International adaptation core indicators

This is a review of climate change adaptation indicators used by development agencies and countries


Monitoring and evaluation for climate change adaptation programs, policies, and strategies – and specifically the indicators of success for measures taken - has been a topic of great interest among international development partners. Donor agencies each have their own respective results frameworks and corresponding guidance that is periodically updated to meet monitoring, reporting and evaluation needs. Often there are overlaps in the technical definitions or conceptual meaning that the indicators used by donor agencies are meant to capture, but there are no streamlined systems for reporting ‘common’ indicators. Therefore, at the partner country level, the recipients of multiple funding sources must manage various expectations despite the duplication of effort and burden of multiple reporting requirements.

The Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action, for example, have encouraged harmonization of various approaches, and better alignment with country systems, but there is much progress to be made. This paper is meant to inform discussions on advancing the options to take advantage of the similarities in methodologies so that less complex and less burdensome systems may be used across various portfolios directly or indirectly addressing climate change adaptation.

The following report helps to identify, in relation to climate change adaptation:

  • Key themes that organisations are trying to measure;
  • Where similarities lie between organisations’ monitoring frameworks and indicators; and
  • Where common methodologies could potentially be adapted from existing approaches.

Following a scoping exercise of dozens of reports, guides, and other documents, resources from the following types of organizations were selected for an in-depth review (see bibliography for citations):
-Six meta-analysis resources on climate change adaptation frameworks (OECD, GIZ, SEA Change & UKCIP, Ecology and Society, UNDP, CGIAR)
-Eighteen climate change adaptation results frameworks, climate screening guides, and other related resources from five bilateral donors (DFID, GIZ, SIDA, JICA, USAID), four multilateral programs (WB CIF PPCR, GEF LDCF/SCCF, UNDP/UNEP PEI, Adaptation Fund), three regional banks (ADB, AfDB, IDB), three country strategies (Kenya, Bangladesh, Indonesia), and one international (IIED) and one regional NGO/research center (Mekong River Commission).

The report is divided into four main sections following the introduction: meta-analysis review; multilateral, bilateral, global, regional and country frameworks review; conclusions; and recommendations.

This report has been produced by Baastel for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Adaptation Knowledge and Tools programme and published through Evidence on Demand.

The Adaptation Knowledge and Tools programme is a DFID-funded programme intended to maximise the effectiveness of UK and international investment in climate change adaptation and resilience. The knowledge and tools generated through this programme are expected to promote greater understanding of what constitutes best practice in adaptation, as well as better international cohesion and coordination around adaptation. Through these entry points the programme expects to increase the quality of international and UK adaptation programming and reduce its risk.


Spearman, M. International adaptation core indicators: a review of adaptation indicators used by development agencies and countries. Baastel, Brussels, Belgium (2014) 26 pp.

International adaptation core indicators: a review of adaptation indicators used by development agencies and countries

Published 1 January 2014