Blog Contributor: Michaela Jennings
On November 16th, 2020, Niagara Adapts held their 7th workshop in a 9-workshop series. The workshop was held for the 7 municipal partners of Niagara Adapts to add to the progress being made in the creation of their Climate Change Adaptation Plans.
Dr. Jessica Blythe began the workshop with an introduction to the facilitators of the event from Savanta Consulting. The consulting firm has experience working with local municipalities in Ontario to create their adaptation plans by utilizing the best practices. They provided a new perspective on the adaptation planning process, which allowed the partners, and the Brock Team to examine how monitoring and evaluation play a significant role in adaptation planning.
The workshop then progressed with a presentation on “Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL).” The presentation covered the “what, why, and when” of MEL, and the benefits of outlining a MEL process before implementing an adaptation plan. So far, Niagara Adapts has assisted in creating the municipal partners’ vision, goals, and completing a vulnerability assessment. Monitoring and evaluation are an important aspect as they outline how a plan will be implemented, monitored, and improved in the future. The presentation provided insight into the use of the “specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound” (SMART) framework when approaching MEL. Allowing the partners to learn how to approach MEL in their adaptation plan with some guidance.
The workshop continued with an introduction to a case study example. The case study was of one municipality’s experience in their monitoring and evaluation approach. This aspect of the workshop provided concrete examples and suggestions for the partners. Additionally, the presentation went into how monitoring and evaluation are done in bigger cities within Canada, showing a different approach to effective MEL in adaptation planning.
An activity was then used to engage the participants in creating indicators using SMART. By creating indicators, it allows for progress to be monitored after the implementation of the adaptation plan. Measurable indicators that can show progress and success are an important aspect of MEL. This was beneficial for the participants to apply what had been discussed in the workshop to their own adaptation plan.
The workshop provided an opportunity for the municipal partners to learn and apply the lessons learnt in the material. The workshop concluded with a valuable discussion with the facilitators, providing an opportunity for questions to be answered about adaptation planning. Overall, the workshop was beneficial in outlining the importance of monitoring and evaluation, as well as some helpful insights into adaptation planning.