6.1 Developing the monitoring and evaluation approach

To ensure effectiveness and sustainability of the adaptation process over time, it is crucial to put in place in the adaptation strategy and/or action plan appropriate arrangements to monitor and evaluate, typically through a dedicated monitoring and evaluation plan or strategy. This step supports local authorities in developing a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) approach.

While tracking progress on the implementation of the individual adaptation actions, the M&E approach should ultimately allow to assess whether the main adaptation objectives that the city set when developing its adaptation strategy are being achieved (see Step 6.2).  Clear and specific objectives are therefore crucial for a meaningful M&E procedure. The objectives can then be made measurable through indicators. For example, the city of Munich has chosen an approach reflecting these considerations and assesses whether:

  • the proposed adaptation measures have been implemented;
  • the implemented measures have had the expected results;
  • objectives have been achieved by the measures.

Setting up a M&E method requires a combination of robust indicators, knowledge management and active and sustained engagement of stakeholders, such as the public and private sectors and civil society. All stakeholders with a role and responsibility for implementation need to be part of the M&E process. Involvement of concerned stakeholders early on in the process will ensure continuous monitoring of the adaptation activities throughout the implementation phase.

Other key factors to consider when preparing for monitoring and evaluation are:

  • Acknowledging trade-offs: accounting for trade-offs in the design of the M&E approach is important as sometimes it can be very time- or resource intensive to gather certain types of information and there should be consideration if these are justified.
  • Defining the baselines as reference for M&E: baselines should be defined for all components of M&E, including assumptions for autonomous adaptation taking place without any intervention.
  • Considering the unintended and unexpected: the M&E approach should go beyond a simple checklist of indicators and be flexible enough to explore the unintended and unexpected, which is where some of the most important adaptation lessons can be learnt.
  • Communicating and agreeing on the purpose for monitoring and evaluating: it is important to take the motives for M&E efforts into account and to communicate them to all involved, e.g. in order to account for public funds, to learn what works (or not) and why; to track progress; to ensure equity and social justice, etc.

The Covenant of Mayors webinar "Monitoring and evaluating adaptation actions"  features monitoring tools and approaches applied by signatory cities.

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