Rome, 13 December 2021 – “Where we can contribute as an evaluation community, is in monitoring the actual impact of climate investments. Simply reporting finance for climate action is not a sufficient metric of success. Interventions cannot be assumed to have 100 per cent adoption rates”, stated Jyotsna Puri, Associate Vice-President, Strategy and Knowledge Department of IFAD, during a post-COP26 dialogue on how evaluative evidence can help deliver the Paris Agreement.
Held on 9 December 2021, the virtual event was convened by the three Rome-based agencies of the UN, together with CGIAR. The event offered a platform to reflect on the shifts that evaluation practices must undertake to help tackle the climate crisis, while also shedding light on initiatives that trigger transformation at all levels of society, with a focus on development cooperation and humanitarian assistance in agriculture and food security.
During her opening keynote address, Ms. Puri underscored the importance for evaluations and programme designs to consider consequences of climate adaptation efforts on ecosystems. In this regard, the IFAD Associate Vice-President noted the need to strike a balance between human systems and ecosystems, given that current approaches focus predominantly on the impact of adaptation interventions on human beings, and tend to overlook their consequences on natural systems.
To best capture contributions from the broad spectrum of participants, the event featured four parallel group discussions, each led by international evaluation experts. In the first group, moderated by S. Nanthikesan, lead evaluator of IOE’s forthcoming thematic evaluation of IFAD support to smallholder farmers’ adaptation to climate change, discussions centred on methods and frameworks to assess climate resilience outcomes across different contexts, such as agricultural systems, landscapes and agro-ecology.
Drawing on the findings of IOE’s thematic evaluation, and echoing the points previously underscored by Ms. Puri, Mr. Nanthikesan highlighted that “when we look at climate adaptation interventions, we do not focus adequately on their consequences to ecosystems, such as, for example, biodiversity, soil health, land usage and air quality. We need to identify evaluation practices that actually assess the effects of development interventions on different parts of the ecosystems”.
The role of independent evaluation in delivering evidence for decision-making is increasingly recognized across the international community. Evaluation offers methods, tools and processes that could help policies and programmes address climate change with actionable solutions. Evaluating climate responses is a complex exercise that often involves outcomes in multiple areas such as food security, gender empowerment, sustainable livelihoods and environment and a system perspective. This requires collaboration among evaluation units and knowledge exchange to bring evaluation methods up to task
To foster follow up initiatives and debate on this topic, the findings of the event will feed into a briefing note on Evaluation for Climate Change Action. The note will be an advocacy tool to draw the attention of the international community to the role of evaluation in addressing climate change, and to the need to scale up evaluation ambition.
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