Developing nations to pioneer system to track climate change adaptation and development

New systems for tracking the social impacts of efforts to adapt to climate change could soon be in place in Africa and South Asia.

News, 19 March 2013
A boat sits on a river in Bangladesh.

A school boat in Bangladesh – an innovative response to rising sea levels? IIED is helping develop new systems for tracking efforts to adapt to climate change. Photo: G.M.B. Akash/PANOS

Working with policy and research partners in these regions, the International Institute for Environment and Development (with partners Adaptify and Garama 3C Ltd) has designed a framework and tools that will enable countries to ensure their efforts to adapt to climate change and efforts to development work in concert.

IIED is engaging with the governments of Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal, and Pakistan to test the framework and tools as means to evaluate a range of climate adaptation activities. Government representatives and researchers will join IIED staff and other partners in Edinburgh on 19-20 March to review the design for the feasibility testing arrangements and next steps.

Scottish representatives, including Adaptation Scotland and ClimateXChange, will also attend the meeting to share their own experiences of planning climate adaptation and designing a monitoring and evaluating framework

"Most frameworks for evaluating responses to climate change assume that adaptation will neutralise harm and allow development to continue as planned, but this underestimates the real change needed to keep development on track," says Dr Simon Anderson, head of IIED’s climate change group.

"As governments and development partners begin to invest large sums of money in action to adapt to climate change, it is essential that they focus on adaptation’s contribution to long term development, and not just spend money on adaptation projects,” says Anderson. “Unless they can track adaptation and measure development outcomes there is a risk that funds will be poorly spent.”

The new framework and tools that IIED and partners have developed will enable governments and development agencies to assess whether adaptation projects enhance or compromise development. They will measure how fairly the costs and benefits of such projects are distributed. And they will help to identify where to spend future investments.

The framework and tools – known collectively as the Tracking Adaptation and Measuring Development (TAMD) Framework – can be tailored to suit individual country contexts, different sectors and at various scales. The framework is described in a new paper that IIED published this week.

"All countries need to adapt to climate change, but they need to be sure they do so in a way that does not harm their social and economic development," says project leader Simon Anderson. "The tools we have developed will allow countries to ensure that adaptation and development work hand-in-hand. Ultimately this will mean better management and more accountability in how investments in adaptation are made."

IIED developed the TAMD framework with funding from the UK’s Department for International Development.

The project’s next steps will include tailoring TAMD to each of the five pilot countries and testing the framework in them at national and subnational levels.

To offset the greenhouse gas emissions that arise from people travelling to the meeting in Edinburgh, IIED will invest in both a direct emissions offsetting scheme and in projects that help communities adapt to climate change. IIED will publish a report from the meeting in April.

IIED Climate Change Working Papers:

TAMD Climate Change Indicators - Methodological Notes:

  1. Indicator 1. Climate Change Integration into Planning
  2. Indicator 2. Institutional Coordination for Integration
  3. Indicator 3. Budgeting and Finance