I-f: Evaluation at the Nexus of Environment and Development
The pandemic has shown clearly that human health and environmental health are closely intertwined. Similarly, climate change is here today, not somewhere in the future, causing wildfires that rage around the globe, heatwaves that kill people, storms, floods, drought and other weather anomalies that threaten our ability to produce food.
Climate change is neither the only environmental problem that affects human development and welfare. Ecosystem and biodiversity loss, pollution and waste – not least plastic pollution – all pose serious problems to life on Earth.
What these challenges all have in common is that they are all caused by human activity. The drivers of such changes are unhampered growth – of economy, population, cities, consumption and demand for raw materials – and expansion of our footprint ever deeper into ecosystems.
For evaluation to remain relevant in today’s world, it must recognize the interconnectedness of the human and natural systems. As evaluators, we must see the larger picture in which the interventions we evaluate operate. We can no longer evaluate projects and programs in isolation, based only on their internal logic, as if they existed in a vacuum.
We must expand our understanding of the theories of change to encompass contextual factors and how the evaluand interacts with other elements in the human and natural systems in which it is situated. We must look for unintended and unanticipated effects. And it is safe to assume that every intervention in any field will have some impact on the environment. In sum, evaluations must take a systems perspective.
Our workshop addresses these important issues drawing upon the experience of the Global Environment Facility Independent Evaluation Office and its many partners in evaluating programs and projects aimed at enhancing environmental sustainability. Topics addressed in this course include developing theories of change for interventions in biodiversity, international waters, chemicals and waste management, and climate change, recognizing the interrelationships across these domains; assessing integration and socioeconomic co-benefits; transformational change, additionality, systems approaches, and the application of mixed methods including geospatial tools.
The workshop is interactive, using a variety of tools including lectures, case studies and group experiential exercises to introduce participants to the latest approaches applied in evaluation of environmental programs. Participants will be exposed to the application of systems approaches, additionality and transformational change in evaluation. Participants will reflect and present on their experiences with project design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of environmental projects and programs, and share stories of success and challenges, including in difficult environments such as in fragile and conflict affected situations. The last part of the program will provide an opportunity for participants to reflect on the application of the material covered in their ongoing or future work.
The workshop aims to increase participants’ knowledge of recent approaches to assessing environmental and socioeconomic outcomes of environmental projects and programs. The following key concepts are covered:
- Theories of Change which address the inter connectedness between various environmental interventions and with socioeconomic outcomes
- Integration, its importance in environmental evaluation
- The use of systems approaches in evaluation
- Approaches to measure the additionality of programs
- Approaches to assess the potential for transformative change of projects/ programs
- Use of geospatial tools
- Real world examples from evaluations which demonstrate the application of these concepts listed above
The course is suitable for professionals in government, civil society and international development organizations, and academics and graduate students, especially those who study or work in evaluation, environmental programs, across the world. It is also suitable for evaluation commissioners and funders of environmental programs who could effectively use evaluation findings through an understanding of the approaches and methodologies. Practitioners, consultants working for research and evaluation institutions, governments, NGOs and international organizations responsible for commissioning, and for the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of environmental programs and projects can benefit from this workshop.
This is an intermediate level workshop. It is intended for individuals who are looking to expand the application of their foundational understanding of evaluation to environmental programs, or for those practitioners in environmental programs who wish to understand approaches to evaluate environmental interventions and their relationship to other socioeconomic outcomes.
The workshop requires some experience or understanding on project design and monitoring and evaluation, of environmental or development projects