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Monitoring and Evaluating Adaptation

6.2 Deciding who to involve in the process

The cross-cutting nature of adaptation means that multiple actors from different sectors and administrative levels, including the private sector are involved in its implementation. It follows that tracking progress of these activities needs to engage multiple actors and stakeholders who hold information, data and knowledge on the implementation activities. Deciding who takes overall responsibility for MRE, clarifying the roles of different actors and establishing mechanisms to coordinate vertically and horizontally with different actors across sectors and administrative levels are essential for effective MRE.

Overall responsibility for MRE of adaptation is usually given to one organisation or actor, such as the Ministry of Environment, Environment Agency or a working group bringing together multiple actors. This does not necessarily mean that the responsible actor implements MRE on its own, but rather that they are responsible for coordinating the process and reporting the results. Depending on the governance structures and administrative traditions of a country, the body responsible for MRE of adaptation can be the same as the body coordinating adaptation policies more generally at national level or an actor independent from those responsible for planning and implementing adaptation policies. On the one hand, a close connection between MRE and policy development can for example facilitate learning and uptake of MRE findings in policy development and revision. On the other hand, in some countries, independence may be desirable especially for evaluation activities.

A key part of this responsibility is to actively coordinate with relevant stakeholders who hold useful information for MRE. The first step is to reflect on the purpose of MRE and consider whose input is needed to answer the questions set out for MRE. For example, broad engagement of sector ministries and experts in public agencies and research communities can provide highly relevant information on how different sectors are progressing with implementing adaptation policies. If the aim is to understand how implementation of adaptation policies on the ground is contributing to reduction in vulnerability, increased adaptive capacity and resilience, it may be important to engage more broadly local actors, who are engaged with the implementation activities.

Mechanisms are needed for engaging the views of actors from different sectors and administrative levels, in order to facilitate coordination, communication, information and knowledge sharing and learning in the MRE process. Working groups, Steering Committees, Coordination Councils or the like can provide such platforms but are by no means the only way to engage stakeholders. Forms of deeper involvement, such as active engagement, partnerships and empowerment, throughout the policy cycle, are typically more inclusive when actualised, involving stakeholders from different sectors. The needs and levels of stakeholder engagement desired for MRE also influences the selection of MRE methods.

The greatest learning occurs for all involved actors during the course of the evaluation itself through information and knowledge sharing, presentations and workshops as well as during the discussion of findings.

Greater emphasis has to be placed on the provision of early feedback from stakeholders. It is strongly recognised that the framework of evaluation lessons will need to be used within the context of interactive forms and formats of communication with diverse stakeholders along the adaptation policy cycle in order to ensure that the evaluation lessons are truly becoming "lessons learned".

The co-development and co-production of knowledge and various form of stakeholder engagement and participatory elements and approaches are common and very relevant elements of adaptation policy development and its implementation.

Stakeholder engagement is crucial for MRE on the one hand to receive relevant quantitative and qualitative information, data and knowledge for monitoring the process and progress, but also on the other hand for interpreting and deriving relevant messages from available data. MRE contribute to further building up resilience and increasing adaptive capacity.

Stakeholder engagement and the co-creation of adaptation policy throughout the strategy and planning process can help to ensure uptake from diverse/multiple actors and strongly support implementation.

This varies between statutory requirements (such as Climate Acts) and voluntary approaches, under which stakeholder engagement comes even more strongly into play for the implementation of the measures foreseen in the climate adaptation action plans.