Posted on December 15, 2015 by
Although the causes of climate change and the roles various nations must play in fighting it have been hotly debated, data provide solid evidence that our planet is facing significant climate challenges that impact our livelihoods, our well-being, and even our very lives. Addressing climate change requires a two-fold strategy: mitigation to deal with carbon emissions and adaption to deal with the effects of a changing climate.
The world has made good progress with common measurements of climate change mitigation, such as carbon dioxide reductions and carbon sequestration increases. However, the task of measuring how well we are adapting to the effects of a changing climate has proved far thornier. In the end, risks, susceptibilities, and solutions are specific to particular contexts, and this makes the task more difficult.
Key Challenges in Measuring Adaptation
- Difficulty defining success. Stakeholders and technical experts around the world often have divergent opinions about how to define success in adaptation. Their values and perspectives are engrained in context- and sector-specific responses.
- Lack universal indicators. Because adaptation occurs at national and local levels, finding appropriate, universal indicators that are meaningful to all cultures and contexts is very difficult. For example, “quality of life” can mean different things even within one society, and much more so across diverse cultures.
- Interconnected systems. Measuring adaptation involves untangling complex, interconnected systems, where definitions and values can change in relation to other elements, strategies, and actors. Development actors have begun to confront the challenge of measuring system-wide changes, but this is nascent.
- Complex concepts. Application of complex scientific methods and data for climate change measurement in data-poor environments with limited histories of collecting and using data can overwhelm developing country counterparts, where internationally generated information can quickly outpace the absorption rate. For example, NASA’s world-class science and data from more than 20 satellites offers the latest in climate change science and technology but developing countries’ decision makers must be able to access and choose to use that information in their analysis, policy, planning, management, and communications. Climate data and services must be relevant to users.
Borrowing Lessons Learned from Other Sectors
The avenues forward can, in part, be borrowed from monitoring, evaluation, and learning in other sectors, where the global development community has dealt with similar challenges.
- Simplify whenever possible. As we work to mainstream measurement of climate change and data use into national development planning, the concepts and terminology behind advanced science and the data it provides must be translated into simpler language, with practical application for policy makers and planners. This can reduce the problem of overwhelming developing country counterparts.
- Apply data widely. Partnering with multiple government agencies responsible for planning and delivering social and economic services related to adaptation is important. By getting their perspectives and focusing on data that is of practical use to more than one agency, we can move toward more universal indicators.
- Promote a systems perspective. Given the need to measure system-wide changes, we can ensure that host-country counterparts understand the systems perspective and help them with the process of linking climate change adaptation to other measures of development, such as health outcomes. A system’s measurement attends to relationships (dynamic interconnections among parts), perspectives (how each actor views and values those relationships), and boundaries (what is inside or outside the system).
The search for universal adaptation indicators and data can drive us forward but must be balanced at the present with indicators that reflect the realities of particular circumstances, while new climate change frameworks with their indicators are piloted and adjusted. While we have not yet conquered adaptation measurement, too much is at stake to dismiss efforts because of the complexity and challenges.
Peggy Ochandarena is the director of Chemonics' Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Department.
Posted on December 10, 2015 by
When the governor’s office of Antioquia first approached
USAID’s Colombia Human Rights Program
with the idea of creating the first ever official human rights
school, I couldn’t help but think, “Oh no, not another school.”
Unfortunately, it is often the case that students, particularly in
the area of human rights, are exposed to a plethora of theory with
little knowledge gained that translates into action or meaningful
change in the real world.
Jairo Emiro Rodgriguez proved...
Posted on December 8, 2015 by
kicked off in Paris, heads of state from 20 countries who
make up the Climate Vulnerable Forum adopted the Manila-Paris Declaration
, which outlined
concerns, priorities and plans for addressing climate change. The
declaration enumerated how the threats we see in the news everyday
— rising sea levels, cyclones, drought, and others — make these
nations vulnerable to climate change.
While geography influences how vulnerable nations, cities, and
villages are to climate change,...
Posted on December 2, 2015 by
Patrick Rader leads the Feed the Future Uganda Commodity Production and
(CPM), which harnesses market forces and
uses innovative methods to increase the productivity of Ugandan
families. CPM reduces poverty and under-nutrition by increasing the
quantity and quality of coffee, maize, and beans that rural
families are able to produce and sell.
Q. According to the World Bank
, climate change
could push more than 100 million people back into poverty over the
next 15 years, primarily...
Posted on December 1, 2015 by
We need to face facts: In many developing countries, there
simply isn’t any money to hire more health care workers. According
to WHO there is a global shortage of more than 7 million health
care workers; 83 countries fall below WHO’s basic recommendation on
of 23 health care providers per 10,000 population. By 2035, that
shortage is expected to grow
to almost 13 million.
The situation is even worse for HIV/AIDS care providers.
According to research conducted by the President’s Emergency Plan
Posted on November 25, 2015 by
By Poulami Banerji and Linda Flynn
is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence
and the first day of 16 Days of
Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
. Gender-based violence
is often misunderstood as just a “women’s issue” because women and
girls are disproportionately affected. In reality, gender-based
violence is a vast and intersecting issue that impacts all members
of society, including girls and women, boys and men, and members of
the LGBT community....
Posted on November 24, 2015 by
When Chemonics embarked on our ISO 9001 certification
several years ago, we
didn’t know what we were getting into. Not exactly anyways. We knew
that ISO 9001 would certify us as an organization that values
quality management. We knew it would launch us into a class of
companies and organizations that can proudly claim a focus on
customer service and a commitment to continual improvement. And we
suspected that it would benefit our business operations by
providing more consistency, transparency,...
Posted on November 20, 2015 by
Universal Children’s Day, established by the United Nations in
1954, is a day to devote to the welfare of the children. While we
formally recognize the importance of child welfare on November 20,
this is a concept that should be reinforced every day and is an
essential element to all education work around the world.
The global development community, including USAID, has made
progress in children’s access to education. However, it’s not
enough to simply have access to education, especially in...
Posted on November 17, 2015 by
Interest in how extractives companies deal with the
environmental, social, and governance aspects of their work is
increasing among investors, financial institutions, affected
communities, consumers, and NGOs. To meet stakeholders’
expectations and avoid additional regulations, many extractives
companies are committing to voluntary environmental, social, and
governance (ESG) standards — essentially principles, guidelines,
and certifications systems that investors, consumers, and others
Posted on November 12, 2015 by
Beyond the bamboo gate at Vitor Raposo’s cultural center in
Pemba, Mozambique, a canopy of trees threaded with artwork and wind
chimes welcomes me into a tranquil courtyard. Tambo Tambulani
Tambo is a peaceful refuge, a stark contrast from nearby
construction sites and spirals of soot rising from newly forged
roads. With investors racing to build resorts and guesthouses along
the city’s coastline to accommodate a recent economic boom — driven
in part by the discovery of natural gas in the nearby...
Posted on November 10, 2015 by
This week at the American Evaluation Association’s 2015
, Chemonics presents findings from several of our
recent projects, including Zambia Communications Support for Health (CSH)
Palestinian Authority Capacity Enhancement (PACE), and Philippines Private Sector Mobilization for Family
Health (PRISM) 2
. These presentations represent how critical
evaluation is to gathering the needed evidence to demonstrate the
positive changes that our projects helped create.
This year has been...
Posted on November 6, 2015 by
This post was originally published by the Alliance for Peacebuilding
and is cross-posted
with permission. Chemonics is honored to be an Alliance for
Peacebuilding member organization.
In Kosovo, one of the biggest sources of instability is
inter-ethnic hostility between majority and minority populations.
Although years of tensions cannot be erased overnight, helping
local communities have meaningful discussions can pave a pathway to
stability and peace in Kosovo — and the greater Balkans....
Posted on November 5, 2015 by
The theme of this year’s American Public Health Association
(APHA) Annual Meeting, hosted in Chicago, was “Health in All
Policies” (HiAP). This theme emphasized the need for policymakers
in all sectors to recognize that environments where we live, work,
and attend school have serious implications on health outcomes.
Julián Castro, the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban
Development, spoke movingly on this topic when recounting the
moment when, as mayor of San Antonio, he realized the impact...
Posted on October 27, 2015 by
On September 29, more than 100 countries and representatives of
civil society attended the Leaders' Summit on Countering ISIL and
Violent Extremism at the UN General Assembly to further the global
discussion about the importance of combating violent extremism
(CVE) around the world. The meeting was preceded by the
White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism
which endorsed an action agenda for the community of actors in
military, civil society, and government. While global...
Posted on October 20, 2015 by
To celebrate World Literacy Day back in September, the
Pakistan Sindh Reading Program
(SRP) team visited one of its
734 targeted schools in Karachi, Pakistan, to read stories aloud to
primary school children. Pictured above is Chief of Party Christopher
Ashford with a student from the school. In the student's hands is
SRP's message on World Literacy Day: "Read to
Reading is vitally important in Pakistan, according to
Christopher, particularly in Sindh,
Posted on October 15, 2015 by
The World Bank predicts that India will receive $70 billion in
remittances from its diaspora around the world in 2015. In absolute
terms, this is the
largest volume of remittances of any country
in the world
(followed by China, the Philippines, Mexico, and Nigeria). It is
also more than six times USAID’s
entire budget request
for fiscal year 2016 and is continuing to
grow at an average rate of nearly
annually. Redirecting a small fraction of this vast
pool of capital could go a long...
Posted on October 14, 2015 by
A $350 billion gap sits squarely between today’s reality and the
potential of impact investing. Why is it so difficult for investors
to identify the right opportunities that achieve both social change
and a return on capital? How can the development community serve as
the intermediary between social entrepreneurs who provide essential
services and the impact investing firms whose capital could bring
these ideas to scale?
In a competitive marketplace, entrepreneurs face several
barriers to entry...
Posted on October 13, 2015 by
Globally, the number of people living outside their country of
origin has almost tripled — from 76 million to 232 million — over
the past 45 years. For many who leave their homes, starting a new
life in search of refuge, employment, education, or other factors
does not mean disregarding their heritage or the family and friends
they left behind. Motivated by diverse factors, such as emotional
ties, economic opportunity, social status, and political influence,
diaspora communities have been giving...
Posted on October 12, 2015 by
By Melissa Rickman and Andrew Johnson
Can social and behavior change communications (SBCC) actually
influence people’s behavior in the real world? The results of
” HIV Prevention Campaign in Zambia suggest that they can,
even when it comes to taboo subjects like sex. The campaign’s
outcome evaluation also underscores the power of good storytelling
that resonates with real people and their daily lives.
In Zambia, years of safe-sex public service announcements had
done little to...
Posted on October 7, 2015 by
With global youth unemployment on the rise in nearly every
region of the world, we as development practitioners are scrambling
to find and scale solutions that quickly improve the employment
outlook for youth. From a growing list of potential workforce
development and placement tools, online job matching platforms have
emerged as relatively simple and cost-effective solutions. The
concept behind them is straightforward: provide job seekers and
employers with platforms to find each other, and we...