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uast_logo_6 Preparing the ground for adaptation Assessing risks and vulnerabilities to climate change Identifying adaptation options Assessing adaptation options Implementation Monitoring and evaluation


Monitoring and evaluating adaptation

6.2 Defining monitoring indicators

Indicators play a critical role to monitor a city’s progress and learn from the results. Measurable indicators are also attractive to policy and decision makers as they provide quantifiable "evidence" of impacts, progress and performance.

This section helps local authorities to define a framework for monitoring indicators.

Defining and putting in place the most appropriate and practicable indicators can be a challenge, due to factors such as data availability but also because of the difficulty of measuring actual progress towards increased resilience. For example, if only the number of trees planted are measured, it may not be accounted for the fact that planting young trees will not immediately lead to improved thermal comfort on a square or a street.

It is crucial to choose indicators which reflect as closely as possible the adaptation objectives that the city has set for itself (see Step 2.6). When identifying appropriate indicators both for monitoring and evaluating the process of adaptation and its outcomes, the following may be considered:

  • The baselines for indicators should include the effects of future climate change, particularly for projects with long-term implications, such as investments in infrastructure.
  • There is no need to reinvent the wheel - many adaptation processes may already be measured through existing indicators and existing M&E systems can be adjusted to better account for adaptation.
  • Recognise that M&E systems are dependent on proxy indicators that are also subject to a range of other influences, i.e. achievements often cannot solely be attributed to sound adaptation practice but can be a result of other influencing factors.
  • Develop a combination of process and outcome indicators, recognising that in some cases adaptation outcomes cannot be determined for many years.
  • Indicators must serve a clear purpose and should be relevant. Another important factor in choosing indicators is whether data can be collected effectively and efficiently; collecting data should not be more costly than the value of the information they provide.

The total set of indicators should allow to consider all aspects that affect the adaptation objectives.