Rome, 29 March 2023 – In the context of food security, it is imperative that evaluations of climate responsive agricultural interventions consider adapting to climate change together with their consequences to the surrounding ecosystem. This requires evaluators to have the relevant methods, guidance and tools necessary to evaluate interventions in food systems. Dr S. Nanthikesan, Lead Evaluation Officer at the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), delivered this message during an Evaluation Practice Exchange (EPE) seminar of the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG).
Titled ‘Evaluating sustainable pathways to climate resilience: Recent experiences from evaluations of IFAD, FAO and GEF‘, the event was held virtually on 29 March 2023. Over 70 participants joined the EPE session, which explored emerging experience from recent evaluations in terms of methods, guidance, and tools to help evaluators assess the climate change related aspects of interventions in food systems.
Climate threats are increasing in frequency and intensity, and their consequences are disproportionately affecting the most marginalized people in the agricultural sector. At the same time, agri-food systems account for more than one third of global greenhouse gas emissions that caused climate change. For this reason, and in light of the fast-approaching targets of the Agenda 2030, there is an urgent need to ensure that food security is attained along with strengthened resilience of people and ecosystems and, at the same time, that agri-food systems are transformed to be part of the solution. However, very little evaluative experience is available in this area.
Against this backdrop, Nanthikesan discussed the qualitative approaches developed to evaluate the effects of agricultural interventions on the eco system (human – eco system nexus), as part of IOE’s recent Thematic Evaluation of IFAD’s Support to Smallholder Farmers’ Adaptation to Climate Change. Considerations were given to eco system aspects pertaining to water and air quality, water and land use, and soil health.
Based on the findings of the Thematic Evaluation, Nanthikesan stressed the importance of moving away from anthropocentric approaches to agriculture. In particular, the evaluation found that in light of the accelerating climate change effects, there is an urgent need to develop climate adaptation solutions that simultaneously promote not only climate and economic resilience, but also environmental resilience. Where that is not feasible, we should aim to ‘do-no-harm’ or better, with the necessary offsets to compensate for the damage that is being done to the ecosystems
The EPE event was jointly organized by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). These contributions of the Session included the guidance being developed by FAO to mainstream climate change into evaluations of agri-food systems interventions, and the use GEF is making of spatial technology to evaluate interventions at the nexus of climate change, environmental conservation, and development.
UNEG is an interagency professional network that brings together the evaluation units of the UN system, including UN departments, specialized agencies, funds and programmes, and affiliated organizations. It currently has 50 such members and observers. EPE seminars are an important opportunity for all UNEG members to have an open exchange on evaluation related topics.
For further information, please contact Alexander Voccia [here]
- To access the EPE session presentations, please click here.
- To access the event page, please click here.
- To access more information on the thematic evaluation of IFAD's support to smallholder farmers' adaptation to climate change, please click here.