Colombia’s Progress in Developing a National Monitoring and Evaluation System for Climate Change Adaptation
Colombia is highly vulnerable to climate variability and change. Although adaptation efforts in Colombia began in 2006, it was only in 2010 that the topic was included on the political agenda, as a result of a La Niña weather phenomenon that flooded about 8 per cent of the country’s most populated area, affecting almost 9 per cent of the population and resulting in damages and losses estimated at USD 8 billion dollars.
The design of the monitoring and evaluation system (M&E) for adaptation began in 2014, and since then the country has made progress in defining indicators and guidelines to monitor the objectives and progress of the National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change (or PNACC) (in Spanish) process.
Lessons learned include:
- The M&E of adaptation goes beyond vulnerability. Indicators help to understand changes in climate risk at the national, sectoral and territorial levels. However, adaptation monitoring must also include the measurement of achievement of the objectives of the PNACC, adaptation management (or how climate change adaptation is integrated into public policy) and learning processes about change in the context of adaptation, among others.
- The M&E for adaptation must inform decision making and public policies. Numerous existing sources of information, e.g., sectoral information systems (water, housing, finance, etc.), are useful for developing adaptation monitoring indicators. However, a group of indicators without proper alignment with the relevant policies or plans, adaptation and change learning processes, the appropriation of actors responsible for monitoring and reporting information and resources allocated for their survey, and periodic reporting and analysis, do not constitute a robust system.
- The M&E system for adaptation must be flexible to reflect the various scales of adaptation and estimate the impact at the national level. The overall interest of those responsible for adaptation measures and plans is to have specific indicators to monitor their progress. However, it is important to have tools that aggregate individual advances to assess their impact at the national level on long-term macroeconomic variables, on national adaptation goals and on international reporting obligations on climate change adaptation.
- Institutionalize the M&E process as part of the PNACC. Ensure that the adaptation plans define specific phases and people responsible for the design and operationalization of M&E efforts, defining operational and financial sustainability mechanisms. This includes the systematization and documentation of the design process to guarantee its continuity despite institutional changes, the formalization of the role of different actors involved in monitoring, reporting at different levels and the budget allocation for its operation.
- Establish technical guidelines in the design of the M&E. When designing an M&E system for adaptation, clear guidelines should be agreed with those responsible for reporting (e.g., adopting standard methodologies or metrics so that results of different adaptation interventions are comparable), demonstrate their integration with investment systems, etc.