German Institute for Development Evaluation

Climate Change Adaptation


Climate change and human development are closely intertwined. On the one hand, climate change influences the economic, ecological and social development of countries. On the other hand, development reduces climate change vulnerability, improves the adaptive capacities of countries and contributes to establish enabling environments.

The Federal Republic of Germany is committed to reducing the negative impacts of climate change for and through development. To this end, German Development Cooperation (GDC) is involved in joint international actions as committed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Paris Agreement or the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

Climate-related risks take many forms. Measures for CCA are correspondingly diverse. The spectrum of interventions of GDC follows the so-called climate risk continuum from averting climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) to CCA interventions: These comprise minimizing climate risks through adaptation and climate-related disaster risk management. While GDC has emphasized climate change mitigation in the past, measures to support CCA are gaining importance. This is most prominently due to the growing awareness that climate change is already a major risk to development and that managing the unavoidable becomes equally important.

The growing relevance of climate change adaptation and the lack of comprehensive evaluation motivate the decision for a strategic evaluation of the German portfolio on adaptation to climate change. To date no systematic analysis of the German portfolio on CCA is available and we know little about the climate-resilience of GDC.


The purpose of this evaluation is to evaluate the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, and sustainability of the GDC CCA portfolio and its instruments, as well as to assess the coordination, complementarity and coherence of actors, programming and implementation processes. This main purpose leads us to the definition of following main evaluation objectives:

– contribute to the strategic development of the portfolio;

– provide evidence on the effectiveness, impact and sustainability of key instruments and aid modalities;

– identify starting points to improve programming and implementation processes.


The evaluation aims to pilot innovative approaches to method integration in complex evaluations on climate change adaptation. To this end, the evaluation will use multiple methods with the aim to: (a) to improve evaluability of complex adaptation interventions, (b) to develop a systematic approach to address multi-dimensional, causal and non-causal questions in adaptation evaluations, and (c) to contribute to the methodological debate of how to systematically integrate methods in complex adaptation evaluations.

Method integration is a methodological focus of the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval).


The evaluation begins in early 2019 and ends in 2021.

Current status

Concept phase


Competence Centre for Evaluation Methodology

As at: March 2019