Webinar [ID: 133]

Indicators for climate adaptation in agriculture

In this webinar, Dr. Bruce Campbell – Director of the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) – discussed the development and implementation of adaptation indicators in the context of climate smart agriculture (CSA) projects.

Bruce began his presentation by introducing the global adaptation goal. He then went on to describe the complexities and difficulties associated with the selection and use of indicators for climate adaptation in the agricultural sector. Finally, drawing on different sources of indicator selection, he provided a set of recommendations to assist practitioners in devising appropriate tools to assess the adaptive capacity and resilience of agricultural systems.   

In outlining the problems and complexities for adaptation metrics, Bruce identified seven key challenges:

  1. Lack of a single metric
  2. Lack of ability to aggregate information across sectors, and from fields to the globe
  3. Many confusing interlinked concepts (e.g. vulnerability, adaptive capacity and resilience)
  4. Lack of agreed off-the-shelf method (there is a multitude of indicator frameworks across different agencies and academia)
  5. Difficulty to identify, combine and interpret the types of relevant indicators
  6. Nature of climate adaptation (e.g. long timescales for impacts and outcomes in a changing climate)
  7. Multi-dimensional challenges


To address these challenges, Bruce provided the following set of recommendations:

  1. Have a good theory of change
  2. Use standard M&E framework linked to pragmatic and simplified indicators
  3. Use context-specific indicators in projects
  4. For an outcome indicator, align as far as possible with the SDG indicators
  5. For process/output indicators, select a diversity of indicators

Other key conclusions from the presentation and subsequent discussion were:

  • Given the multitude of indicator frameworks for climate adaptation, there is a strong need for the various agencies working in this field to have a joint discussion as a means of converging on a common framework.
  • Further challenges associated with selecting and using adaptation indicators include: the necessity for counterfactuals when tracking adaptation, data overload and the expense of doing baseline surveys and implementing tracking systems, and the need to be aware of winners and losers from adaptation and to understand the full spectrum of things that are happening in different landscapes and national jurisdictions.
  • There are strong linkages between adaptation and development and, correspondingly, the SDG indicators are of high relevance for tracking adaptation outcomes.
  • Having a good theory of change and selecting indicators that are closely related to this can help to overcome challenges such as lack of data and making connections between different scales.


Bruce Campbell | CGIAR-CCAFS

The webinar is the second part of a 4-webinar-series that the Global Donor Platform will be presenting to you until the end of the year.



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