Designing a ‘Fit-for-Purpose’ Approach to Tracking Progress on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience: Learning from Local Governments in Australia

  • Susie Moloney
  • Heather McClaren
Part of the Lecture Notes in Energy book series (LNEN, volume 65)


Local governments are at the forefront of responding to climate change in developing risk assessments and mitigation and adaptation strategies. In the Australian context, local government plans and strategies are emerging, however the extent to which municipalities are planning effectively for climate change and whether they are delivering on outcomes is difficult to assess. While there are a number of frameworks for monitoring, evaluating and reporting climate change adaptation and urban resilience, very few have been implemented at the local scale. This paper will present a case study from a group of councils in metropolitan Melbourne who have collaborated to develop a ‘fit-for-purpose’ framework to track how well they are adapting to climate change and to improve their resilience. The project process, framework design, indicators and pilot implementation phase will be outlined including an analysis of the challenges and issues that emerged in developing and implementing an approach to monitoring and evaluation. We seek to contribute to the gap in knowledge around ‘doing adaptation’ in particular how we can monitor and evaluate progress. In the post Paris climate policy context, much more attention is needed on how we can better understand the “actual experience of adaptation” which broadly asks “are we adapting”? (Ford and King in Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change 20:505–526, 2015) and in the case of the particular Australian case study presented in this paper, the focus is on how can we assess ‘How Well Are We Adapting?’


  1. AEA (2012) Review of international experience in adaptation indicators. Report for Adaptation Sub-Committee, AEA Technology p/c, Report no. ED57591—Issue No. 3, UKGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnett J, O’Neill S (2010) Maladaptation. Glob Environ Change 20:211–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bours D, McGinn C, Pringle P (2013) Monitoring & evaluation for climate change adaptation: a synthesis of tools, frameworks and approaches. Sea Change and UKCIP, Oxford.
  4. Bours D, McGinn C, Pringle P (2014a). Guidance note 1: twelve reasons why climate change adaptation M&E is challenging. Sea Change and UKCIP, Oxford UK.
  5. Bours D, McGinn C, Pringle P (2014b) Guidance note 2 : selecting indicators for climate change adaptation programming. Sea Change and UKCIP, Oxford UK.
  6. Bours D, McGinn C, Pringle P (2014c) Guidance note 3 : theory of Change approach to climate change adaptation programming. Sea Change and UKCIP, Oxford UK.
  7. Christiansen L, Schaer C, Larsen C, Naswa P (2016) Monitoring and evaluation for climate change adaptation, a summary of the key challenges and emerging practice. UNEP DTU Partnership Working Papers series; Climate Resilient Development Programme, Working Paper 1
  8. Council of Australian Governments (2007) National climate change adaptation framework. Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  9. Dozois E, Langlois M, Blanchet-Cohen N (2010) A practitioner’s guide to developmental evaluation. The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and the International Institute for Child Rights and Development, Montreal, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  10. Ford JD, King D (2015) A framework for examining adaptation readiness. Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change 20:505–526. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ford JD, Berrang-Ford L, Biesbroek R, Araos M, Austin SE, Lesnikowski A (2015) Commentary: adaptation tracking for a post-2015 climate agreement. Nat Clim Change 5, November 2015Google Scholar
  12. Gawler S, Tiwari S (2015) ICLEI ACCCRN process—building urban climate change resilience: a toolkit for local governments. ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) and ACCCRN (Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network), Rockerfeller FoundationGoogle Scholar
  13. Hallegatte S (2008) Strategies to adapt to an uncertain climate change. Glob Environ Change 19:240–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hedger MM, Mitchell T, Leavy, J, Greeley, M, Downie, A, Horrocks L (2008) Evaluation of adaptation to climate change from a development perspective. Commissioned by the Global Environment Facility Evaluation Office and Department of International Development (DFID)
  15. Mathew S, Truck S, Truong C, Davies P (2016) Monitoring and evaluation in adaptation. National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), Gold Coast, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  16. Moloney S, Funfgeld H (2015) Emergent processes of adaptive capacity building: local government climate change alliances and networks in Melbourne. Urban Climate: Special Issue.
  17. Moloney S, Horne R (2015) Low carbon urban transitions: from local experimentation to urban transformation? Sustainability 7:2437–2453. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Moloney S, Funfgeld H, Granberg M (2018) Climate change responses from the global to the local scale: an overview (Chapter 1). In: Moloney S, Funfgeld H, Granberg M (eds) Local action on climate change: opportunities and constraints. Routledge, UKGoogle Scholar
  19. Preston BL, Westaway RM, Yuen EJ (2011) Climate adaptation planning in practice: an evaluation of adaptation plans from three developed nations. Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change 16(4):407–438.
  20. Pringle P (2011) AdaptME: adaptation monitoring and evaluation. UKCIP, Oxford, UKGoogle Scholar
  21. Productivity Commission (2012) Barriers to effective climate change adaptation. Inquiry Report No. 59. 19 September, 2012, Australian Government, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  22. Sanahuja HE (2011) Tracking progress for effective action: a framework for monitoring and evaluating adaptation to climate change.
  23. Silke F, Renouf B (2014) Adapting to uncertainty: a local government experience. Sustainability in public works conference, 27–29 July 2014, Sydney, Institute of Public Works Engineering AustralasiaGoogle Scholar
  24. Spearman M, McGray H (2011) Making adaptation count: concepts and options for monitoring and evaluation, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ), and World Resources Institute (WRI). Eschborn, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  25. The Kresge Foundation (2015) Bounce forward: urban resilience in the era of climate change. The Kresge Foundation, TroyGoogle Scholar
  26. Turner S, Moloney S, Glover A, Funfgeld H (2014) A review of the monitoring and evaluation literature for climate change adaptation. Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  27. UNDP (2009) Handbook on planning, monitoring and evaluating. New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. UNFCCC (2010) Synthesis report on efforts undertaken to monitor and evaluate the implementation of adaptation projects, policies and programmes and the costs and effectiveness of completed projects, policies and programmes, and views on lessons learned, good practices. UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, FCCC/SBSTA/2010/5 16 April 2010
  29. UNISDR (2015) Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction. United Nations, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  30. Villanueva PS (2011) Learning to ADAPT : monitoring and evaluation approaches in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction—challenges, gaps and ways forward. The Strengthening Climate Resilience Consortium (SCR) funded by Department of International Development (DFID) UKGoogle Scholar
  31. WAGA (2011) (Unpublished) Climate change risk assessment. Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action, Melbourne, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  32. WAGA (2013) Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action. Climate Change Adaptation Strategy: 2013–2020 Full Report, Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action., Melbourne, Australia.…/WAGA_Full_Report_final.pdf
  33. WAGA (2016) Framework overview, How Well Are We Adapting, Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action, Melbourne, Australia,
  34. Webb R, Beh J (2013) Leading adaptation practices and support strategies for Australia: an international and Australian review of products and tools. Prepared for NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold CoastGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Urban ResearchRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Western Alliance for Greenhouse ActionMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations