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How to measure climate change adaptation and resilience

by Mark Sabourin
EcoLog, 6/29/2018 7:54:00 AM

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” It’s a maxim often repeated in corporate meeting rooms.

When it comes to measuring Canada’s progress in adapting to climate change, officials at Environment and Climate Change Canada now have a yardstick. “Measuring Progress on Adaptation and Climate Resilience: Recommendations to the Government of Canada - Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Results” may be 188 pages of dry reading, but it does at least provide a list of 54 indicators that officials can use.

The Expert Panel was launched by the federal government in August 2017. It was asked to devise a series of indicators to measure progress on climate change adaptation and climate resilience under five key action areas identified in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change:

  • protecting and improving human health and well-being
  • supporting particularly vulnerable regions
  • reducing climate-related hazards and disaster risks
  • building climate resilience through infrastructure
  • translating scientific information and indigenous knowledge into action.

In addition to developing the list of indicators, the Expert Panel strayed beyond its formal mandate to recommend a process for measuring and evaluating the results. It’s one thing to collect the various indicators, quite another to gather them into a coherent package that effectively illustrates the direction the country is taking.

The report says that measurement and evaluation will require the designation of a national entity to play a coordinating role and to serve as the destination point for all data collected. It will also need a communications plan with a list of target audiences and timelines.

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