Adaptation metrics – current landscape and evolving practices

New paper on adaptation metrics highlights cross-cutting findings to help tracking and assessing adaptation needs, actions, and progress

September 24, 2019

Adaptation metrics are essential for tracking and assessing adaptation needs, actions, and progress. If used properly, they can enhance our understanding of what works and what does not work, why, and under what circumstances.

Although frameworks and metrics to track adaptation are still at the early stages of development and application, there is already sufficient knowledge to help guide future efforts.

This new background paper on adaptation metrics published by UNEP DTU Partnership and the Global Commission on Adaptation highlights several emerging lessons.

Download Adaptation metrics – current landscape and evolving practices here.

No “one-size-fits-all”

The demand for enhanced adaptation tracking and assessment is growing steadily, in tandem with the mounting scientific and empirical evidence of the magnitude of the adaptation challenge, the growth in political attention, and the increasing volume of resources flowing into adaptation.

Given the multiple purposes, dimensions, contexts, and scales at which adaptation tracking and assessment have become relevant, it is hardly surprising that there is no ‘onesize-fits-all’ solution to adaptation metrics. However, there has been a tendency for the international debate to address adaptation metrics generically, without giving sufficient attention to the variety of purposes and contexts involved.

Put differently, adaptation metrics are often proposed as the answer, without clarity on the question being asked.

This paper provide an overview of the landscape of adaptation metrics and highlight emerging cross-cutting findings from evolving practices in key areas that can help guide future efforts in respect of adaptation metrics. The paper examines two main questions from an adaptation metrics perspective: Where do we stand, and what are the promising ways forward?