Monitoring & Evaluation

Keeping track of climate
adaptation progress

Multi-level adaptation M&E

A holistic approach to climate change adaptation requires action on both local and national level. For each level, there are specific tools to assess and monitor adaptation results. Some tools can be applied on both levels or provide guidance on selecting suitable M&E methods. These tools are presented below.

A decision support tool for the selection of suitable approaches to monitor and evaluate adaptation to climate change.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to conduct adaptation M&E and it is easy to get lost among different M&E frameworks and methods. The Adaptation M&E Navigator helps to select a suitable approach for M&E of adaptation. It outlines a list of specific adaptation M&E purposes  (i.e. reasons for undertaking M&E) and matches them to relevant M&E approaches (i.e. relevant ways to conduct M&E). This is shown in the table below (click on the image to enlarge). Each M&E approach is then described in a detailed table to enable a comparison among different approaches that are suitable for the same M&E purpose. The detailed descriptions of each M&E approach are accessible through the links under step 2 below. The Adaptation M&E Navigator also refers to further guidance materials and provides examples from practice.

This table depicts the eight specific purposes (= reasons for M&E) and suitable M&E approaches to address them. 

The Adaptation M&E Navigator can be used online as outlined below. A detailed technical description is available as chapter of the book “Evaluating Climate Change Actions for Sustainable Development” (free download of the Adaptation M&E Navigator).

Online Application

The figure below explains the steps involved in applying the Adaptation M&E Navigator. The blue boxes are part of the Navigator whilst the white boxes take place before and after using it. Each step is briefly described below.

Steps in selecting an M&E approach for adaptation to climate change.

Step 1: Determine why you want to undertake M&E

First, determine why you want to do M&E. For example, do you want to monitor the implementation of an adaptation action on an ongoing basis to inform its management? Or do you want to learn why your adaptation action has achieved its objectives or why it has not? The specific reason to undertake M&E is important because it determines how an M&E system needs to be designed so that its purpose can be fulfilled.

It is likewise very important to consider the target audience for the information generated by the M&E system. Who should use the information? What communication formats can best reach the target audience? Clarifying the purpose for M&E and the intended users of its information are essential to develop a useful adaptation M&E system.

Step 2: Identify an applicable M&E purpose from the list below

The Adaptation M&E Navigator includes the most common purposes for adaptation M&E. They are sorted into two groups based on their focus on either monitoring implementation or measuring results. Choose the oprion that best fits your situation below:

Monitoring implementation of adaptation

Assessing adaptation outcomes

Step 3: Compare the associated M&E approaches based on the provided information

Clicking on any of the above listed purposes for M&E leads to a number of suitable M&E approaches, each of which is described in a table including benefits and limitations, as well as links to practical examples. This information can be used to assess the relevance of each M&E approach to your situation. To support comparability, each approach is also rated against five criteria:

  1. The general purpose of M&E, i.e. management, learning or accountability
  2. The focus of M&E on either implementation or outcomes
  3. How complex the approaches are
  4. How subjective the approaches are
  5. What experience exists in implementing the M&E approach

Each of the five decision criteria are explained in the publication of the M&E Navigator.

Step 4: Select an M&E approach and explore links to further guidance

Based on the provided information, in particular the potential use, benefits and limitations, users can then choose an M&E approach that best fits their M&E context and purpose (steps 1 & 2).

Step 5: Seek know-how and resources for implementation

Once a decision on a particular M&E approach has been made, the Adaptation M&E Navigator provides practical examples and links to further guidance and resources. Additional know-how might be sought to tailor and implement the M&E approach.

In case of any questions or comments about the Adaptation M&E Navigator, please contact Timo Leiter.

Repeating vulnerability assessments over time can indicate changes in vulnerability. This approach can serve as a valuable tool for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of adaptation, if adaptation measures can be linked to changes in vulnerability. For example, a repeated vulnerability assessment conducted after the role-out of more efficient irrigation systems could indicate whether farmers’ vulnerability to water shortages has been reduced (details of this example from Bolivia are provided in the Annex of the Sourcebook). In this regard, periodically conducted vulnerability assessments can also serve as a valuable input to the call for enhanced transparency of adaptation action and an assessment of collective progress made under the Paris Agreement.

The Vulnerability Sourcebook is structured along eight modules which provide a detailed guidance on the operationalization of a vulnerability assessment. A key element is the development of climate change impact chains that specify the exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity, which together determine climate vulnerability.

The approach of the Sourcebook is applicable both on the national and the local level and to a broad range of sectors. It is illustrated with examples and lessons learned from pilot applications in Bolivia, Pakistan, Burundi and Mozambique.

To download the Vulnerability Sourcebook and its supplementary materials please have a look at the this page under the topic of Vulnerability Assessment.


If you have questions or comments on the Vulnerability Sourcebook please contact or