Enhancing Data Availability for Informed Decision Making

About This Opportunity

To ensure adaptation actions are relevant, credible, and legitimate, they should be identified based on quality data and information, gained through scientifically rigorous processes, building on Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge and local knowledge systems. This creates a strong foundation for implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and learning.

Data often exists but is not clearly identified or is not collated in a way that serves national planning processes. There are strategies for increasing data visibility and engaging with data owners to improve availability and increase the robustness of the NDCs.

Reflecting the Global Stocktake

The GST includes the following key paragraphs related to this Opportunity:

  • Paragraph 48: “Notes that there are gaps in implementation of, support for and collective assessment of the adequacy and effectiveness of adaptation, and that monitoring and evaluation of outcomes is critical for tracking the progress and improving the quality and awareness of adaptation action”.
  • Paragraph 49: “Acknowledges that establishing and improving national inventories of climate impacts over time and building accessible, user-driven climate services systems, including early warning systems, can strengthen the implementation of adaptation actions, and recognizes that one third of the world does not have access to early warning and climate information services, as well as the need to enhance coordination of activities by the systematic observation community”.

The following strategies could help to implement this Opportunity:

Leveraging existing data visibility platforms:

This could be achieved through capacity-building of actors responsible for NDC development. Identifying existing data platforms (examples can be found here: Climate Data Platforms) and building key stakeholders’ trust in them can increase use of collected data and reduce capacity burden on data managers.

Leveraging existing government-owned data through institutional coordination and shared-data management practices:

Countries may seek to encourage communication and standardization across government departments or offices to utilize existing data across sectors or thematic areas. For example, data management workshops can be used to discuss data availability and sharing needs, building institutional capacity for data utilization. For more information, see “Route: Mobilizes All-of-Government and All-of-Society.”

Establishing more coherent financing for complete data systems:

These could be at global, national, and regional levels. See “Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, More and Better Financing for Development Data” for six areas for better financing for data.

Strengthening scientific rationale for adaptation action:
  • This could be achieved through:
    1. Conducting targeted research on underlying observations and data, and on projection and likelihood analysis.
    2. Improving and documenting the effectiveness of adaptation measures to generate data.
    3. Conducting a more systematic assessment of adaptation outcomes and socio-economic benefits.
Building on Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge and local knowledge systems:

Over generations, Indigenous Peoples and local communities have accumulated sophisticated bodies of knowledge about the variability and transformation of their environment. They have experienced this variability and unpredictability for centuries, generating important insights into coping with environmental and climate uncertainty. Increasing partnerships between Indigenous Peoples and scientists helps to promote co-produced knowledge that can complement scientific uncertainty with traditional knowledge of long-term variability. See “UNESCO & UNU Weathering Uncertainty: Traditional Knowledge for Climate Change Assessment and Adaptation” for an overview and examples of uses of Indigenous Knowledge as a foundation for decision-making.

Using Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning frameworks to track outcomes and collect data on the development of climate impacts and adaptation over time:

Countries could approach this as an evolving process, beginning with MEL of the process and outputs of adaptation actions, then developing indicators and methods to measure long-term outcomes. Early MEL frameworks should embrace simplicity and pragmatism as an entry to this opportunity. See the” NAP Global Network’s Toolkit for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning for National Adaptation Plan Processes” for guidance on developing and using MEL frameworks in national planning.

Embracing uncertainty:
  • Uncertainty is inherent in climate adaptation data and will persist despite improvements in standardization, data management, and modeling capability. However, climate impacts are increasing in severity, frequency, and synchronization. Countries should not see this as a barrier to action. Embracing uncertainty opens the opportunity for data enhancement and strengthens the ability to make informed, evidence-based decisions. To do so, countries could:
    1. Conduct iterative risk management that sees climatic and non-climatic factors as evolving. Countries could conduct ongoing assessments, action monitoring and evaluation, reassessment, and response.
    2. Use a range of scenarios to explore potential futures. This helps to demonstrate the range of potential futures and encourages discussion on exploring solutions that accept uncertainty.
    3. Employ participatory approaches to evaluate how realistic scenarios may be in the context of the country by acquiring complementary qualitative information from experts and stakeholders (at regional and local levels).
    4. Use multi-criteria analysis to select options where data uncertainty has a strong affect.

Country Examples

Argentina’s National Climate Change Office developed an interactive website that provides vulnerability and risk maps against a number of potential future scenarios. They use a combination of social vulnerabilities data and geo-referenced data to compare climate-related hazard risk with vulnerability and exposure at the district level. The information is publicly available and is used to inform elements of its national communications on climate change. (Source: “Climate Change Risk Mapping System,” Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, UNDP).

St. Lucia conducted a stocktake of data on vulnerabilities and risks, identifying existing sources like the population and housing census, national resource inventories, sector-relevant assessments, and a list of data needs, including wind hazard information, climate extreme indices, sea level rise modeling, coastal flood, and erosion mapping, under their NAP processes. This highlighted priority areas for action. Source: “St Lucia’s NAP 2018-2028,” UNFCCC).

Sudan did not have regional climate projections during early NAP development and decided these were required in order to undertake effective vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning. To develop these projections, they: built technical capacity by establishing relationships between Sudanese meteorologists and international experts; defined climate trends by summarizing observed precipitation and temperature characteristics for a baseline period; obtained global climate model outputs from the IPCC AR5 model; developed future regional projections by applying statistical downscaling techniques and correlated these with historical regional data (using proxy data if required); produced infographics to illustrate how climate change was developing in Sudan; and addressed uncertainty by characterizing contributors to uncertainty, and communicating this with the outputs of the analysis. (Source: “National Adaptation Plan of Sudan,” UNFCCC).

Further Resources

Overview of 100+ Climate Data Platforms (WRI, 2023)
This site, developed by WRI, collates climate data platforms categorized by scale and topic focus. Countries could use this to identify existing climate data platforms relevant to their country and context and integrate use into their NDC development.

Data for Adaptation at different spatial and temporal scales (UNFCCC, 2020)
This technical paper by the UNFCCC Adaptation Committee provides an overview of data required and provided for adaptation across different scales including a description of different categories of data against components of climate risks, categories of data required at different stages of the adaptation process, gaps and challenges, and opportunities to further enhance data provision and use.

Next Steps for Defining a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning System for the Global Goal on Adaptation by COP28 (IISD, 2023)
This report aims to guide government stakeholders and other actors on M&E frameworks. Key suggestions include leveraging existing systems, avoiding additional burdens with new indicators, prioritizing country-driven and inclusive approaches, and support for implementation. It emphasizes the need for strong political will, cooperation, and collaboration across all levels.

Toolkit for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning for National Adaptation Plan Processes (UNFCCC Adaptation Committee/NAP Global Network, 2024)
This toolkit provides practical guidance for the development and continuous improvement of MEL systems for NAP processes. It is informed by lessons learned from countries around the globe that either already implement or are developing MEL systems as part of their NAP processes. The toolkit uses the framing of NAP processes to refer to the umbrella of all national adaptation planning processes, including adaptation components under the NDCs.

Monitoring and Evaluation of Adaptation at the National and Subnational Levels (UNFCCC, 2023)
The paper demonstrates the current landscape of M&E at national and subnational levels, aiding an understanding of how governments apply M&E systems, challenges and opportunities to enhance implementation through M&E, and institutionalizing M&E systems to achieve vertical and horizontal integration.

Strengthening Monitoring and Evaluation for adaptation planning in the agriculture sectors (UNDP, 2019)
This technical guidance note by the FAO and UNDP describes how to develop M&E systems for adaptation planning in the agriculture sectors. It provides step-by-step guidance for designing an M&E framework that considers both the implementation of adaptation plans and their long-term outcomes. It is targeted towards technical staff working on agricultural adaptation but is also relevant for policymakers involved in national adaptation planning and budgeting.

How This Links to Other Routes

Due to the complex and contextual nature of adaptation, data remains a systemic challenge. Enhancing data availability can support all actors involved in understanding, implementing, and monitoring adaptation. Some important linkages to other Routes include the following. Navigate to these to read more:

Route: Delivers a Just and Equitable Transition

Engaging stakeholders and communities in data collection, management, and analysis contributes to empowerment. Enhanced data availability can also contribute to the effectiveness, benefits, and outcomes of actions to achieve a Just Transition.

Route: Mobilizes All-Of-Government and All-Of-Society

Applying a robust engagement strategy that consults all parts of society (civil society, business, financial institutions, cities, subnational authorities, Indigenous Peoples, local communities, youth, and research institutions) provides an opportunity for identification of all data sources and creates channels for those data sources to be shared.

Route: Technically Sound and Transparent Documents

Increasing the availability of quality data can contribute to ensuring mitigation and adaptation components of NDCs are built on strong evidence bases, rooted in science, and technically sound.

Support Opportunities

Support is available to countries to apply the learning from the navigator and develop ambitious NDCs 3.0.

Share Additional Resources

Contribute new guidance, tools and strategies to be reflected in the NDC 3.0.