-level human systems related to agriculture and food security. The study highlights findings regarding approaches and domains to monitor and evaluate behavioural changes from CGIAR’s research program on climate change, agriculture and food security (CCAFS). Results suggest that application of behavioural change theories can facilitate the development of climate change adaptation indicators that are complementary to indicators of development outcomes. The authors conclude that collecting stories on behavioural changes can contribute to biophysical adaptation and monitoring and evaluation.
Chapter 15, written by Irene Karani and Nyachomba Kariuki, ‘Using participatory approaches in measuring resilience and development in Isiolo County, Kenya’ highlights the use of participatory approaches through a Tracking Adaptation and Measuring Development (TAMD) Framework to measure resilience in Kenya. The authors outline the process of developing subjective indicators and demonstrate the advantage of empowering the local community in collection of baseline, monitoring and early outcome data as they develop Theories of Change. The article concludes by sharing lessons and policy implications.
Chapter 16 by Joanne Chong, Anna Gero and Pia Treichel, ‘Evaluating climate change adaptation in practice: a child-centred, community-based project in the Philippines’ documents a research and evaluation approach applied in a child-centred and community-based CCA project implemented across four provinces in the Philippines. The authors emphasise the success of the methodology due to its participatory foundations – local voices and perspectives matter in understanding the impact of the project.
Chapter 17 written by Emilia Bretan and Nathan L. Engle focuses on real time milestones and outcomes from Brazil’s Drought Preparedness and Climate Resilience Programme (Drought NLTA). Evidence gathered through the participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) approach showed that the programme was able to convene key-regional and federal level multi-sector stakeholders, resulting in a bottom-up and regionally-led collaboration. Through engagement and commitment of the partners, the programme illustrates good practice for coordination and continuous sharing of knowledge and data between service providers, secretariats, municipalities and other stakeholders from distinct sectors, states, and governmental levels.
Chapter 18 by Timo Leiter presents a decision-support tool developed by the German International Cooperation (GIZ GmbH), the Adaptation M&E Navigator. The author explains the rationale, structure and how this tool can help policy- and decision-makers select a suitable M&E approach by providing a list of specific M&E paradigms and matching them with relevant approaches.
Evaluation plays an ever crucial role in learning: why are things happening or not happening? Are we doing the right thing or not? Why and why not? Are there better ways? The evaluation profession has become more adept at introducing scientific tools and the link between science and evaluation is becoming stronger. Evaluation is helping bridge the science-policy divide.
The contributions included in this book demonstrate a good understanding not only of assumptions and outcomes, but also of context as they attempt to explain how and for whom interventions may work. Methodologies used are varied and may sometimes be sophisticated. However, they all answer operational and practical questions.
We are in a world with changing boundaries. Our boundaries have changed in terms of what we want from our programs and strategies, what we want from evaluations and what types of tools we have access to. We are now witnessing the surge and availability of big and open data and a variety of innovative techniques that will also enable this sector to leapfrog and push the frontiers of learning and evaluation. It is our hope that this book will contribute to this push.