New systems for tracking the social impact of efforts to adapt to climate change could soon be in place in Africa and South Asia.
Working with policy and research partners in these regions, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) (Adaptify and Garama 3C Limited) has designed a framework and tools that would enable countries to ensure that their efforts to adapt to climate change and efforts to development work in concert.
IIED is engaging with governments of five developing nations including Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal and Pakistan to test the framework and tools as means to evaluate a range of climate adaptation activities.
Government representatives and researchers would join IIED staff and other partners in Edinburgh on March 19-20, to review the design for the feasibility testing arrangements and next steps.
Representatives of the Scottish Government and their advisers would also attend the meeting to share their experiences of planning climate adaptation and designing a monitoring and evaluating framework.
"While most frameworks for evaluating responses to climate change assume that adaptation will neutralise harm and allow development to continue as planned, but this underestimates the real change needed to keep development on track," says Dr Simon Anderson, head of IIED's climate change group.
"As governments and development partners begin to invest large sums of money in action to adapt to climate change, it is essential that they focus on adaptation's contribution to long term development, and not just spend money on adaptation projects," he said.
Dr Anderson said:"Unless they can track adaptation and measure development outcomes there is a risk that funds will be poorly spent."
The new framework and tools that IIED and partners have developed would enable governments and development agencies to assess whether adaptation projects enhance or compromise development.
They would measure how fairly the costs and benefits of such projects are distributed and would help to identify where to spend future investments.
The framework and tools known collectively as the Tracking Adaptation and Measuring Development (TAMD) Framework - could be tailored to suit individual country contexts, different sectors and at various scales.
"All countries need to adapt to climate change, but they need to be sure they do so in a way that does not harm their social and economic development," says project leader Dr Anderson.
"The tools we have developed will allow countries to ensure that adaptation and development work hand-in-hand. Ultimately this will mean better management and more accountability in how investments in adaptation are made."
IIED developed the TAMD framework with funding from the UK's Department for International Development.
The project's next steps would include tailoring TAMD to each of the five pilot countries and testing the framework in them at national and sub-national levels.
To offset the greenhouse gas emissions that arise from people travelling to the meeting in Edinburgh, IIED will invest in both a direct emissions offsetting scheme and in projects that help communities adapt to climate change.