M&E in a changing world
Our approach is rooted in complexity--navigating complex landscapes, making decisions when outcomes are unknown, learning from practice. A few years ago we pioneered an approach to M&E that extends our practice to managing project performance recognizing quite diverse contexts. John Colvin led our contribution on this them for a UNEP/GEF report, under the auspices of Anand Patwardhan (GEF STAP member). The synthesis paper will be out later this year. We also have an earlier booklet.
The approach recognizes different contexts: what you can learn depends on the context, as does what you monitor to support learning and future practice.
So, I enjoyed reading the report to the GEF Council that cites this work as one of the major contributions of STAP to changing the world (if we take that as the GEF mission). Kudos to all the contributors who shared insights and helped shape the way forward in a field that is both technical and contextual.
The extract from the STAP report:
Since 2001, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has programmed over $1 billion USD toward climate change resilience, adaptation, and disaster risk reduction. Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plays an essential role in understanding where to focus investments, what is working and why, and how to learn from experience to maximize impact. M&E can (and should) support strategic and effective investments in climate change adaptation. Despite 15 years of climate change adaptation project implementation experience at the GEF and elsewhere, the need for a comprehensive look at climate change adaptation M&E has only gained broader attention in the last few years.
In this context, the GEF STAP and the UNEP Global Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation (PROVIA) commissioned a series of discussion papers which were completed in 2015. These have since been consolidated and expanded upon in a new synthesis report which will be available in its entirety before the end of 2016. This synthesis begins with a brief overview of basic M&E concepts, given that these are not widely understood and can easily be confusing. It describes the Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) landscape with respect to monitoring and evaluation in this space, citing examples of CCA M&E frameworks and of M&E in practice at different levels (program, national, project). It also summarizes some of the well-known challenges associated with CCA M&E, as these are a foundational point from which to proceed, and cannot be ignored.