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Monitoring & Evaluation

The RFS Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) process tracks country project, Regional Hub and programme-wide impact. At the programmatic level, RFS tracks progress towards Global Environmental Benefits (GEBs), environmental and biophysical targets, and food security and household resilience indicators. M&E data is used to regularly assess progress and enable informed decision-making within country projects.

Why is there a need for Monitoring & Evaluation in RFS countries projects?

Why is Monitoring & Evaluation critical for building resilient food systems?

How are RFS countries implementing Monitoring & Evaluation activities?

When resources are allocated to development projects and programmes in the agriculture, natural resources, and environment sectors, it is essential to know if the project or programme has achieved its intended impacts and reached targeted beneficiaries. M&E systems help RFS country projects, and the programme as a whole, track progress and performance against indicators related to household income, natural resource management, climate change mitigation, biodiversity and food security. 

M&E systems are often challenged by poor design and implementation stemming from a number of challenges. A lack of reliable baseline data gathered early in project lifecycle often prevents projects and programme from accurately gauging impact. Even well-designed M&E systems are challenged by poor operationalisation, often due to a lack of capacity, resources, or technology to implement over-ambitious data collection and analysis requirements. The lack of integration of M&E systems into day-to-day programme management, and broader policymaking and decision-making processes, often results in M&E systems that fail to operate as meaningful decision support tools or adapt to changing contexts. 

Well designed and executed M&E systems can lead to effective programmatic learning and adaptation. As one of the three GEF Integrated Approach Pilots (IAPs), RFS is developing and applying innovative approaches for implementing M&E processes, integrating data and showcasing accurate progress across a large integrated project. Ongoing M&E activities support RFS teams in tailoring and regularly adapting project activities to achieve the desire impact. The RFS M&E system is expected to evolve as the programme evolves, adapting to challenges as they arise and capitalising on new opportunities to improve project and programme performance. 

In order to develop an adaptive and effective system that reflects the needs of all relevant sectors, RFS has promoted the use of multi-stakeholder processes for developing country project and programme-wide M&E systems. Including stakeholders from all relevant sectors in the development of M&E systems also ensures that M&E data will be integrated into the decision-making and policymaking processes of agriculture, environment, and natural resource ministries even after the project is completed. To further ensure sustainability of M&E outcomes, capacity development in the collection and analysis of data, as well as the use of innovative monitoring tools, has been a critical feature within each RFS project. 

The Regional Hub is responsible for establishing a programme-wide M&E framework for tracking global environmental benefits and other outcomes of the programme. The Regional Hub has also played a central role in introducing country teams to innovative monitoring tools and solutions and building capacity within national institutions to apply appropriate tools and methodologies for their own project-level monitoring and evaluation.    

In Ethiopia, the RFS country team has developed and is now utilising a web-based information management system for multi-scale monitoring of ecosystem services and global environmental benefits. In Kenya and Eswatini, country project teams are using IFAD’s Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT) to carry out baseline household surveys on human wellbeing and water and land-use practices in project sites. In Nigeria, Conservation International’s Vital Signs initiative has trained local Monitoring and Evaluation Officers in the use of landscape monitoring tools to assess project sites and analyse geospatial data. 

Explore the RFS Country Projects to see more examples of how RFS countries are implementing Monitoring & Evaluation activities.

Stories from the Field

Explore our stories from the field to learn more about how RFS country project teams are implementing activities related to the programmatic theme of Monitoring & Evaluation.

Relevant resources

We have a growing library of reports, briefs, case studies, media, tools and guidelines. Explore all resources related to Monitoring & Evaluation to get greater insight into our programme activities.

  • Trends.Earth

    17 August 2020

    Trends.Earth is a platform for monitoring land use change and land degradation using earth observations from a number of data sources. The platform allows projects to monitor the three sub-indicators of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 15.3: productivity, land cover, and soil organic carbon. Users may analyse data at national or sub national levels and can use the tool to report on their commitments to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). 

    The tool is helpful for RFS country projects operating in the dryland regions of sub-Saharan Africa where land degradation poses a significant challenge to the productivity of smallholder agricultural systems.

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    Ex-Ante Carbon Balance Tool (EX-ACT) Overview Presentation

    13 July 2020

    This presentation provides an overview of the Ex-Ante Carbon Balance Tool (EX-ACT). EX-ACT was developed by FAO in 2010 to help project designers and implementers estimate and track the impact of agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sector projects, programmes and policies on GHG emission levels. This presentation details the history, role, structure and logic, and outputs of the tool and provides examples of applications of the tool from around the world.     

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    Ex-Ante Carbon Balance Tool (EX-ACT) Quick Guidance

    13 July 2020

    This Quick Guidance material provides the reader with an overview and explanation of the methodology, data requirements, application and final use of the Ex-Ante Carbon-balance Tool (EX-ACT). The Ex-Ante Carbon-balance Tool is an appraisal system developed by FAO providing ex-ante estimates of the impact of agriculture, forestry and fishery development projects, programmes and policies on the carbon-balance.    


    The Quick Guidance complements the more comprehensive EX-ACT User Manual that is designed to equip users with an independent and proficient understanding in the use of the tool. The Quick Guidance is composed of two sections. Section A, Guide for decision makers (10 pp.), discusses the rationale behind the tool, its utilization and its results. Section B, Guide for tool users (8 pp.), introduces the more technical aspects of data collection, data entry and methodology. 

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