Monitoring and Evaluation in Climate Change Adaptation Projects: Highlights for Conservation Practitioners

Monitoring and evaluation of implemented projects plays a pivotal role in conservation, and is important while having additional challenges for climate adaptation projects. This report from the Wildlife Conservation Society offers context and considerations around the process of monitoring and evaluation of climate adaptation projects.

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) programs for adaptation initiatives can build from the existing standards as developed for conservation projects, however need to consider the inherent dynamic nature of climate change and system responses. With the evaluation of the outcomes of climate adaptation projects, WCS suggests that M&E protocols should consider the continuous variability of climate impacts, shifting baseline conditions against which effectiveness is measured, and long time frames over which some climate change effects will occur.

The report describes several implications of how these challenges affect the design of an M&E program for climate adaptation projects including: characterizing intended outcomes, measuring project effectiveness, and assessing the success of adaptation projects.

Characterizing Intended Conservation Outcomes: Adaptation projects can be designed to address current and/or projected climate impacts. WCS suggests that it is important to try to anticipate how the more immediate results of conservation actions will influence conditions into the future.

Measuring EffectivenessIn the context of climate change, effectiveness indicators need to consider evolving baseline conditions, as well as that there are inherent assumptions underlying the connections between outcomes at different temporal scales.

Assessing “Adaptation Success”: Adaptation success, as described in the report, can be characterized by conservation outcomes or could be more about building capacity to include climate change in conservation decision-making. “It may be important to identify indicators linked to the adaptation process (i.e., iterative planning, implementation, and monitoring) and how it supports learning and an increased capacity for agencies and organizations to show flexibility in their management as conditions change. In that way there can be both on-the-ground and process outcomes important to a project’s success.”


Publication Date: 2017

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