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CSA programme and project monitoring and evaluation

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This module looks at monitoring and evaluation frameworks that are necessary for the successful adoption of climate-smart agriculture. 

Chapter C9.1 provides an overview of the scope, purposes, frameworks and concepts for monitoring and evaluation for climate-smart agriculture projects and programmes. This guidance is intended to support:

  • assessments of the effectiveness of climate-smart agriculture interventions in enhancing adaptation, mitigation and food security; and
  • monitoring and evaluation in results-based planning and implementation processes for climate-smart agriculture.

Chapter C9.2 provides guidance for the design and the implementation of monitoring and evaluation for climate-smart agriculture programmes and projects. 

Chapter C9.3 describes the challenges involved in monitoring and evaluation and the principles that underpin the monitoring and evaluation processes. Climate-smart agriculture addresses a wide range of issues, and climate-smart agriculture practices are context-specific. For this reason, it is not possible to prescribe a single general approach for monitoring and evaluation. The ideas and methods outlined in this module represent a starting point for designing a customized approach that is well focused, targets the particular needs and circumstances of the proposed activity and takes into account the guiding principles. 

This module does not address in detail issues related to institutions and policies, capacity development or gender. References are made to other sources of guidance for more detailed methods and processes and concepts. Institutions and policies for climate-smart agriculture are dealt with in module C3; capacity development in module C1; and gender issues in module C6

Although the guidance in the module does not explicitly address planning processes, assessments and monitoring and evaluation are intimately linked to planning. Planning at the landscape scale is dealt with in more detail in module A3 on integrated landscape management. module C10 on step-by-step implementation and module C1 on system-wide capacity development at the country level outline the steps for planning of climate-smart agriculture, which include assessment, monitoring and evaluation. Different types of assessment, monitoring and evaluation are summarized in module A2 (see chapter A2.2).

Key messages

  • Monitoring and evaluation are core management tools for climate-smart agriculture. Monitoring and evaluation activities, which are integral parts of the planning and implementation of climate-smart agriculture interventions, set baselines, define indicators, measure progress and evaluate successes and setbacks. Monitoring and evaluation activities also identify the synergies among various climate-smart agriculture options.
  • Monitoring and evaluation are crucial for learning and conducting policy reviews.
  • Monitoring and evaluation need to be designed and conducted to measure progress towards climate-smart agriculture objectives. There are many general methodologies, data and tools to build upon.
  • System-wide capacity development for climate-smart agriculture and adaptive management in planning and monitoring and evaluation is critical to ensure flexibility in a rapidly changing environment and deal with uncertainty, which are typical characteristics of the settings in which climate-smart agriculture interventions are carried out.
  • Monitoring and evaluation present several distinctive challenges for climate-smart agriculture. There is a set of core principles that are important to consider, such as obtaining management buy-in and ensuring that participating stakeholders and institutions have the capacities they need to contribute effectively.