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CGIAR-CCAFS Info Note: Assessing the influence of CCAFS’ climate data and tools: findings from an Outcome Harvesting evaluation

Kornelia Rassmann, Tonya Schuetz, Philip Thornton, Laura Cramer

Summary: The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) integrates climate change research across all CGIAR Research Centres and Research Programs. Some of CCAFS’ work since 2010 has involved the development of high quality, accessible and easy-to-use climate data and tools. With an increased focus on achieving development outcomes influenced by such data and tools, a study was carried out starting in 2016 to evaluate the development effectiveness of some of CCAFS’ climate products: the GCM Climate Portal, MarkSimGCM, and the Climate Analogues tool. The study was designed to explore whether use of these three products has led to development outcomes, and if so, what type of changes have been observed and how exactly the products have contributed to such changes. Outcomes here are defined as behavioural changes in individuals, groups or institutions doing something differently with respect to climate-change-related knowledge, attitude, capacity, policy or practice. Outcome Harvesting was used for the evaluation, along with some elements from Impact Pathways thinking (Douthwaite et al. 2008) and Contribution Analysis (Mayne 2008).

We started the harvest by collecting outcome leads from project documents and an online survey. These leads provided the basis for selecting those cases that appeared promising to be turned into SMART outcomes. A majority (70%) of the 30 cases investigated that employed CCAFS’ climate products were new in the sense that they were not directly related to the CCAFS program. Results from the survey indicated that the data and tools frequently were employed in countries not directly targeted by the CCAFS program and that users often discovered the tools via web search. These observations suggest strongly that CCAFS’ climate data and tools are widely used even without specific promotion, which is consistent with CCAFS’ mandate as a provider of international public goods (IPGs). After email exchanges and phone interviews, we identified a total of 14 cases with a plausible linkage to one of the tools and sufficiently detailed information to qualify as SMART outcomes. Of these 14 SMART outcomes, eight related to the GCM Climate Portal and six to the use of the Climate Analogues tool. We found several MarkSimGCM leads, but no SMART outcomes at this stage. One SMART outcome was developed into an extended outcome story (“Farms of the Future, Africa”) and one (“Seeds for Needs, India”) was unpacked further in considerable detail.

In sum, the assessment concluded that i) CCAFS\' climate data and tools are effective in contributing to development outcomes; ii) CGIAR and non-CGIAR entities use the tools for species/habitat modelling, climate change impact studies and identification of climate analogue sites; iii) outcomes are observed in many parts of the world and in a wide range of societal actors and they occur at different stages along impact pathways relevant to CCAFS’ goals. The report also highlighted lessons on how CCAFS may be able to focus their investments in tool development, facilitate uptake and sustainability, and capture change.

Type: Evaluation Reports

Theme: Agriculture, Land, Forests and Fisheries

Contibuted by: Kornelia Rassmann, on: 20 Sep 2017

Downloads: 30

Download resource (pdf 584 KB)

Latin America & Carribean Sub-Saharan Africa North Africa & Middle East South Asia South East Asia & Pacific Far-East Asia Eastern Europe & CIS (ex USSR) Western Europe North America & Canada Australasia