Monitoring and evaluation in Mozambique shows how to link local and national climate adaptation

Guest blog by
28 February 2014

The prize of better climate adaptation awaits nations that can evaluate their efforts at both national and local levels, so evidence from each scale can inform future plans and actions, say Simon Anderson, Irene Karani and Melq Gomes.

In Mozambique, government ministries for development planning and for environment work with district authorities and NGO partners to support climate adaptation at a local scale

Climate change increasingly challenges the ways people live and economies function. Every year, record-breaking events – storms, floods and droughts – occur in different parts of the world, and the drive to adapt is picking up speed.

We know that effective adaptation happens when local actions are supported by a national framework with direction and resources. Indeed, countries are investing in national adaptation plans that can percolate down to local levels and gain relevance and specificity in so doing.

But plans are only as good as their implementation. So we need processes that feed information from local to national levels to show how local adaptation actions are meeting the objectives set in the national level plans.

Monitoring and evaluation can provide this feedback. If the processes through which governments develop and implement policy include opportunities to take account of the information it provides, this should make it possible to manage efforts to adapt to climate change in an adaptive way.

It can also be used to compare efforts across different locations and to learn lessons about what works and what doesn't. This in turn supports learning and better decision making in the future.

Learning from Mozambique

We can gain some insights from Mozambique where the government ministries for development planning and for environment work with district authorities and NGO partners to support climate adaptation at a local scale. Together they're developing a combined top-down and bottom-up approach to planning and evaluating climate change adaptation.

The National Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (ENAMMC in Portuguese) provides the framing for how the country intends to address the needs to adapt to climate change challenges. District authorities are now developing district climate adaptation plans (DAPs).

At a local level, Mozambique's district authorities are formulating climate adaptation plans — starting in south-west Mozambique in Guija district. The authorities are being supported by an NGO consortium led by Save the Children International.

IIED and our research partners LTS Africa have joined this endeavour. The 'tracking adaptation and measuring development' project is looking at how monitoring and evaluation can both help guide local adaptation efforts and link them to Mozambique's national framework.

Joining the dots

The Guija district authority has already defined adaptation priorities and is now consulting local people about them, and on how they can best be implemented. The district authority is also developing strategic tools to describe how it expects adaptation to unfold, and indicators with which to measure progress and monitor how well investments render expected gains.

At the same time, the national government is defining national level indicators of how well climate adaptation investments improve the climate resilience of different sectors and of citizens.

They will also need to work with local authorities and communities to define where climate adaptation will improve things and indicators to show how effective climate adaptation is. The trick will be to work out how these can be fed into the system that monitors and evaluates the national climate adaptation strategy.

This monitoring and evaluation process is crucial for linking up learning on how best to implement climate adaptation at different levels. This multi-layered set of activities requires coordination and agreement.

Officials must agree what domains and indicators of progress are most important, and they must define baselines against which progress can be measured. This is akin to what countries have been doing to monitor achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and poverty reduction. It's not an insignificant task, but it's not impossible.      

A prize awaits

The enormous prize for doing this well is having a national adaptation strategy that can learn from experiences of implementing adaptation at local levels. The incentive for all the hard work is access to international climate finance, which will tend to flow to countries that can show they have the capabilities to use the money well.

In Mozambique the pieces of the puzzle are coming together to build an integrated system to monitor and evaluate climate adaptation work. Once built, it can provide different stakeholders with evidence to support decisions about which adaptation approaches to adopt.

Climate adaptation is a so far a largely untested route to building climate resilience. Given that we need to gather as much evidence as we can on early experiences to be able to know how to shape future plans, all eyes should be on Mozambique.

Simon Anderson (IIED), Irene Karani (LTS-Africa) and Melq Gomes (Save the Children)