Innovative and integrated approaches to agriculture adaptation planning

New reports from the FAO-UNDP NAP-Ag Programme highlight the role of gender, capacity assessments, cost-benefit analysis, impact evaluation, and monitoring and evaluation in integrating agriculture into National Adaptation Plans
3 May 2018, Bangkok: The joint FAO-UNDP Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans Programme (NAP-Ag) released five new reports last month that highlight innovative and evidence-based approaches for climate change policymaking.
According to the reports, entry points on mainstreaming gender within National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), institutional capacity assessments, project appraisal methods that allow policymakers to prioritise adaptation options, and the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of these polices are all crucial for effective adaptation in agriculture.

Ensuring a gender-responsive adaptation planning process

There are four main elements to facilitate gender mainstreaming in NAPs for agriculture. The primary element is undertaking a stocktaking of climate change impacts on different demographic groups that can be desegregated by gender, age, income, etc.  All consultations during these four steps need to be gender-sensitive, and, when effectively applied, can be used to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5 – “to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” The application of these processes have been supported by the NAP-Ag programme in Uganda, where a series of trainings took place targeting a wide range of stakeholders, from national policy-makers, to Members of Parliament and local authorities. The training enhanced the understanding of all stakeholders on the differential impacts of climate change on men and women, and identified measures to ensure adaptation planning is inclusive of all vulnerable populations’ voices and needs.


Assessing institutional capacity

The success of any assessment or adaptation intervention hinges on the institutional capacity of the implementers, meaning a country-driven institutional capacity assessment (ICA) is essential to informing a feasible strategy. The Institutional Capacity briefing note highlights these capacities and also provides guidelines for undertaking a rapid ICA that can be easily applied to integrate agriculture into adaptation plans. 
This approach was put into practice in Kenya where an ICA was carried out on six main institutions, identifying common gaps and constraints such as the lack of trained technical experts and human resources; inadequate institutional frameworks to support climate change; need to improve knowledge management; limited budgetary support; and need for better communication and coordination between the relevant ministries in implementing the NAP. 
Once institutional capacity has been assessed and a plan to build capacities in specific areas has been developed, a country can plan the next steps in implementing their adaptation strategies. 

Building capacities to prioritise adaptation interventions

Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) and Impact Evaluation (IE) are methods that inform policymakers on which adaptation strategies are best suited to them in the context of their enabling environments and the resources at their disposal. Carrying out CBA and IE require a certain level of capacity, making an ICA all the more necessary in building an integrated approach to climate change planning.  
An impact evaluation will assess the outcomes of an adaptation intervention that has already taken place, compared to a counterfactual – a situation where the intervention did not occur. The briefing note explains the importance of this evaluation method to attribute positive outcomes to a specific intervention, fuelling a pragmatic, evidence-based approach to policymaking. 
There are several approaches to IE:  experimental IE, the preferential IE method, and a quasi-experimental IE. The Programme focuses on quasi-experimental design, necessary when random selection isn’t feasible, and is explained clearly in the note. Steps for IE include the following: programme managers and/or policymakers to set a mandate for evaluation; a private firm or government officials to collect data; and economists, statisticians and academics to analyse the data. Once there is the capacity to carry out these functions, an IE can take place. For instance, in Uruguay the Impact Evaluation group of the Office of Agricultural Programming and Policy of the Ministry of Agriculture is conducting an evaluation on “Building resilience to climate change and variability in vulnerable smallholders,” funded by the Adaptation Fund. The NAP-Ag is supporting the ministry in designing the sample and the IE methodology to assess the impact of this project over the 1,000 livestock family farmers who are the beneficiaries of the project. 
CBA is another project appraisal method, primarily used while a project is being planned. By adopting a series of assumptions, including climate modelling scenarios and other variables, it compares the estimated costs and benefits to society of a project going ahead, to the counterfactual. The CBA briefing note lays out seven major steps for conducting CBA on an agricultural adaptation project as well as an applied example in Uganda. The NAP-Ag Programme is building up capacities in six countries by training technical ministry staff and by using data and case studies of past adaptation projects.
CBA allows policymakers to assess the benefits of alternative projects and interventions and is recommended by the UNFCCC when prioritising adaptation strategies, allowing for a more efficient allocation of resources.

Strengthening Monitoring and Evaluations systems for adaptation

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is pivotal to all aspects of the adaptation planning and NAP process, as it is central to evidence-based policymaking. The Paris Agreement (COP21) makes a specific reference to the necessity of M&E adaptation. The M&E briefing note outlines a series of steps for developing M&E systems for adaptation in agriculture; understanding the policy context; understanding challenges and goals of integrating adaptation in the agriculture sectors; defining the purpose and focus of the M&E framework; developing an M&E framework in agriculture sectors; identifying indicators to track adaptation; identifying sources and type of data required for each indicator; and operationalising M&E for decision-making. In the Philippines, the Programme is supporting a stocktake of existing M&E Frameworks, including the national adaptation M&E system under the National Climate Change Action Plan. It will also ensure that the M&E system in place is gender-sensitive. 
Detailed guidance notes, training modules and case studies relating to all five of these work streams will be published in the coming months on the NAP-Ag Portal