Climate change adaptation in low- and middle-income countries:
Overlaying the global evidence base with project and investment portfolios
The United Nations aims to invest 100 billion dollars annually in climate change mitigation and adaptation from 2020 onwards. The Independent Evaluation Unit (IEU) of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval) have collaborated to examine where high-quality evidence about adaptation to climate change in low- and middle-income countries is available and where gaps exist. Further, they have compared areas where evidence is and is not available with where the Green Climate Fund and Germany are investing their financial resources, in a first attempt of its kind. This overlay indicates that not all investment decisions are based on evidence. The analyses also point to where future portfolio development and evidence production should take place.
An Evidence Gap Map: systematizing existing knowledge and identifying research gaps
The available knowledge on adaptation to climate change has increased rapidly since 2007. However, a large amount of information also means that it is difficult to distinguish between high- and low-quality evidence. The authors hold that credible, high quality, systematic, replicable evidence should be used to guide strategy and policy. The Evidence Gap Map on adaptation to climate change in low- and middle-income countries provides a thematic overview of global evidence, which is accessible and user-friendly. It is a valuable resource for policymakers and researchers as it highlights areas where high-quality evidence is available and identifies evidence gaps where further research needs to be done. This systematic presentation of evidence supports decision-makers to improve the design and implementation of future climate change adaptation interventions.
Overlaying the Evidence Gap Map with the project and investment portfolios
In international development cooperation, decisions about projects and investments should ideally be made while using evidence. To complement the Evidence Gap Map, the IEU-DEval cooperation has pioneered an innovative tool, the Intervention Heat Map, to indicate how evidence-based the project and investment portfolios of international development actors are. Prof. Dr. Jörg Faust, Director of DEval, highlights the usefulness of the Intervention Heat Map for decision-makers: "For countries, donors and development actors, a comparison of the project and investment portfolio with the available evidence in an Intervention Heat Map can indicate if they are operating in evidence-rich or evidence-scarce environments. Both maps combined are ideally indispensable tools for policymakers to explore the findings and quality of the existing evidence, and prioritize the generation of new evidence for climate change adaptation."
Evidence base not static but growing
While the Evidence Gap Map covers the global evidence on the effectiveness of climate change adaptation interventions and thus, allows for conclusions on a global scale, the perspective of the Intervention Heat Map analysis is based on the portfolios of Germany and the GCF, thus providing conclusions only for the two entities. Dr. Jyotsna Puri (Jo), Head of the GCF's Independent Evaluation Unit, therefore sees a need for further research: “To be able to draw wider conclusions that can be used by other institutions, further Intervention Heat Maps are necessary that incorporate information on investments and portfolios. Evidence Gap Maps help prioritize the generation of new evidence. But overlaying these with heat maps helps us understand where agencies can afford to be far more evidence-based in their decision making. It is also important to consider the evidence base as not static but growing. Thus, evidence maps and heat maps require regular updating. This is an important global good that can be used by the world community. It is the responsibility of agencies such as the IEU and DEval to constantly update these and provide them to our colleagues around the world, but others should join in the effort as well."
For the evidence gap map, 464 publications from the years 2007-2018 were examined in detail. The publications were peer-reviewed scientific studies as well as grey literature. For the Intervention Heat Map, climate change adaptation portfolios of the GCF and the German bilateral international cooperation were examined, based on the list of funds invested by the GCF and the OECD-CRS data for projects implemented by Germany.
The results of the Evidence Gap Map can be explored in an interactive online collection: https://egmopenaccess.3ieimpact.org/evidence-maps/adaptegmieu
The publication "Evidence Gap and Intervention Heat Maps of Climate Change Adaptation in Low- and Middle- Income Countries" is available on the IEU's Evidence Reviews page and the DEval website. The suggested citation for this report is: Doswald, N., L. Sánchez Torrente, A. Reumann, G. Leppert, K. Moull, J.J. Rocío Pérez, A. Köngeter, G. Fernández de Velasco, S. Harten and J. Puri. (2020), Evidence Gap and Intervention Heat Maps of Climate Change Adaptation in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, DEval Discussion Paper 2/2020, German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval) and Green Climate Fund Independent Evaluation Unit, Bonn, Germany and Songdo, South Korea.
About IEU-GCF and DEval
The Independent Evaluation Unit (IEU) was established by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board as an independent unit to provide objective assessments of the results, effectiveness, and efficiency of the GCF and its funded activities. The IEU fulfils this mandate through Evaluation, Learning and Communication, Advisory and Capacity Support, and Engagement. The IEU has approximately 30 people and is led by Dr. Jyotsna Puri (Jo).
The German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval) is mandated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to independently analyse and assess German development cooperation. The Institute's strategically and scientifically well-founded evaluation reports help make development results more transparent, and provide policymakers with a sounder basis on which to take decisions and make development policy effective. DEval is one of the German Government's ministerial research institutes. It currently employs a workforce of around 70 and is led by Prof. Dr. Jörg Faust.
Since August 2018, the IEU-GCF and DEval have exchanged technical expertise and knowledge on the evaluation of climate change adaptation.
Mr. Andreas Reumann
Principal Evaluation Officer
Independent Evaluation Unit (IEU), Green Climate Fund (GCF)
Dr. Sven Harten
Head of Competence Center for Evaluation Methodology/
Deputy Director of DEval
Phone: +49 (0)228 33 69 70-950
Ms. Yeonji Kim
Independent Evaluation Unit (IEU), Green Climate Fund (GCF)
Ms. Jelana Vajen
Head of Press and Public Relations, DEval
Phone: +49 (0)228 33 69 70-980