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Colombia’s Progress in Developing a National Monitoring and Evaluation System for Climate Change Adaptation

This sNAPshot describes the development of the National Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system for adaptation in Colombia and shares lessons learned and the next steps in the process.
Flood in a Colombian city

Please note that this content is from 2019. For Colombia’s latest actions on climate change please see the website of the Colombian Ministry of Environment and the UNFCCC NAP webpage.


Colombia is highly vulnerable to climate variability and change. The Third National Communication on Climate Change (Spanish acronym TCN), based on a multidimensional analysis, indicates that the entire country is exposed to some level of climatic risk. It also foresees greater climate changes in the Eastern region, where temperature increases of up to 2.6° C are expected; in the Andean region, where precipitation would increase by up to 30 per cent and in the Atlantic region, where rainfall would decrease by up to 30 per cent).

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. In response, the formulation of the National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change (or PNACC) (in Spanish) was initiated with the objective of reducing the risk and the socioeconomic impacts associated with climate variability and climate change in Colombia.

This sNAPshot describes the development of the National Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system for adaptation in Colombia and shares lessons learned and the next steps in the process. 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 PNACC process.

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Monitoring and Evaluation for Adaptation

The PNACC was developed as a four-phase process, including one specific for the M&E for adaptation. This was initially defined as a system of indicators to systematically analyze the results and impacts of adaptation measures and to provide feedback on the decision making

Between 2015 and 2016, as part of the PNACC implementation process, the country received technical assistance from the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) to design the National Indicator System for Adaptation to Climate Change (Spanish acronym SNIACC) and created an inter-institutional round table to support its conceptualization.

The SNIACC provided valuable lessons that will inform the design of a more holistic system for the monitoring and evaluation of adaptation actions:

  • There are numerous sectoral and territorial information sources for the development of indicators.
  • Indicators are not the ultimate goal of M&E, but are instead tools to measure specific aspects that require quantitative and qualitative instruments (e.g., interviews, formal social science methods, etc.) to gain a general overview of adaptation.
  • The indicators constructed with national-level information have limitations of scale and may underestimate or disregard the results of local adaptation actions.
  • There must be linkage mechanisms generated between M&E at different levels, e.g., establishing standard metrics to facilitate the aggregation of information at the national and subnational levels.

In the context of the National Climate Change Policy (in Spanish), the M&E inter-institutional round table resumed discussions to conceptually redesign the system. Once the new approach for the M&E system for adaptation is defined, the qualitative and quantitative instruments necessary to achieve its objective must be integrated.

Finally, while implementers of adaptation measures must have clear measurement and reporting obligations, the responsibility for estimating their long-term aggregate impact should rest on the national government. For this, the academic and research and statistics institutes are identified as strategic partners.


Lessons Learnt

  • The M&E of adaptation goes beyond vulnerability;
  • The M&E for adaptation must inform decision making and public policies;
  • The M&E system for adaptation must be flexible to reflect the various scales of adaptation and estimate the impact at the national level;
  • Institutionalize the M&E process as part of the PNACC;
  • Establish technical guidelines in the design of the M&E.

Next Steps

Colombia continues to progress in the conceptualization of a system to monitor and evaluate the impact of adaptation efforts, for which the following processes will continue:

  • Defining the ultimate goal of the system, which must be agreed with those responsible for monitoring, evaluation and reporting on climate change adaptation.
  • Identifying the necessary tools or methodologies for a robust M&E system that guarantees sustainable monitoring of adaptation’s strategic aspects.
  • Defining, within the National Climate Change Information System framework created by Law 1931 in 2018 (in Spanish), agreements with strategic actors (such as the national research and statistics institutes and academia) to take advantage of their capacity in terms of reporting and consolidation of indicators at different levels (national, regional and local).
  • Embedding the development of an M&E system for adaptation as part of the PNACC, including it in the National Development Plan 2018-2022, designating institutions and officials responsible for leading the process, documenting progress and making agreements for data generation and reporting.
  • Using this documentation to share and exchange experiences and lessons learned with other member countries of NAP Global Network.

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