COP21: Climate change adaptation in Europe, tracking progress and sharing know-how

Published on
December 4, 2015

An increasing number of initiatives are being put in place to adapt to the impacts of climate change at all levels. It is now critical to understand better which actions work in which contexts and why. Judith Klostermann, Rob Swart and colleagues worked on an overview of national monitoring, reporting and evaluation systems in Europe. Attention was paid to their report during a side event at COP21.

Climate change impacts vary across Europe. Some regions face increasing water stress and drought, while others will experience floods. Different policies and actions therefore need to be put in place to meet adaptation needs and potential impacts specific to each area. To evaluate whether actions are effective and efficient, European countries need to collect and analyse information on adaptation policies in their territories. This knowledge allows for a better understanding of how and why certain actions work in certain contexts, which in turn supports the development of adaptation policies and measures.

“In our report, published by the European Environment Agency, we present information on monitoring and evaluation systems at national level in Europe,” Judith Klostermann says. “We have looked at the most recent activities from European countries, we provide insights into key aspects (drivers, governance, methodology and information channels) and we reflect on current practices as well as on future issues that might be relevant for those working in this area. Our report includes national-level case studies.”

Tracking and evaluating adaptation actions

The European adaptation strategy on climate change foresees that Europe monitors and evaluates the status and progress of adaptation. “This is not meant as a control mechanism,” Rob Swart says. “The main objective of monitoring and evaluation programmes is to learn and share knowledge. An increasing number of European countries has already taken action on monitoring systems. At this moment 14 countries have monitoring systems in place or under development, including the Netherlands. Most of these countries monitor the progress that has been achieved in their national adaptation strategies or plans. Some also monitor the effectiveness of their actions.”

Judith Klostermann: “Sharing know-how is very important. Monitoring of adaptation remains an emerging and dynamic field of practice where the experience of countries with more advanced systems can be invaluable for those countries just beginning to consider building such systems. Experience in monitoring, reporting and evaluation in other new policy areas can also be relevant to the climate change adaptation policy domain since the challenges faced can be similar, for example in terms of data and information reporting availability and requirements.”

Here you can find the European Environment Agency report: ‘National monitoring, reporting and evaluation of climate change adaptation in Europe'