How the IKI uses Monitoring and Evaluation

All over the world, a variety of projects are working on mitigating climate change and biodiversity loss and on supporting people and places to adapt to the impacts of climate change. A government-funded programme such as the IKI must always keep an eye on whether sensible, cost-efficient and appropriate measures are being implemented to a high standard; whether projects are achieving their agreed goals. The ways in which these goals are achieved, including the avoidance of social, ecological and economic imbalances in the project regions, also matter greatly. Last but not least, it is important to document what lessons for the future can be learned from a given project. Monitoring and Evaluation can be used to get to the bottom of project impacts and lessons learned, using various methods and formats. The insights gained are made available to different target groups.

The International Climate Initiative (IKI) works in a results and quality-oriented manner. Its Monitoring and Evaluation pursues two overarching goals: accountability and results-based management. On the one hand, all of the IKI’s implementing partners are required to continuously review their extent of project progress and goal achievement (results monitoring). In addition, independent evaluations take an in-depth look at selected projects. Both regular results monitoring as well as evaluations enable the IKI to be accountable for the success of its work. On the other hand, Monitoring and Evaluation provides a robust starting point for critical inquiries into the IKI’s work, which can inform strategies and better decision-making for project planning and management.

The IKI’s Monitoring and Evaluation approach goes beyond mere performance monitoring and quality assurance. It examines and substantiates which contributions IKI projects make to climate and biodiversity protection and better climate adaptation. These evaluation results support a robust evidence-based understanding of which approaches are particularly effective on the ground in a given context and how projects could be improved further. At the same time, methodological challenges of how to systematically collect and use evaluatoin data remain, as the contributions of IKI projects to complex impacts globally and in partner countries are difficult to measure.

The IKI’s Monitoring and Evaluation guidelines refer to international standards. For example, all IKI project evaluations are generally guided by the criteria and quality standards for development evaluation set by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Results monitoring as part of project management

Even before IKI projects get off the ground, they conduct problem analyses and develop their own strategies and indicators accordingly. These strategies and indicators form the basis for progress monitoring and management as well as regular project reporting. They also serve as starting points for subsequent evaluations and reflection.

Portfolio-wide results data generated by the IKI Standard Indicators

Areas newly afforested with IKI funds are covered by the standard indicator "Ecosystems".

The IKI Standard Indicators help to collect project data on the most important key issues of the IKI and to gain an aggregated picture of progress. They include the following focus areas:

  • SI 1 Mitigation: Greenhouse gas emissions reduced or carbon stocks enhanced directly or indirectly by IKI project measures
  • SI 2 Ecosystems: Area of ecosystems with improved conservation and sustainable use due to IKI project measures
  • SI 3 Adaptation: Number of people directly or indirectly supported by IKI projects to better adapt to climate change
  • SI 4 Capacities: Number of people directly supported by IKI projects through networking and training to address climate change or to conserve biodiversity
  • SI 5 Leveraged Finance: Volume of private and/or public finance leveraged for climate change and biodiversity purposes in EUR

Final reviews of projects

Taking stock of the success of projects at their completion plays a major role in the IKI.

Early IKI projects were evaluated in two major evaluation exercises carried out by independent consultants. The first of two so-called “evaluation cycles”, conducted from 2010 – 2012, yielded evaluations of a total of 115 early IKI projects and an evaluation of the IKI in its entirety.

Appointed external evaluators conducted around 190 IKI project evaluations as part of the second IKI evaluation cycle (2017–2022). These project evaluations are supplemented by a set of summary reviews (cluster analysis) as well as two strategic evaluations. The pair of strategic evaluations focuses on the topics of ‘Ecosystem-based adaptation’ and ‘Forest and landscape restoration’. The ministries responsible for the IKI have also responded to the results and recommendations for action from the second IKI evaluation cycle in a statement (IKI Management Response).

Starting in autumn 2021, the third IKI evaluation cycle has been examining all projects ending between 2020 and 2024, about six to twelve months after their respective completion. These 280 individual project evaluations take the shape of brief final reviews with reports being published on the IKI website.  

Midterm Evaluations and Accompanying Impact Evaluations

In order to keep up with a continuously evolving IKI portfolio and the IKI’s ambition to fund effective solutions for a changing climate, IKI evaluation questions as well as the methods and tools used to find answers to these are ever changing.  

After an IKI reform in 2017, larger programmes with longer durations have become more commonplace. Against this backdrop, an increasing number of midterm evaluations – which take place while projects are still ongoing - have been conducted in order to supplemented retrospective (ex-post) project evaluations. These midterm evaluations are designed by the IKI’s central Monitoring and Evaluation unit, with the participation of implementing organisations, and carried out by external evaluation teams. The midterm evaluations determine to what extent ongoing projects are on track to realise their goals in the areas of climate change mitigation, adaptation, natural carbon sinks/REDD+ and biodiversity conservation. They also ascertain which project activities are demonstrably contributing to the desired changes and where strategic reorientation is necessary. Insights thus gained are directly incorporated into project management for the second half of the project.

The IKI also uses Accompanying Impact Evaluations for selected projects with particularly high learning or scaling potential. The involved implementing organisations are able to draw on teams of external evaluation experts who help them examine and reflect on trajectories towards project impacts from the very beginning and integrate insights into ongoing project implementation and management.

Programmatic evaluations and analysis

Hands laid over each other
Working together and learning from each other is a core element of the IKI.

The IKI aims to tackle challenges that usually surpass the sphere of influence of individual IKI projects.

To gain strategic insights beyond individual projects, the evaluation work on individual projects is complemented by strategic evaluations and analysis on cross-cutting issues.

Knowledge management in the IKI

The IKI’s Monitoring and Evaluation practice is embedded in a process of knowledge management. This helps identify relevant questions for enquiry; insights gained are reflected on and communicated to all relevant users. One example of this is the IKI Brown Bag Lunch, where stakeholders from relevant sectors gather to discuss key issues transcending individual projects with the IKI.

In addition, the IKI regularly publishes news of project successes and relevant reports on its website, to disseminate effective approaches to the various challenges in climate and biodiversity protection to a wider audience. A comprehensive project database enables a detailed search of the IKI project portfolio and supports the networking of actors for even more effective work. 

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