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Improving impact evaluation to foster climate resilient development in Zambia

This article describes the findings and outcomes of a joint FAO-UNDP Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans Programme that provided advanced training to improve adaptation planning.
Ali Imran


Over the past several decades, climate hazards—such as droughts, seasonal floods and recurrent flash floods, extreme temperatures and extended dry spells—have increased in frequency, intensity and magnitude in Zambia. These events are impacting government-led efforts to improve food and water security, ensure quality drinking water, and foster access to sustainable energy. Over half of Zambia’s population live on less than $2 per day and in the countryside—where people rely on rain-fed agriculture to feed their families and three out of four people live in poverty—these severe impacts are putting lives and livelihoods at risk.

By improving the capacity of its ministries to monitor and evaluate the impact of climate change actions, the Government of Zambia is ramping up its efforts to plan for low-carbon, climate-resilient development, and reach global goals for poverty reduction, food security and climate action outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In a recent capacity building workshop, provided through the joint FAO-UNDP Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans Programme (NAP-Ag) on 4 to 7 December 2017 in Siavonga, representatives from Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture worked with leading global experts to improve capacity on Impact Evaluation techniques.

This is a re-worked blog post. Read the original post here:

Key Messages

  • It is vital that necessary interventions and policies are put in place to address climate change-related risks and enhance adaptive capacities, and that these options are evaluated for their effectiveness to appropriately inform policy and address climate change adaptation challenges.
  • One way of doing this is through Impact Evaluation, which assesses the changes in the well-being of individuals that can be attributed to a particular project, programme or policy.
  • Impact Evaluation tools offer policy makers, and those engaged in policy implementation, the opportunity to evaluate and select climate change adaptation options that are effective and contribute to National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
  • Modeling adaptation decisions and using econometric tools is essential to understanding the diverse factors that impact climate change adaptation strategies.

Methods and Tools

A joint FAO-UNDP Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans Programme workshop was undertaken to provide advanced training on evaluation techniques and tools to improve adaptation planning in Zambia.

The bespoke training aimed to provide an interesting opportunity for participants to use Impact Evaluation as a decision-making tool in the context of climate change adaptation planning processes, and also serve to increase technical capacity at different levels on mainstreaming the use of economic tools in the budgeting and decision-making processes around climate change adaptation and agriculture.

The workshop was preceded by a training needs assessment in key ministries and institutions, allowing for improved identification of knowledge gaps on Impact Evaluation. Based on this assessment, the training was structured and implemented using a combination of lectures, discussions and practical sessions.

The lecture and discussion sessions covered a range of topics, including Impact Evaluation of adaptation and agriculture projects, applying Impact Evaluation tools for integrating agricultural sectors into National Adaptation Plans, identifying the “right” policy or intervention through evidence-based decision making, theory of change and evaluation design.

The practical sessions involved participants learning and applying Impact Evaluation, as well as adoption modelling techniques in a statistical package (STATA), using an actual dataset on conservation agriculture. The workshop also covered aspects of gender analysis as it relates to the differing priorities, needs, activities and responsibilities of men and women, and boys and girls at various levels, covering ways to inform gender-responsive climate change adaptation interventions.

The workshop drew participation from key government line ministries, as well as research and academic institutions.

Outcomes and Impacts

The main outcome of the training was a bettering understanding of Impact Evaluation approaches to improve adaptation planning and mainstreaming of climate change adaptation considerations for agriculture.

“As an agricultural planner, this [training] has enriched my knowledge and it will improve the way I do my report writing by making them more analytical” – Derrick Chimanga, a workshop participant from the Ministry of Agriculture.

The enabling environment and institutional strengthening promoted by the training is expected to benefit future projects, including a proposed Green Climate Fund (GCF)-financed Zambia project: working with technical advisors from UNDP, the Government of Zambia is currently formulating a proposal for the Green Climate Fund for a project to improve climate resilient agricultural livelihoods in the country’s Agro-Ecological Regions I and II.

The project proposal aligns with the Government of the Republic of Zambia’s key development goals, defined in Zambia’s Seventh National Development Plan and Vision 2030 Strategy, which identify the agriculture sector as critical for achieving the objective of becoming a prosperous middle-income country by the year 2030.

The proposal is anchored in the country’s National Adaptation Programme of Action on Climate Change (NAPA, 2007), National Climate Change Response Strategy (2010), National Strategy for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD, 2015) and contributes to the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC, 2015).

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