How the Philippines’ national M&E system integrates climate and development

Article, 30 October 2019

IIED has undertaken a series of 'light touch' case studies to show how some countries are developing adaptation M&E for learning systems. This study looks at the Philippines. 

A flooded street

Background

In the Philippines the national climate change monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system is primarily geared towards measuring adaptation, and focuses on evaluating the outcomes of adaptation plans using the Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation System (RBMES).

The policy foundation for the RBMES originates in the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) (2011-2028). The NCCAP makes provision for the establishment of an M&E system to track progress and results, as well as re-orientate the NCCAP if needed. 

Adaptation M&E is led by the Climate Change Commission (CCC), and the system is designed for learning from adaptation activities. This is achieved by focusing on efficiency, effectiveness and impact. The adaptation M&E has been designed to inform government decision-making; the information that is gathered can help inform changes in other sectoral plans, or the way in which implementation mechanisms are operating.

The CCC works in close collaboration with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), which is in charge of overseeing the performance and results monitoring for the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), as well as reporting against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In 2010, Result Matrices were introduced alongside the PDP. The different Result Matrices correspond to each thematic chapter of the PDP, such as Enhancing Social Fabric, or Foundations for Sustainable Development. Each Results Matrix sets out baselines, targets and assumptions, and includes objectives with corresponding indicator frameworks for the different levels of results (goals and outcomes) targeted at that particular chapter of the plan. The responsibility for each institution undertaking the M&E is also set out. 

The indicators included in the Result Matrices help guide public sector management, and the matrices are the primary mechanism for M&E of development in the Philippines.

What’s interesting about this case study? 

Strong leadership and coordination on M&E

The CCC is the lead policymaking body of the government, tasked to coordinate, monitor and evaluate government programmes and ensure mainstreaming of climate change in national, local, and sectoral development plans. The CCC sits under the Office of the President, and the president serves as chairman. 

An inter-agency M&E technical working group (TWG) was also established to set up the M&E system and help with its implementation. The TWG is composed of M&E focal persons and planning staff from different national government agencies. 

There is also evidence of a number of different government agencies working together, through a well-defined coordination mechanism, which has meant that development and climate M&E can approached in a more unified manner. 

A well elaborated system

The time allocated for the development of the RBMES – initially 10 months – provided adequate time to allow for genuine and constructive reflection by the engaged sector agencies on how the established sector-based M&E systems already integrated climate change issues. The timescale also provided the opportunity to connect different government performance monitoring systems and harmonise indicators.

The RBMES is well elaborated and has many strong features. For example, the longer timeframes for adaptation impacts are acknowledged and there is provision for evaluation of output-outcome causalities, and evaluation of near final impacts, as well implementation monitoring up to 2028. (The indicators are also devised to include the measurement of shorter timeframe climate change actions; mainly around implementation monitoring. Medium term indicators are also included, with a focus on implementation monitoring and evaluation of emerging outcomes from outputs of medium-duration climate change actions.) Adaptation impacts are explicitly included in the framework.

The NCCAP RBMES aims to build on previous and current government initiatives to integrate climate risks into the planning process, rather than duplicating M&E processes. The system draws upon data gathered at national and subnational levels, and will aggregate results from the seven thematic NCCAP areas.

Data will largely be gathered from existing sources as well. There are also indicators that will require the generation of new data to specifically for NCCAP M&E. Theories of change are articulated for each of the NCCAP thematic areas.

The CCC and the Department of Budget and Management have issued guidelines for tagging and tracking government expenditures on climate change activities at national and local levels. The guidelines aim to help to identify, tag and prioritise climate change-related activities for all government agencies, and take stock of relevant climate change projects and programmes, to enable better oversight and reporting of change-related expenditures.

Explicit link between development and adaptation M&E

Development and climate change reporting are closely linked. The strong coordination mechanism with the CCC as the apex body for adaptation M&E working closely with NEDA provides the opportunity for complementarity in reporting progress on adaptation and against the SDGs. Climate change initiatives utilise the RBMES, which in turn feeds into the PDP’s Results Matrices. 

Indicators in the RBMES have been cross-referenced with the PDP Results Matrices and the performance indicators and major final outputs of relevant sectoral agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture for the strategic priority on food security. This ensures that there is an explicit operational link between adaptation and development M&E. This is evidenced in the PDP 2017-2022: climate change indicators have been integrated into the results matrices, as have the SDG indicators. 

The annual monitoring reports feed directly into national planning and budgeting, and the three-yearly evaluations are used for drafting of the PDP, providing a direct entry point for adaptation M&E into the Philippines’ national development planning.

Challenges

  • The CCC is a coordination body, as opposed to an implementing body. Consequently, it may not have as much political clout as a line ministry, and as such, it is not always treated as a priority by other government institutions.
  • The first round of reporting and evaluation has had to contend with shifting baselines, difficulties in attributing adaptation success to particular activities,  and time lags between interventions and outcomes, all of which pose methodological challenges.
  • The current review of the RBMES indicators signposted that the NCCAP needs to better differentiate the levels of results (as related to outputs and immediate/intermediate/ultimate outcomes).
  • The review also highlighted the need for closer harmonisation with the SDGs. (The need for better harmonisation was also identified in the early stages of development of the M&E framework.)

Lessons learned

The NCCAP set out draft results chains which the M&E system could build on. This approach offers a strong policy foundation from the outset. Both those designing new M&E systems and those revising existing adaptation M&E systems will benefit from developing a strong policy framework that elaborates how M&E will be undertaken. 

There was adequate time allowed for the development of the RBMES. Enough time should be allowed for the development of a robust system that is clearly aligned with development aspirations and existing systems, but also an early recognition by the government that the frameworks for adaptation and development M&E should dovetail. 

A wide range of government bodies were included in the system. Involving many different departments helps to promote a stronger understanding across government of how adaptation can be mainstreamed into development planning, as well as the understanding that adaptation M&E does not need to substitute for existing frameworks.

A fundamental lesson is that the adaptation M&E should be closely considered alongside M&E for development, and that an integrated system can be built using existing and operational mechanisms. This removes the need for multiple reporting against different frameworks, making reporting less onerous. For example, the integration of both climate and SDG indicators into the PDP Result Matrices leads to the generation of data that is more practical and practicable.


This work is part of the Partnership on Transparency in the Paris Agreement initiative managed by GIZ.

Contact

Barry Smith (barry.smith@iied.org), researcher, IIED's Climate Change research group 

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