• logo linkedin
  • logo email
Since 2015, AFD Group has stepped up its commitment to initiatives that boost adaptation to climate change. A recent evaluation of 35 projects with an "adaptation" component in sub-Saharan Africa enables us to adjust our operations to the realities on the ground, and highlights major challenges for the development community.
Evaluations Report 2023
Our work in photos and figures
Find out more

With global warming expected to reach 1.5°C by the early 2030s, according to the March 2023 IPCC report, AFD Group is working to ensure that all the projects it funds are aligned with the Paris Agreement. To achieve this goal, the Group has significantly increased its funding since 2015, among other things, for projects with "adaptation co-benefits,” which address the risks associated with global warming, while also targeting other development objectives. 

Examples include the "Pikine Irrégulier Sud II," (link in French) project in Senegal, designed to reduce the area's vulnerability to flooding, and the Comprehensive Sanitation Program for Antanarivo (PIAA) (link in French) in Madagascar, designed to improve living and health conditions for local residents by better managing flood risks. 

Evaluation of these initiatives is essential to ensuring that they reflect the realities on the ground. "Given our partner countries' tremendous needs, our aim is to pursue the growth in funding already committed to adaptation, while at the same time increasing its impact," says Claire Cogoluènhes, in charge of evaluation at AFD. 

For a closer look, the Group decided to assess the effectiveness of some of its adaptation projects in sub-Saharan Africa. A 2022 evaluation by Baastel and Acterra covering the period 2007-2018 analyzed 35 projects in the agriculture, water, and sanitation sectors, with three case studies (Senegal, Niger, and Madagascar).

See also: The 2023 evaluation report

A major undertaking

Unlike climate change mitigation, for which it is possible to quantify the number of tons of CO2 avoided, measuring a project's contribution to adaptation is complex: there is no unified analysis approach or indicators in this field. This lack of information is causing difficulties for the development community in terms of measuring results and projecting them over time. 

At AFD, a real methodological project has been launched to take adaptation into account in projects. The evaluation also shows that a specific analytical framework and tools (including climate co-benefit accounting and climate risk diagnostics) have been developed and are gradually being incorporated more fully into projects. Although they were insufficient from 2007 to 2014, their use within AFD has increased significantly since 2015. This has made it possible to better identify climate change-related risks and/or the vulnerability of targeted groups or areas in the vast majority of projects reviewed, even though only 40% of them were subject to more in-depth analysis during their appraisal between 2015 and 2018. 

Tangible results and challenges

This new analytical approach has helped achieve results in terms of adaptation. For example, in Senegal, the evaluation of the Pikine Irrégulier Sud II project showed that, according to the project's beneficiaries, the severity of flooding had diminished considerably in the area and that health and economic conditions had improved markedly.

However, the evaluation also points to the difficulties inherent in this type of project. The uncertainties associated with long-term climate scenarios, the difficulty of assessing progress made, and the scale of the human and financial resources required, are all challenges identified by the evaluation.

A look at the AdaptAction program

Defining objectives and indicators 

To go even further, the evaluation recommends that specific adaptation goals be more clearly defined during project appraisal. The challenge is in specifying actions aimed at reducing climate risks and associating results and impact indicators to monitor progress. The evaluation also stresses the importance of incorporating these projects into national public policies in order to have a more structural impact. Lastly, it recommends targeting the most vulnerable populations, and considering the conditions that will ensure the sustainability of these initiatives.

To understand how its counterparts are incorporating the issue of adaptation into their initiatives, AFD also created a benchmark. "In addition to uncovering inspiring approaches that complement our own approaches, this exercise confirmed the relevance of certain tools that the evaluation recommended and that are now being used at AFD and by our partners,” says Catherine Simonet, project manager at AFD's Climate and Nature Division. “The aim of climate risk screening, for example, is to diagnose the risks to which a project is exposed in order to improve its resilience.”

The evaluation's recommendations have contributed to AFD's new "adaptation" roadmap which seeks to "strengthen the incorporation of climate risk and adaptation into all our programs,” added Catherine Simonet. These recommendations "have enabled us to fine-tune our objectives: in addition to the quantitative dimension of climate funding, we need to refocus on the qualitative dimension, i.e. project results, impact monitoring and consistency with national adaptation plans."