Selecting indicators for climate change adaptation programming

This is the second guidance note in a series of three from the SEA Change Community of Practice and UKCIP that focuses on the monitoring and evaluation of climate change adaptation projects. Written by Dennis Bours, Colleen McGinn & Patrick Pringle, this note provides guidance on selecting appropriate indicators in program planning and assessment. The use of process indicators is highlighted with an emphasis on selecting appropriate indicators that frame progress towards adaptation and resilience.

Guidance Note 1: 12 reasons why climate change adaptation M&E is challenging

Guidance Note 3: Theory of Change approach to climate change adaptation


"There is no discreet set of CCA indicators per se, because adaptation is not an outcome in itself. Rather, adaptation programming seeks to enable economies, institutions, communities, and individuals to achieve development goals and decrease vulnerability to the adverse effects of a changing climate. Consequently, indicators for particular CCA projects, program, policies, and portfolios may not necessarily look much different from those for other development programmes. It is not the CCA indicators themselves that are unique, but whether the ones that are chosen combine into a suite that appropriately frames and assesses adaptation progress and resilience to climate change over time. Moreover, the complexities and uncertainties inherent in climate change (see Guidance Note 1) are better-served with a broader selection of indicators than is usually called for in more straightforward development interventions. To this end, there should be an appropriate medley of qualitative, quantitative, and binary indicators (Lamhauge, Lanzi, and Agrawala 2011)."


  • Logframes and beyond
  • Indicator selection criteria
  • Process and outcome indicators for CCA
  • Using indicators intelligently


Bours, D. McGinn, C. & Pringle, P. (2014). Selecting indicators for climate change adaptation programmingSEA Change Community of Practice and UKCIP. Retrieved ​from:

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