virtual Monitoring and Evaluation Series


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About the Series

The need to ensure adaptation is effective has grown more urgent as climate impacts are increasingly felt and the awareness of the possibility of implementing adaptation strategies has become more commonly understood. Adaptation strategies are implemented based on good ideas and best guesses, and rarely include efforts to assess whether or not they are resulting in desired resilience to climate change impacts. As a result there is little data on the efficacy of adaptation practice. 


The goal of this series is to advance the practice of monitoring and evaluating (M&E) climate adaptation work. This four-part virtual series aims to highlight different approaches, examples, and frameworks from across the adaptation community, spanning natural, built, and social systems. Ample opportunity for Q&A and a training session to conclude the series will help attendees to deepen their knowledge and ability to integrate M&E into their ongoing adaptation work.



Session Descriptions

Session One: Moving to evidence-based adaptation

Wednesday, March 16: 11:00 am - 12:30 pm PT / 2:00 - 3:30 pm ET

Watch Recording


This panel will provide an introduction to adaptation monitoring and evaluation (M&E) theory and practices. The session will cover four aspects of M&E:

1. An introduction to the role of monitoring in helping foster clarity of goals, inclusion of equity and nature, and learning if you are achieving success (Jennie Hoffman, presentation PDF).

2. Examples and lessons of an M&E approach used by sites across the country (Susi Moser, presentation PDF)

3. An inventory of resilience metrics for M&E practice in adaptation (Jarrod Loerzel, presentation PDF)

4. How M&E could be incorporated into actions at each level of the Steps to Resilience (Lara Hansen, presentation PDF)



  • Lara Hansen, Chief Scientist and Executive Director, EcoAdapt

  • Jarrod Loerzel, Research Social Scientist, Community Resilience Group, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

  • Susi Moser, Director and Principal Scientist, Susanne Moser Research & Consulting

  • Jennie Hoffman, Director, Adaptation/Insight


Session Moderator: Dr. Lara Hansen, Chief Scientist and Executive Director, EcoAdapt



Session Two: A well-rounded perspective on M&E: Global, Federal, and Local 

Wednesday, March 30: 11:00 am - 12:30 pm PT / 2:00 - 3:30 pm ET

Watch Recording


This session will be made up of three short presentations that will provide a variety of perspectives on M&E.


Global - Raising the Bar: Designing, Monitoring, and Evaluating Climate Resilience (Colleen McGinn, presentation PDF)

Dr. McGinn will present aspects of ISET-International’s work on M&E of climate resilience policies and programs. She will discuss designing programs, M&E frameworks, and evaluations from a climate perspective. She will explore what distinguishes climate resilience as a distinct body of policy and praxis, and how to better harness it to advance a global evidence base on what constitutes effective climate action. Dr. McGinn will explore how to approach M&E for two distinct – but complementary – agendas: mainstreaming climate change into development programming, and the focused programs that aim towards transformational change within the climate arena. Her presentation will include program design for climate resilience; theories of change, logframes, and indicators; incorporating climate justice and rights-based approaches; evaluation research methods and implications for analysis of climate resilience; and harnessing utilizing evaluation research to advance learning.


Federal - Adaptation and Accountability: The Role of GAO's Disaster Resilience Framework in System-Wide Action (Kathryn Godfrey and Joe Thompson, presentation PDF)

The accountability community consists of organizations that conduct performance audits and evaluations like the Government Accountability Office (GAO), federal inspectors general, and international, state, and local audit institutions. These organizations make recommendations designed to enhance government functions. The accountability community plays an important role in shaping government action to confront the challenges and impacts of a changing climate, because the recommendations made act as critical drivers of adaptation action for any and all climate-related disaster impacts.


In this presentation, Kathryn Godfrey and Joe Thompson from GAO will discuss the Disaster Resilience Framework which provides a foundation for considering how federal action might result in climate adaptation and hazard mitigation (through direct action or by exercising its influence). The Framework contains a set of broad principles organized into three areas—Information, Integration, and Incentives—where the federal government might create or leverage opportunities to drive risk reduction at all levels of government and outside of government. The Framework provides a series of questions decision makers, auditors, and evaluators can use when considering whether there are additional avenues of influence that would result in disaster risk reduction. The questions could also help nonfederal actors identify what they could and should be asking of their federal partners in shared efforts to maximize such opportunities. These principles can be used to assess the status of climate-related disasters in numerous contexts and to identify opportunities to enhance those efforts.


Local - Enabling Homeowners to Adapt to Coastal Flooding: The Case of Rockaway in New York City (Malgosia Madajewicz, presentation PDF)

Progress on adaptation to coastal flooding requires that coastal residents and communities invest in adaptations. However, flood adaptation planning remains the exception rather than the norm among coastal residents. Malgosia Madajewicz from Columbia University will discuss a project that has co-produced knowledge with community groups of coastal residents in the Rockaway region of New York City about current and future flood risk and benefits and costs of adaptation options in order to support informed decisions about adaptation actions that residents can take with their own resources. This project is evaluating if and how the co-production initiative has affected knowledge, attitudes, and adaptation behavior relative to less resource-intensive means of communicating information. The evaluation will examine how approaches to supporting adaptation actions should differ across socio-economic conditions represented in the study communities, which range from low to middle-income and from mainly white to highly diverse and to disadvantaged. Preliminary, qualitative results suggest that change in attitudes and behavior results from information that is specific to individual homes. More general information has limited impact. Challenges have included a reluctance to address flood risk stemming from the sense that individual homeowners do not have effective options and disillusionment with public sector efforts. 



  • Colleen McGinn, Senior Resilience Specialist, ISET-International

  • Kanmani Venkateswaran, Senior Research Associate, ISET-International

  • Kathryn Godfrey, Assistant Director, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)

  • Joe Thompson, Assistant Director, Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)

  • Malgosia Madajewicz, Associate Research Scientist, Columbia University


Moderator: Matthew Malecha, Postdoctoral Fellow, NIST


Session Three: Adaptation M&E theory and practice in the natural resources and conservation sector 

Wednesday, April 13: 11:00 am - 12:30 pm PT / 2:00 - 3:30 pm ET

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This session will offer a comprehensive set of criteria for evaluating adaptation projects, examine evaluation efforts in the U.S. conservation sector, and share examples of evaluation in action. An opening presentation by Dr. Lauren Oakes will introduce a “scorecard” of 16 criteria for evaluating adaptation projects that was developed and honed through interviews and surveys with adaptation experts and conservation practitioners. She will also share results from an analysis of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plans from 76 site-based adaptation projects designed to benefit conservation targets that span a diversity of ecosystems and climate impacts. This analysis examined the types of indicators practitioners are monitoring in relation to reported ecological and social outcomes, to what extent they may be adopting M&E best practices, what factors enable more comprehensive M&E efforts (e.g., partnering with researchers), and practitioner views on what could improve evaluation of adaptation actions. The session will also include presentations by practitioners describing the purpose of their M&E efforts, indicators linked to near- and long-term goals, and practical aspects of evaluating adaptation projects in coastal South Carolina and in forests and rangelands of California.



  • Lauren Oakes, Conservation Scientist, Forests & Climate Change, Wildlife Conservation Society (presentation PDF)

  • Liz Chamberlin, Director of Strategic Innovations, Blue Point Conservation Science (presentation PDF)

  • Joy Brown, Marine Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy - South Carolina Chapter (presentation PDF)


Moderator: Molly Cross, Science Director of the Climate Adaptation Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society (introduction PDF)



Session Four: Training in developing targeted adaptation indicators and metrics 

Wednesday, April 27: 11:00 am - 12:30 pm PT / 2:00 - 3:30 pm PT


Monitoring and evaluating adaptation progress and success is elusive to adaptation practitioners. The ultimate outcomes may not be seen for a long time; climatic conditions are changing; and people’s perspectives and values evolve over time. Thus, development of successful adaptation indicators and metrics (SAIMs) has lagged behind yet are increasingly demanded by funders, credit rating agencies, stakeholders, and elected officials.


During this training, attendees will be able to explore a toolkit created for the development, selection and use of tailored SAIMs. The toolkit draws on 10+ years of work with government officials, academic experts and boundary individuals defining a framework for thinking about adaptation success; developing project-, program- and entity-relevant SAIMs; and distilling the tools, lessons, and tips practitioners find useful in identifying indicators that work for their purposes, constituency and budgets.


The site ( includes didactic material about adaptation, indicators, monitoring and evaluation; facilitation tools, tip sheets for developing, assessing, choosing, using and communicating SAIMs; case studies; sample indicators; and additional resources (data sources, readings and examples of SAIMs developed by others).



  • Susi Moser, Director and Principal Scientist, Susanne Moser Research & Consulting (presentation PDF)



Monitoring and Evaluation Committee

This series would have not been possible without the support of the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee Members (listed in alphabetical order by last name):

  • Katie Clifford, Research Integration Specialist, Western Water Assessment

  • Molly Cross, Science Director of the Climate Adaptation Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society

  • Ned Gardiner, Engagement Manager, U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, NOAA

  • Lara Hansen, Chief Scientist and Executive Director, EcoAdapt

  • Jennie Hoffman, Director, Adaptation/Insight

  • Matthew Malecha, Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Community Resilience Group

  • Susi Moser, Director and Principal Scientist, Susanne Moser Research & Consulting

  • Carey Schafer, Project Coordinator, EcoAdapt