New experiences and challenges about M&E of climate policies in the agricultural sector

22nd virtual exchange session of the Community of Practice on Climate Policy Monitoring and Evaluation.

On Wednesday 11 August 2021, the 22nd virtual exchange session of the Community of Practice for climate policy monitoring and evaluation (CoP M&E) supported by FIIAPP in the framework of the EUROCLIMA+ programme with the support of the LEDS LAC Platform took place. The session "New experiences and challenges on M&E of climate policies in the agricultural sector" aimed to delve deeper into one of the topics prioritised by the members. A space for reflection and exchange was opened to further explore the topic through the concrete experience of a B company in Chile, which is betting on regenerative agriculture. We complemented this experience with the views/experiences of the Ministries of Environment of two countries in the region. And, as always, we had an open space for conversation with all the participants.

The phenomenon we are now facing can no longer really be called
"climate change"

Climate has always been subject to rhythmical changes, but modern humankind
has broken this.
We need to pay attention to this rupture and heal it.
Documentation of the Agriculture and Youth Congress 2021 

A private sector perspective on regenerative livestock farming 

Cristobal Gatica, from the Manada company - certified as a B company - reflected on his vision of the sector from his role as a private sector actor. He highlighted the relevance of the issue in the climate context and its interrelationship with other issues, such as food security and the loss of biodiversity. In this sense, the practice of regenerative agriculture or livestock farming is based on the premise of having a living and healthy soil, considering not only its physical and chemical characteristics, but also its biological characteristics. Regenerative management works on the principles of adaptation to the context; minimisation of tillage; maintenance of living roots and soil cover; integration of animals and increased biodiversity. The benefits are diverse and have repercussions in terms of mitigation and the capture of carbon in roots and soil organic matter, as well as in aspects related to adaptation, such as erosion prevention, maintenance of soil moisture, and food security, and others. 

Maintaining ecosystem services in healthy conditions through food production requires a systemic approach. In addition to the elements mentioned above, it requires articulation and communication between different actors (producers, public policy decision-makers and consumers) and the integration of the different dimensions of the territory. On this last point, recognising the need to aggregate dispersed initiatives and carry out associative projects in order, for example, to make measurable what is being carried out in practice.

In terms of measurement, there is a challenge and a need to generate information and models to identify best practices (e.g. in terms of carbon sequestration or increased resilience); to estimate and internalise the environmental benefits or costs of different production processes; and to design and disseminate incentive schemes for best practices.

Initiative 4 per 1000  

The international initiative "4 per 1000", launched by France during COP
21, aims to show that agriculture,
especially agricultural soils, can play a key role in food security and climate change.

On the basis of scientific documentation, the initiative invites all partners to disseminate or establish concrete actions
on soil carbon storage, and the type of practices
to achieve it (e.g. agroecology, agroforestry, conservation agriculture,
landscape management).    

The ambition of the initiative is to promote a commitment to a transition towards productive, highly resilient agriculture,
based on adapted land and soil management, generating
employment and income, and the basis for sustainable development.


Perspective of M&E systems for adaptation in the agricultural sector from the Ministries of Environment of Uruguay and Colombia.

Cecilia Penengo, from the National Directorate of Climate Change of the Ministry of Environment of Uruguay and Eliana Hernandez from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Colombia told about the experience of their respective countries in monitoring and evaluation in the agricultural sector with emphasis on some opportunities and challenges identified in the process. 

For Uruguay, livestock farming is a key sector and it is carried out on an extensive and regenerative basis, taking advantage of natural pastures. Agricultural exports represent 80% of total exports with an impact on 6% of GDP. Given its importance, adaptation to climate change in the sector is a priority and must go hand in hand with the reduction of emissions. The National Climate Change Policy, approved in 2017, is the framework that provides the strategic guidelines to 2050 on which the different programmes and projects are built. For its part, the NDC establishes 68 mitigation measures and 38 adaptation measures, many of which are synergistic between the two. Among the adaptation measures, seven are specific to the agricultural sector and include: forest plantations for shelter and shade; land use and management plans; the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Agro, comprehensive information system and research; risk transfer instruments; multi-land-based dams and reservoirs; and natural field livestock.

The NAP Agro, one of the seven adaptation measures in the agricultural sector of the NDC, is the strategic document that provides guidelines for adapting the agricultural sector and it aims to improve people's livelihoods through sustainable animal and plant production systems. It sets out a strategy to 2050 and an action plan to 2025 with 66 concrete measures distributed in four dimensions: production systems (28 measures), ecosystems and natural resources (8 measures), livelihoods (11 measures) and institutional capacities (19 measures). Its M&E system poses 32 indicators, quantitative and qualitative plus outcome and process, combining both outcome and process indicators as well as qualitative and quantitative indicators. It was developed based on a participatory process that identified the vulnerabilities of each particular system, which makes the measures different for each system.

The level of progress in the implementation and fulfilment of Uruguay's NDC targets can be consulted
through the viewer for progress on the nationally determined contributions.
The system allows filtering by adaptation subgroup and agricultural sector. 

On the other hand, Colombia is currently in the process of defining its agricultural sector indicators, both those that measure progress in the process and those that measure impact. It is recognised that the latter present the challenge of long-term measurement that exceeds the timeframe of project execution. To define indicators at local, regional and national levels, the exercise uses the tools of the Integrated System for Vulnerability, Risk and Adaptation Assessment, which provides guidance and guidelines for the assessment framework and allows for integration with other systems. 

In the evaluation process of both the NDC and Strategy 2050, work is being carried out in specific monitoring and evaluation roundtables in order to have a clear definition and so that the projects can have the guidelines for measuring short, medium and long-term adaptation from the outset. This joint construction of indicators with sectors and territories is based on the initial indicators defined in 2015 and 2016. In the next two years, the system is expected to be established and strengthened in a comprehensive climate change monitoring system that integrates all the different tools and platforms.

General Reflections

  • The relevance and importance of the agricultural sector with respect to climate change is recognised, both in its role as a GHG emitter and in the different carbon reduction and sequestration measures, as well as its specific contribution to adaptation issues and its clear link to food security.
  • The main challenges of climate action in the agricultural sector are reflected in the diversity of options and the complexity of local contexts in geographical and social terms. The measures are different for each system and the challenge is to find the specific measures that allow each producer to be less vulnerable. In order to implement and scale up, it is necessary to integrate the dimension of the producing family (social dimension), livelihoods (economic dimension) and their relationship and impact on the setting (environmental dimension).
  • This ultimately translates into the following challenges in M&E systems:
  • Designing systems: The outline of how it is to be done is conceptualised and planned, but it is difficult to start the implementation and generate the information. It requires resources and time that are not always available.
  • Management and outcome indicators: The first indicators under implementation are associated with management aspects of the implementation of adaptation measures. The challenge remains to work on indicators that assess specific results of the impact of adaptation measures (in terms of improved adaptive capacity or reduced vulnerability and risks), which requires a different, long-term view.
  • Data capture: No systems have been developed to make data capture in real-time simpler and easier.
  • Practices with carbon sequestration potential: It is a challenge to have information for quantifying the carbon sequestered, as it is difficult to aggregate the information and bring it to the national level. There is also a temporal challenge when carbon sequestration occurs for a certain period of time and after stabilisation these sequestration flows are reduced. It is essential to generate incentive schemes based on good information and monitoring systems that ensure that what is being done is being done well and can be certified in order to generate payments.
  • Private sector: The involvement of the private sector, in its different dimensions, is necessary. Tracking the achievement of adaptation objectives requires correctly capturing the data for which effective communication of what is to be achieved, what is needed and what is actually being done is important. 

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EUROCLIMA letra blanca peqEUROCLIMA+ is the European Union's flagship programme on environmental sustainability and climate change with Latin America. It aims to reduce the impact of climate change and its effects in Latin America by promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation through resilience and investment. 
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