Effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E) increases government accountability, enhances public trust, improves stakeholder engagement, and facilitates learning. It plays a crucial function in development planning, and consequently has a key role to play in ensuring the effective design and implementation of green growth plans, policies and interventions.
This chapter focuses on the key question:
What practices enable effective green growth monitoring and evaluation?
We explore three aspects of M&E to answer this question: indicators, institutional arrangements and communication and engagement.
Key lessons include:
Incorporate indicators which cover economic, environmental and social objectives relevant for green growth, and combine a small number of headline indicators to facilitate easy communication with more detailed indicator sets measuring specific outputs and outcomes.
- Include social, economic and environmental dimensions in monitoring. For example, South Korea’s green growth monitoring strategy includes 23 indicators distributed across four thematic areas: socio-economic context; environmental and resource productivity; natural asset base; and economic opportunities and policies (Statistics Korea, 2012).
- Combine a small number of easy-to-communicate headline indicators with more detailed sets of indicators measuring specific outputs and outcomes. Headline indicators such as Resource Productivity and Natural Asset Base and composite indicators like the Ecological Footprint synthesize or aggregate complex environmental, economic, and social data into metrics that are easy to communicate. Detailed indicator sets allow for monitoring of various underlying changes required to achieve green growth in key sectors such as energy, transport, and agriculture.
- Draw on existing frameworks. Indicator sets such as the Sustainable Development Indicators used to track the Millennium Development Goals or National Development Indicator sets can be framed for green growth purposes (OECD, 2011).
Establish institutional arrangements for green growth monitoring and evaluation that are fully accountable and transparent; provide clear roles across government agencies and partners; and are harmonized with existing monitoring and evaluation systems.
- Ensure green growth M&E institutions are accountable and transparent. Institutional arrangements need to maintain independence and autonomy to ensure accountability (Holvoet et al., 2012, Morra-Imas and Rist, 2009). For example, intergovernmental organizations like the World Bank, UNDP and the Global Environment Facility, all have evaluation offices that report directly to the organizations’ governing body rather than operational management.
- Establish clear roles and responsibilities. Government units and others actors that are essential in meeting green growth objectives should also be involved in M&E. For example, the Australian National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) Scheme, provides clear mandatory requirements for industrial organizations to report their emissions through the government’s Clean Energy Regulator (Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2012; ANAO, 2013).
- Harmonize with existing M&E systems. Ensuring green growth M&E arrangements are harmonized with existing M&E systems is important for efficiency and sustainability. For example, in the Kenyan MRV+ system, key ministries such as transport and agriculture are included in the steering committee and specific attention is given to avoiding duplication of effort by building on existing institutions (Republic of Kenya, 2012).
Communication and engagement
Share monitoring and evaluation information in a timely and audience-appropriate manner using communication methods, messengers, and channels to target and engage green growth relevant stakeholders with often divergent interests.
- Actively engage stakeholders at every stage of the process. Identify and engage key stakeholder groups, adapting engagement strategies appropriate for government (such as officials from finance, planning and environment ministries) and other actors (such as businesses and investors, citizens and communities). M&E results should be disseminated to key stakeholders as soon as possible. Active participation in the M&E process can help improve buy-in from local stakeholders which in-turn improves program accountability. For example, the Sujala Project in Karnataka, India, actively involved stakeholders in developing indicators and reviewing data (Raju et al., 2010).
- Target communication methods to diverse stakeholders. The language, messengers, and communication channels for M&E results should be credible and appropriate. Headline indicators are suitable for communicating with the public via the mass media while more detailed statistical data are best for communicating with specialists via technical reports. Involving high profile or influential figures in public announcements concerning the implications (economic and others) of climate change or environmental degradation can be a powerful way of raising public awareness and cultivating a sense of urgency for taking actions (Regehr et al., 2007). Furthermore, common language and data visualization are useful for communicating complex or technical M&E results to targeted public audiences.
- Create ongoing feedback loops. M&E processes can create communication channels between green growth planners and stakeholders. For example, the national aquatic policy in Denmark was characterized by a high level of transparency and public involvement. Data and methods were regularly provided through a specific website produced for the development of the action plan, which contributed to significant public discussion and debate over the results and, eventually, policy change (Frederiksen and Larsen, 2013).
This chapter sheds light on several examples of good practice for effective green growth M&E. The separation of various elements of a green growth M&E system highlighted above – indicators, institutional arrangements, and communication and engagement – is simply for the clarity in analysis and presentation. In practice, all of the pieces have to come together to make an effective green growth M&E system that enables decision makers and stakeholders to improve the effectiveness of interventions and in time, leads to greater ambition and impact.