ARCHIVED - Implementation Evaluation of INAC Climate Change Adaptation Program: Assist Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities

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Date: December 8, 2009
Project No.: 1570-07/09053

PDF Version (268 Kb, 52 Pages)

 

 

Table of Contents


Executive Summary

Introduction

This report provides the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the Implementation Evaluation of the Assist Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities Program (the Program), which forms part of the Adaptation Theme of the Clean Air Agenda (CAA).

The implementation evaluation examined the core issues of relevance and performance as outlined in the Treasury Board Secretariat's (TBS) new directive on the evaluation function (effective April 2009), including the design, delivery, and accountability issues of the Program. Specifically, the evaluation focused on the design and implementation of the Program and its preliminary results/success since its inception in 2008–09. Environment Canada will use the findings of this evaluation, and a summative evaluation planned for 2010–11, to contribute to the reporting on the CAA's Adaptation Theme by fiscal year 2010–11.

The objectives of the Program are to assist northerners to:

  1. "Assess and identify risks and opportunities related to the impacts of climate change; and

  2. Develop and implement climate change adaptation projects and/or plans to increase the capacity of Aboriginal and northern communities to address the impacts of a changing climate."

To achieve these objectives, this three-year (2008–09 to 2010–11), $14 million Program awards contributions to departmental partners (territorial governments, non-governmental organizations, Aboriginal organizations, related federal departments such as Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), communities and other northern institutions, and associations) to help northern communities understand the impacts of climate change and take steps to adapt or respond to anticipated changes.

Methodology

A matrix of questions, indicators, and data sources guided the evaluation. Note that the research questions relating to the short-term results/success of the Program were drawn from the immediate and intermediate outcomes of the Adaptation Theme and the CAA in an effort to increase the compatibility of the present evaluation with future Theme- and Agenda-level evaluations.

The evaluation methodology comprised the following data collection tasks: document review, literature review, file review (n=37); key informant interviews (n=29); and a focus group (n=3). Limitations of the evaluation methodology included: the ability of the evaluation to measure outcomes, as the Program has only completed one funding cycle and many of the projects funded in the second cycle are just getting underway; the extent to which the Program increased awareness of climate change adaptation issues could not be determined because benchmark data on climate change awareness was not collected prior to the start of the Program; the file review was limited to identifying project activities and outputs that were likely to achieve outcomes as identified in project final reports (since these reports did not contain information on achieved outcomes); and case studies with program recipients were a planned line of evidence to demonstrate results, but a preliminary review of project files illustrated that this line of evidence was premature. Instead, a focus group was conducted to gather information on Northern regions' climate change adaptation progress.

The Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) contracted the consulting firm, Prairie Research Associates to help conduct the evaluation.

Findings, conclusions and recommendations

Key findings and conclusions from the evaluation are as follows:

Rationale/Relevance

The Assist Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities Program is designed to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change and to enhance beneficial impacts. The Program is addressing northern climate change on northerners and adaptation needs by helping communities understand what efforts are being undertaken to address climate change and to determine how they can plan to adapt to these changes.

The evaluation found that the Assist Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities Program aligns well with the priorities of the federal government and INAC. The Government of Canada has a long history of involvement in climate change initiatives and remains committed to addressing climate change, including adaptation, as demonstrated by its CAA and its involvement in the International Polar Year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the International Panel on Climate Change. The Program contributes to three of INAC's strategic outcomes: The North, The People, and The Land, and it builds on two former INAC programs: the Aboriginal and Northern Climate Change Program and the Aboriginal and Northern Community Action Plan.

The evaluation found that there is a continued need for climate change adaptation planning and implementation programming in the North. First, this three-year program does not have the capacity or resources to reach all of the communities in the North; consequently, there are some communities that have yet to engage in adaptation planning. Second, there is substantial evidence to suggest that most communities would likely cease adaptation planning if the Program was not available because no other climate change adaptation programs targeting the North exist and communities have a wide range of competing non-climate change-related priorities to address. Third, without continued support, communities are unlikely to implement their adaptation plans and, therefore, will revert to a reactive approach to adapting to the impacts of climate change. This issue will be further examined in the upcoming summative evaluation.

There is no evidence of duplication with other programs. No other formal climate change programs aimed at the North exist, and the Program works with other federal departments involved in climate change adaptation activities to ensure programs across government do not duplicate each other. As a result of the Program, projects have leveraged about $1.9 million in financial and in-kind resources.

Some complementary activities are occurring. Partially through support of the Program, the Yukon and Nunavut territorial governments are developing territory-wide climate change action plans. The Government of the Northwest Territories recently developed a climate change impact and adaptation report.[Note 1] While some northern communities are adapting to climate change without assistance from the Program, many of these adaptations are being implemented in reaction to specific climate change challenges and focus on behaviour change (e.g., taking extra care and caution while travelling, altering hunting practices, preparing for anticipated flooding).

Design and Delivery

All of the funded projects support the Program's objectives to assess and identify risks and opportunities related to the impacts of climate change in specific communities, and to develop climate change adaptation plans. The second objective of the Program, however, suggests that it is intended to assist northerners to develop and implement climate change adaptation projects and/or plans. Much of the Program focuses on the development of adaptation planning. Most costs related to implementation (e.g., infrastructure and capital costs) are not eligible for funding as the Program does not have access to the financial resources needed to support implementation projects.

For the most part, the Program has been implemented as planned. The Program is funding projects that are designed to raise awareness of climate change, identify climate change risks and opportunities, generate new scientific knowledge, help build capacity to adapt to climate change, and begin work on developing adaptation plans. Key challenges encountered included the following:

The Program has developed and implemented formal management structures such as an Operational Management Guide, Applicant Guide, and Technical Review Committee. However, some management and accountability deficiencies were encountered: some proposals do not clearly identify the activities, outputs, and outcomes associated with the current funding year; project reports do not include information on achieved outcomes; and the Advisory Committee has yet to be established.

The Program is attempting to measure performance. A project performance database is used to ensure diversity in type and location of projects; to identify projects' expected outcomes; to brief senior management; and to collect data for evaluations and program renewal. Nonetheless, a number of opportunities exist to improve the database (e.g., identifying which communities have been reached and which have completed adaptation plans).

Best practices include using a Technical Review Committee to review proposals; having people who will stay in the community to develop adaptation plans; having a project representative on the ground in the community; and obtaining letters of support for the project from the community.

Lessons learned are that programs should be built on equal partnerships; repeat messaging about climate change is needed; communities have many priorities other than climate change to address; jurisdictional barriers can make it difficult to conduct the research; adaptation takes time; and communities need additional resources to implement their adaptation plans.

Preliminary Results/Success

A wide range of stakeholders such as scientists, consultants, experts, and communities are collaborating on climate change adaptation projects. These collaborations have helped create a strong network of researchers and communities who are interested in climate change adaptation.

Community awareness of climate change is increasing; however, the evaluation found that since baseline data was not collected prior to the start of the Program, it was difficult to assess the extent of increased awareness. There is considerable evidence that the Program brought technical expertise into northern communities and projects are developing climate change adaptation information that is accessible and relevant to these communities.

Communities are assessing climate change risks and opportunities and defining adaptation priorities. While projects are developing adaptation tools, there are no processes in place to track how they are being used.

The evaluation did not find evidence to support whether planning decisions are being based on identified risks and opportunities, or if climate change information or adaptation information is being integrated into planning and decision-making processes. This will be investigated further in the summative evaluation.

Alternatives

The evaluation found that this Program is the best approach to support climate change adaptation planning. The Program directly targets the North, has the flexibility to meet the needs of communities, involves communities in projects, and fosters the development of partnerships. However, the following are opportunities for Program enhancement: increasing program managers' presence in communities; establishing long-term, community-based positions that focus on climate change; increasing collaboration with other federal departments and territorial governments; strengthening relationships with INAC regional offices; coordinating the Program with the ecoENERGY Program; and providing multi-year funding for projects.

It is recommended that INAC:

  1. Conduct an environmental scan to:

    • Determine the awareness of climate change and the capacity for adaptation planning in northern communities.

    • Ensure that the Program targets communities in greatest need of support.

     
  2. Clarify Program objectives:

    • Develop a strategy that responds to the greatest need, allowing for transition through planning phases and into implementation.

       
  3. Continue to develop a website that can be used to:

    • Facilitate the sharing of climate change adaptation information and tools.

    • Extend Program reach.

  4. Identify and allocate specific resources to performance measurement to:

    • Improve proposal review to ensure performance information is clearly articulated.

    • Develop reporting template.

    • Monitor project reporting requirements / ensure quality control.

    • Strengthen and expand the performance tracking database.

    • Manage the Program's performance measurement responsibilities (i.e., annual reporting).

  5. Increase Program efficiency and effectiveness by:

    • Coordinating the Program with the ecoENERGY Program.

    • Strengthening relationships with INAC regional offices.

    • Establishing an Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of other federal departments, territorial governments, and communities.

    • Providing multi-year support to projects.
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Management Response / Action Plan

Implementation Evaluation of the Assist Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities Program - Project #: 1570-7/09068W
RecommendationsActionsResponsible Manager (Title)Planned Implementation and Completion Date
1. INAC should conduct an environmental scan to:

  • Determine the awareness of climate change and the capacity for adaptation planning in northern communities.

  • Ensure that the Program targets communities in greatest need of support.
  • Conduct a review of existing adaptation work/needs documentation done in Aboriginal and northern communities.

  • Conduct a needs assessment/environment scan with respect to adaptation for Aboriginal and northern communities, which would include a survey of targeted recipients of the Program to measure level of awareness.
Departmental Climate Change Coordinator & Manager, Adaptation September 30, 2010
2. Clarify Program objectives:

  • Develop a strategy that responds to the greatest need, allowing for transition through planning phases and into implementation.
  • Conduct a needs assessment/environment scan with respect to adaptation for Aboriginal and northern communities.

  • Develop a strategic plan for future program implementation.
Departmental Climate Change Coordinator & Manager, Adaptation March 31, 2010
3. Continue to develop a website that can be used to:

  • Facilitate the sharing of climate change adaptation information and tools.

  • Extend Program reach.
  • Review existing information already on the web site.

  • Assess gaps in information available.

  • Produce contents for the site that will fill the gaps.

  • Establish a process to ensure the website is regularly updated.
Departmental Climate Change Coordinator & Manager, Adaptation March 31, 2010
4. Identify and allocate specific resources for performance measurement to:

  • Improve proposal review to ensure performance information is clearly articulated.

  • Develop reporting template.

  • Monitor project reporting requirements/ensure quality control.

  • Strengthen and expand the performance tracking database.

  • Manage the Program's performance measurement responsibilities (ie. Annual reporting).
  • Review the Program applicant's guide to ensure there is a requirement for performance information.

  • Create reporting templates.

  • Review of all reporting requirements for the Program and projects funded to date.

  • Assess current performance tracking system and identify gaps.

  • Make required changes to the performance tracking and reporting system to address gaps.
Departmental Climate Change Coordinator & Manager, Adaptation March 31, 2010
5. Increase Program efficiency and effectiveness by:

  • Coordinating Program with the ecoEnergy Program.

  • Strengthening relationships with regional offices.

  • Establishing an Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of other federal government departments, territorial governments, and communities.

  • Providing multi-year support to projects.
  • Hold regular meetings with Adaptation and ecoEnergy staff to discuss issues.

  • Ensure harmonization of program management processes between the ecoEnergy and Adaptation programs.

  • Identify contacts in each region and establish regular communication with the regional offices.

  • Complete terms of reference for the Advisory Committee.

  • Identify members for the Committee and schedule a first meeting of the Advisory Committee.

  • As the Program sunsets in March 2011 we will be unable to address the last point. We will however consider this in any program renewal initiative.
Departmental Climate Change Coordinator & Manager, Adaptation March 31, 2010


I approve the above Management Response and Action Plan*





________________________________
Patrick Borbey
Assistant Deputy Minister



Date: _________________________

The Management Response and Action Plan for the Assist Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities Program were approved by the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee December 7, 2009.

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1.0 Introduction

This report provides the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the Implementation Evaluation of the Assist Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities Program (the Program), which forms part of the Adaptation Theme of the Clean Air Agenda (CAA).

The implementation evaluation examined the core issues of relevance and performance as outlined in the Treasury Board Secretariat's (TBS) new directive on the evaluation function (effective April 2009), including the design, delivery, and accountability issues of the Program. Specifically, the evaluation focused on the design and implementation of the Program and its preliminary results/success since its inception in 2008–09. Environment Canada will use the findings of this evaluation, and a summative evaluation planned for 2010–11, to produce a thematic evaluation for the CAA's Adaptation Theme by fiscal year 2010–11.

The objectives of the Program are to assist northerners to:

  1. "Assess and identify risks and opportunities related to the impacts of climate change, and

  2. Develop and implement climate change adaptation projects and/or plans to increase the capacity of Aboriginal and northern communities to address the impacts of a changing climate."[Note 2]

To achieve these objectives, this three-year (2008–09 to 2010–11), $14 million Program awards contributions to departmental partners (territorial governments, non-governmental organizations, Aboriginal organizations, and related federal departments such as Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), communities and other northern institutions, and associations) to help northern communities understand the impacts of climate change and take steps to adapt or respond to anticipated changes.

1.1 Outline of the Report

Section 2, based on a literature review, provides the context for climate change adaptation planning and describes the Program. Section 3 defines the evaluation scope and outlines the evaluation methodology. Section 4 presents the evaluation findings in four subsections: rationale/relevance; design and delivery; preliminary results/success; and alternatives. Section 5 concludes the report and offers recommendations for consideration.

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2.0 Climate Change Overview

This section, based on a literature review, provides an overview of climate change and the context within which the Program was established. It defines climate change, reports on the status of climate change in the North, describes the process of adapting to climate change, and identifies potential adaptation strategies.

2.1 Arctic most at risk

Climate change is a long-term shift in weather conditions including temperature, wind patterns, precipitation, and frequency/severity of storms.[Note 3] It may refer to increased climate averages (temperature, wind, precipitation) and increased variability in climate. While climate change has always occurred naturally, the preponderant view of scientists worldwide is that the world is experiencing changes in both rate and magnitude of weather conditions and global climate change. In part, this shift in climate patterns is believed to be a result of human activities such as land use changes and the combustion of fossil fuels, which have added substantial amounts of three common Greenhouse Gas (GHGs)—carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane—to the atmosphere. Human activities have increased and continue to increase concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere.[Note 4]

A natural system, the "greenhouse effect," regulates the temperature of the Earth. This system relies on the GHGs mentioned above and water vapour (another GHG) to trap the heat of the sun (like the glass of a greenhouse does), which maintains the Earth's average temperature at about 15°C, as opposed to the –18°C it would be without the greenhouse effect. Increasing the amount of GHGs in the atmosphere is presumed to enhance the ability of the greenhouse effect to warm the Earth, which in turn raises the average temperature of the Earth in what is commonly known as global warming.[Note 5]/[Note 6]

Many experts agree that Arctic regions are most at risk and will continue to undergo significant changes due to global warming.[Note 7] Many studies show that the Arctic has warmed significantly, and faster than the global mean over the last few decades, and will continue to get warmer in the future. For example, marine, terrestrial, and atmospheric studies synthesized by Serreze et al. (2000) indicated that "the climate of the Arctic has warmed significantly in the last 30 years."[Note 8] The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that winter warming in the Arctic will be 40 percent greater than the global mean by the end of the century, and the temperature in the Arctic will rise approximately 3–4°C over the next 50 years.[Note 9]

2.2 Climate change impacts

Several changes to the physical and biological systems of the Arctic are being witnessed due to warming temperatures. It is predicted that these changes will continue and be more severe over the next century as the concentration of GHGs in the Earth's atmosphere continues to increase.[Note 10] These changes will also have social, economic, and cultural impacts on northerners.

Some of the documented physical climate change impacts are:

Some of the predicted biological impacts include:

Examples of the social, economic, and cultural impacts of climate change on northerners include the following:

2.3 Adaptation strategies

Climate change is being addressed through mitigation and adaptation.

The primary global response has been to address climate change through mitigation.[Note 29] Examples of mitigation methods include technological developments and awareness campaigns o try and control the level of GHG emissions released into the atmosphere.[Note 30/[Note 31] However, mitigation does not rapidly reverse climate change. Experts have confirmed that efforts to reduce GHG emissions have been slow and that it will take decades to stabilize climate change.[Note 32]

Adaptation, therefore, complements mitigation and is necessary to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change and to enhance beneficial impacts. daptation in the public policy context has been defined as "measures taken by any level of government […] to lessen the overall vulnerability of the public."[Note 33] Government easures ultimately fall into two categories: moral suasion and regulation. Moral suasion includes tools used by government to persuade the behaviour of populations without force. General policy tools include education programs and financial incentives. Regulation, on the other hand, forces populations to meet a particular standard. For example, a government could introduce a law that compels behavioural change.

Government can also choose to implement proactive, rather than reactive, climate change adaptation policies.

While a proactive approach is initially more costly to government and requires foresight, Warren et al. (2004) and Budreau and McBean (2007) agree that it is more beneficial than a reactive approach.[Note 34] Firstly, the proactive approach develops adaptive capacity because it prepares for future circumstances and incorporates long- and short-term climate change adaptation goals. However, the reactive approach only offers short-term solutions and does not develop adaptive capacity. Secondly, in the long run, it is predicted that proactive adaptation methods will be more cost-effective. Nonetheless, a combination of reactive and proactive approaches is most likely required in any community.

The drivers of adaptation are mainly economic development and poverty alleviation; therefore, they are already embedded in broader development, sectoral, regional, and local planning initiatives.[Note 35] The integration of adaptation strategies with economic and sustainable development initiatives is a useful option for territorial, provincial, national, and international governments to leverage funding from multiple sources and to align adaptation with broader governmental goals.

A review of the literature on climate change impacts on the physical and biological systems in the North, as well as the social, economic, and cultural impacts on northerners, clearly demonstrates a need for the Program and the rationale for why it was established. The following section describes the Assist Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities Program.

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3.0 Program Description

This section identifies Program objectives and intended outcomes; reviews the Program theory; outlines the financial resources available to the Program; describes the governance structure and funding application and review processes; and outlines recipient reporting requirements.

3.1 Program objectives and intended outcomes

As previously mentioned, the objectives of the Program are to assist northerners to:

However, as discussed in Section 5.1.1, the Program's main objective is to assist communities with adaptation planning. The Program does not have sufficient resources to fund the implementation of adaptation plans and therefore has not engaged in any activity in this area.

The Program's intended outcomes are listed in Table 1.

Table 1: Intended outcomes
TimingIntended outcomes
Long-term outcome
  • Increased capacity of northerners to adapt to climate change impacts
Intermediate outcomes
  • Increased professional and institutional development related to adaptation to climate change

  • Aboriginal and northern communities have access to support to develop and implement adaptation planning and actions

  • Guidance material for developing safer and more reliable infrastructure

  • Planning decisions are based on identified risks
  •  
Immediate outcomes
  • Access to information and increased technical expertise on adaptation to climate change

  • Climate risks evaluated and responses to risks identified

  • Greater collaboration in place for the design of effective solutions
Source: INAC, 2008 (February). Climate Change Adaptation for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Initiative. Results-based Management and Accountability Framework and Risk Based Audit Framework.

3.2 Resources

TBS allocated the Program $14 million in funding over the three-year period 2008-09 to 2010 11. The Program's planned expenditures for each fiscal year were: $4.7 million in 2008 09, $4.8 million in 2009-2010, and $4.5 million in 2010-2011. Section 5.2.1 compares planned and actual expenditures.

3.3 Governance

The Program fits into INAC program architecture within the Environment and Renewable Resources Directorate (ERR). Figure 1 illustrates the full organizational structure of the Program.



Figure 1
Organizational Structure

This chart shows the reporting relationships and organizational structure that the Assist Northerners program operates within. The chart shows three levels of management descending vertically including the Director, Environment and Renewable Resources; Climate Change Coordinator; and Manager, Climate Change Adaptation Program (CCAP).

Two arms extending below the program manager tier include a total of six program officer positions. The left arm contains two Program Analyst positions and one Policy Analyst position. The right arm shows two Program Analysts and one Project Officer.

Finally, an Administrative Officer position lies in the centre of the diagram, indicating that this position provides managerial and other office support.

Director, ERR. The Director, ERR, is responsible for the overall strategic management of the Program[Note 37].

Climate Change Coordinator. Operating immediately under the Director, ERR, the Climate Change Coordinator holds responsibility for ensuring that the Program is aligned with corporate policies within the INAC mandate and for being a point of formal contact between Program staff and the Director, ERR.[Note 38] 

Program Staff. Program staff are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Program including assisting proponents with proposals, participating in the Project Technical Committee, monitoring project implementation, and providing support to recipients. Additionally, INAC regional staff are involved in liaising with project applicants and recipients and assisting in the establishment of funding agreements with local project representatives.[Note 39]

Committees. The Program committed to develop the following two committees:

Project Technical Committee. The role of the Project Technical Committee is to review project applications and to make funding recommendations to the Director, ERR. The Committee is to appraise project proposals for feasibility and the degree to which they meet funding eligibility criteria.[Note 40] This Committee is functional (see Section 5.2.3).

Program Advisory Committee. The Program Advisory Committee is to be composed of various regional stakeholders, northern organizations, territorial governments, and other federal departments involved in climate change adaptation. The Committee is charged with reviewing the objectives of the Program, discussing the continued relevance of these objectives, and providing advice to the Program on the overall direction of operations and policy.[Note 41] This Committee has yet to be established (see Section 5.2.3).

3.4 Application Requirements and Process

The Program funds projects that:

It should be noted that project funding is strictly confined to assessment, feasibility, and/or other types of research-based endeavours. The Program does not provide funding for infrastructure development, renewable energy or energy efficiency, capital development, political advocacy on climate change, or international adaptation initiatives and events.[Note 43]

The Program aims to provide project funding to any organizations, institutions, communities, and individuals who provide a project proposal that is well-matched to the objectives of the Program (see Section 3.1). It does not confine project funding to northern-based recipients; any group that shows a commitment to identifying risks related to the impacts of climate change in the North and/or to increasing capacity to address the impacts of a changing climate in the North can be considered as a potential Program recipient.[Note 44]

Proposals are to be funded according to a template included in the Applicant Guide and should contain the following information:

The primary consideration made during proposal review is the perceived strength of a linkage between the proposed project and the Program's Guiding Principles, which are:

The Project Technical Committee (as discussed in Section 5.2.3) conducts a subjective review of proposals based on the following criteria:

3.5 Program recipient reporting requirements

Each funded project is managed under the conditions of TBS's Policy on Transfer Payments as well as INAC's own financial policies and procedures. All project funding is dispersed through a contribution agreement that details TBS and INAC funding criteria and basic project expectations and conditions. Contribution agreements are made for a maximum period of one year and a maximum amount of $200,000, although funding recipients may reapply annually. If agreements have been previously negotiated with INAC, exceptions can be made to fund projects beyond the $200,000 limit (for example, to cover the cost of travelling to the North).[Note 47] Upon project completion, Program recipients are required to submit detailed financial and program reports.

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4.0 Methodology

This section outlines the evaluation methodology. It describes the data collection tasks and identifies the limitations of the methodology.

4.1 Evaluation objectives and scope

The implementation evaluation examined the core issues of relevance and performance as outlined in the TBS new directive on the evaluation function (effective April 2009), including the design, delivery, and accountability issues of the Program. Specifically, the evaluation focused on the design and implementation of the Program and its preliminary results/success since its inception in 2008–09. The Terms of Reference for this implementation evaluation were approved by INAC's Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee in April 2009. Field work was completed between July 2009 and October 2009

A matrix of questions, indicators, and data sources guided the evaluation. The matrix addresses four evaluation issues: rationale/relevance, design and delivery, preliminary results/success, and alternatives. The evaluation findings (see section 5) are organized according to these issues. The evaluation questions associated with each issue are listed at the start of each of the findings sub‑sections (Sections 5.1 to 5.4).

Note that the research questions in the evaluation matrix that relate to the short-term results/success of the Program were drawn from the immediate and intermediate outcomes of the Adaptation Theme and the CAA in an effort to increase the compatibility of the present evaluation with future Theme- and Agenda-level evaluations. This was accomplished by integrating the immediate and intermediate outcomes for the present Program as indicators for these higher-level outcomes. In most cases, the language of the outcomes at the Theme and Agenda levels were closely related with those of the Program. The main difference taken into consideration during the integration of outcomes was capacity building at the Adaptation Theme level, which was identified as an ultimate outcome for the Program, and was therefore excluded from this implementation evaluation.

A summative evaluation, planned for 2010–11, will gather additional evidence on the results.

4.2 Data Collection Tasks

The evaluation methodology included the following data collection tasks: document review, literature review, file review, key informant interviews, and a focus group. A technical report was prepared following the completion of each task. The evaluation findings and conclusions are based on the analysis and triangulation of these multiple lines of evidence. INAC contracted the consulting firm, Prairie Research Associates to help conduct the evaluation.

4.2.1 Document review

A profile of the Program was prepared based on a review of documents provided by the Program, such as Treasury Board Submissions, the Results-based Management and Accountability Framework and Risk-based Audit Framework (RMAF-RBAF), the Operational Management Guide, and the Applicant Guide. The information contained in the Program Profile provided the necessary background for the completion of the other evaluation tasks.

4.2.2 Literature review

The literature review included an initial scan of the relevant literature followed by the selection of key articles from the initial scan references. A scan of Canadian federal government, other countries', and international organizations' climate change initiatives concluded the search.

The literature review gathered evidence related to the rationale/relevance of the Program. The literature review report provides an overview of what climate change is, identifies the impacts of climate change on northerners, describes the process of adapting to climate change in the North, and reviews some of the adaptation strategies that are being implemented.

4.2.3 File Review

The file review provided a profile of the projects funded in 2008–09 and 2009–10, and described the progress the Program made toward its intended outcomes. It was based on the following information sources:

A total of 37 projects were included in the file review, including 19 projects[Note 50] funded in 2008–09 (which have been completed) and 18 projects funded in 2009–10[Note 51] (which are just getting underway).

 4.2.4 Key Informant Interviews

Key informant interviews gathered respondents' perspectives on the Program's relevance, design and implementation, and progress to date.

Using a list of potential key informants provided by INAC, interviews were completed with 29 representatives from the following groups:

Key informants were emailed an introductory letter describing the objectives of the evaluation and explaining that they may be contacted for an interview.

Interviews were conducted over the phone, in the key informant's preferred official language. Prior to the interview, key informants received a copy of the interview guide so that they could provide considered responses. Separate interview guides were prepared for each type of key informant. A four-member Evaluation Advisory Committee, comprised of extensive climate change adaptation and experience and representing regions North and South of 600, reviewed and provided feedback on the draft interview guides.

Key informants were assured of the anonymity of their responses. To ensure accuracy, the interviews were audio-recorded (with the respondents' permission), then destroyed once the interview notes were completed.

4.2.5 Focus Group

The four members of the Evaluation Advisory Committee, who provided feedback on the draft interview guides, were invited to participate in the focus group. These individuals have extensive climate change adaptation knowledge and experience. Three of the invitees participated.

The one-hour focus group was conducted via teleconference. Participants received a copy of the discussion questions prior to the teleconference so they could prepare considered responses. The discussion centred on participants' perspectives on climate change impacts and risks, the capacity of northerners to adapt to climate change and progress made to date, and the next steps that INAC should take in supporting communities adaptation efforts.

4.3 Limitations of the Evaluation Methodology

The following are limitations associated with the evaluation methodology:

4.4 Analysis

The evaluation findings included in Section 5 are based on triangulation of all of the lines of evidence. As described in Section 4.2, the lines of evidence include a document review, a literature review, a file review, key informant interviews, and a focus group.

The strength of the support for the findings presented is assessed as:

The findings section is divided into four subsections: rationale/relevance, design and delivery, preliminary results/success, and alternatives. The headings within each section provide a high‑level response to the evaluation question being addressed. The findings presented reveal the analysis of multiple lines of evidence; individual lines of evidence are only identified where notable.

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5.0 Findings

This section provides the evaluation findings, which are divided into the following four subsections: rationale/relevance; design and delivery; preliminary results/success; and alternatives.

5.1 Rationale/Relevance

This section provides the findings relating to the rationale/relevance of the Program. It discusses the continued need for the Program, its alignment with government priorities, and whether it duplicates or overlaps with other programs.

 5.1.1 The Program is relevant to northerners and addresses the continued need to adapt to climate change

This section responds to the following evaluation question: Is the Program addressing key environmental climate change needs? Is it relevant to the needs of northerners?

The Program is addressing northern climate change and adaptation needs

The evaluation found substantial evidence that the Program is addressing key environmental climate change needs and is relevant to the needs of northerners. Key informants reported that one of the strengths of the Program, and one of the factors that ensures it is relevant to northerners, is that it involves communities in climate change adaptation and encourages their ownership of projects. The Program is responsive to the needs of communities because the eligibility criteria (see Section 3.4) does not specify which climate change risks projects should address (see Section 2.1 for an overview of climate change impacts on the North); rather, communities have the freedom to define the climate change priorities that their project will focus on. This flexibility is further reflected in the level of effort that Program staff put into working with proponents to ensure their proposals meet the Program requirements as well as the needs of their community, which has resulted in only one proposal being rejected.

The evaluation also found substantial evidence that the Program is helping communities understand what efforts are being undertaken to address climate change and to determine how they can plan to adapt to these changes. The Program is funding projects in each of the territories as well as South of 60º. Based on the file review, the Program funded 37 projects, including 19 in 2008–09 and 18 in 2009–10. However, some projects received two phases of funding in a single fiscal year and some received funding in each of the Program's first two funding cycles. Table 2 below shows the distribution of projects across each region and funding year.

Table 2: Number of projects funded by region and funding year
Region2008–092009–10
(as of
June 16/09)
Total*Number
multi-year
projects
Nunavut 3 5 8 3
Northwest Territories 3 3 6 3
Yukon 6 6 12 3
South of 60º 4 4 8 1
Other[Note 52] 3 - 3 -
Total 19 18 37 10
*This column indicates how many multi-year projects were funded.

Through funded projects, communities are increasing their capacity to understand the risks associated with climate change and to undertake a systematic assessment of, and formulate a coordinated and proactive response to, the vulnerabilities and opportunities associated with climate change. They are accomplishing this by conducting literature reviews, scientific research, risk assessments, and workshops. The following are some examples, from the file review, of the work being conducted through the Program:

Continued support for adaptation is needed

The evaluation also confirmed there is a continued need for adaptation in the North, to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change, and to enhance beneficial impacts. Key informants reported that communities would cease adaptation planning if the Program was not available. Partly, this is because no other climate change adaptation programs targeted at the North exist (see Section 5.1.3). However, as documented in the literature and raised by key informants, it also reflects the wide range of priorities communities must address, including the environment (e.g., contaminants), community infrastructure, pipelines, and social issues (i.e., housing, food security, and poverty). According to the literature, the ability of communities to adapt to climate change without support is limited by their high reliance on natural resources, poverty, inadequate safety nets, and limited financial resources to undertake projects.[Note 53] Budreau and McBean (2007) argue that government intervention is necessary to assist with these limitations.[Note 54] 

The evaluation also demonstrated that a three-year program cannot address all of the adaptation needs in the North. Although the Program has been successful in reaching several communities, as is discussed in Section 5.2.1, and many Program recipients have participated in previous INAC programs, some communities are just becoming aware of climate change-related issues and have not had the opportunity to participate in adaptation planning activities as the Program is just starting to build momentum. Moreover, adaptation planning is a long-term process that involves multiple phases, as follows:

As such, some communities will require multiple years of funding to complete their adaptation plans. Further, the evaluation found substantial evidence that communities are unlikely to implement their adaptation plans without access to additional resources.

The following is typical in developing climate change adaptation strategies:

Assessment of community vulnerabilities/adaptive capacity → Development of an adaptation plan → Implementation of sector-specific adaptation actions.

Although the Program's objectives and eligibility criteria suggest that funding can be used for some implementation activities (excluding infrastructure development, renewable energy or energy efficiency and capital development), Program staff indicated that the Program recognizes that it does not have sufficient financial resources to support this activity. Therefore, the current Program is addressing the first two items only, in the adaptation strategy.

Some key informants indicated that if the Program is not continued, this would signal to communities that climate change is no longer a priority issue for the Government of Canada, which may discourage communities from proactively adapting to climate change. They also suggested that gaps in programming will likely result in the need to redo work due to lost momentum, and the turnover in community members actively engaged in responding to climate change challenges.

5.1.2 Program aligns well with government priorities

This section responds to the following evaluation question: Is the Program aligned with federal government priorities and INAC priorities?

The evaluation found that the Program aligns well with the priorities of the federal government and INAC.

Alignment with federal government priorities

The Government of Canada has a long history of involvement in climate change initiatives and remains committed to addressing climate change today. The following are some of the Government of Canada's current climate change-related activities:

Despite substantial documented evidence of the Government of Canada's commitment to address climate change, some key informants said they had limited understanding of how the Program aligns with government priorities. The only climate change-related activity that they identified the federal government as being involved in was the CAA, although they were not clear on how the Program supported it. It is not clear what factors contributed to this; it may reflect that most Program staff do not have responsibilities directly linked to the CAA; as well, it could be the lack of clarity and collaboration around the theme level objectives of the Program. This issue could be further explored in the summative evaluation.

Alignment with INAC priorities

The evaluation found that the Program closely aligns with INAC's priorities.

 INAC has a departmental mandate to assist northern communities in efforts to "improve social well-being and economic prosperity; develop healthier, more sustainable communities; and participate more fully in Canada's political, social and economic development – to the benefit of all Canadians."[Note 59] To this end, the Department delivers programs through six strategic outcomes, three of which the Program contributes to: The North – The people of the North are self-reliant, healthy, skilled and live in prosperous communities; The People – Individual and family well‑being for First Nations and Inuit; and The Land – Sustainable management of First Nations and Inuit lands, resources and environment.[Note 60]

Additionally, the Assist Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities Program builds on the following two former INAC programs:

While the ANCCP was an awareness program, the was an action program that assisted northern communities with the development of initiatives related to community energy planning, capacity building, raising awareness, energy efficiency, renewable energy, alternate diesel technologies, and sustainable transportation.[Note 61] Although these programs focused on mitigation, adaptation measures were also an important component. INAC and the northern community at large deemed these programs as highly successful.[Note 62]

5.1.3 No evidence of program duplication

This section responds to the following evaluation question: Does the Program complement or duplicate/overlap with other Adaptation initiatives? If so, what actions should be taken to address unnecessary duplication or overlap?

The evaluation found no evidence of duplication with other programs. None of the funded projects received funding from another climate change adaptation program. Key informant interviews provided two explanations for this:

As a result of the Program, projects have leveraged about $1.9 million in financial and in-kind resources from other federal departments, provincial governments, professional associations/consultants, and community organizations. This includes $164,000 of financial resources and $366,000 of in-kind resources in 2008–09, and $330,000 of financial resources and $1 million of in-kind resources in 2009–10.

Complementary activities

Although the Program does not duplicate or overlap with other programs, the evaluation found some evidence that complementary activities are occurring. The literature indicates that the territorial governments are beginning to develop territory-wide climate change action plans.

The literature also provides examples of northern communities that are adapting to climate change, without assistance from the Program; however, most of these adaptations are reactive responses to immediate threats and involve behavioural changes such as taking extra care and caution while travelling, altering hunting practices, preparing for anticipated flooding. They are not implementing large-scale, expensive adaptation projects without support from other sources.

Table 3: Arctic Bay and Igloolik community members' adaptation strategies
Climate change impactAdaptation strategy
Unpredictability of weather, wind, and ice Taking extra food, gas, and supplies in anticipation of potential dangers when venturing out on the land
Making sure they travel with others when possible
Being risk adverse by avoiding travelling on the land or water if they expect bad weather
Using TV and radio weather forecasts to complement traditional forecasts
Taking along new equipment, such as personal location beacons, immersion suits, and satellite phones when venturing out on the land
Waves or stormy weather (for summer boating) Waiting in the community for adequate conditions
Identifying safe areas where shelter can be found prior to travel
Snow covered thin ice Avoiding snow covered areas
Taking extra care while travelling
Reduced accessibility to hunting areas Waiting in the community until hunting areas are accessible
Switching species and location
Developing new access routes (e.g., overland travel instead of ice travel)
Sharing country food[Note 67]
Source: Ford et al., 2007, pp. 154-155

Although a small number of key informants acknowledged that some communities are reactively adapting to climate change out of necessity, they indicated that communities require additional resources to formulate proactive responses. These resources would help bring communities together to share best practices and lessons learned and facilitate the development of collaborative networks across communities.

5.2 Design and delivery

This section provides the findings related to the design and delivery of the Program. It discusses the Program objectives, implementation, management and accountability, performance measurement, and best practices/lessons learned.

 5.2.1 Program objectives

This section responds to the following evaluation question: Has the Program been implemented (or is it on track to being implemented) as planned?

The evaluation found that all of the funded projects support the Program's objectives to assess and identify risks and opportunities related to the impacts of climate change and to develop climate change adaptation plans. The Program is funding projects that are designed to raise awareness of climate change, identify climate change risks and opportunities, generate new scientific knowledge, help build capacity to adapt to climate change, and begin work on developing adaptation plans (see Section 5.3 for information on preliminary results). Projects closely relate to the Program objectives and rationale for the Program because, through the proposal review process, program staff work extensively with proponents to ensure proposals meet Program and departmental requirements and the specific needs of communities.

However, the second objective of the Program (see Section 3.1) requires clarification. This objective suggests the Program is intended to assist northerners to develop and implement climate change adaptation projects and/or plans. Much of the Program focuses on the development of adaptation planning. Most costs related to implementation (e.g., infrastructure and capital costs) are not eligible for funding as the Program does not have access to the financial resources needed to support implementation projects.

5.2.2 Program was implemented as planned

This section responds to the following evaluation question: Has the Program been implemented (or is it on track to being implemented) as planned?

The evaluation found considerable evidence that funded projects are on track and have been implemented as planned. Although several key informants mentioned that there have been delays in issuing funding to projects, in most cases, it has not impacted the scope of the funded projects or Program recipients' ability to complete their projects on time. However, some key informants reported that delays in receiving funding can make it challenging to complete projects on time, especially since they are only funded for one-year at a time. They also said that short summers in the North can further exacerbate this challenge.

Although the Program met its target of funding 20 or more projects per year; it funded 21 projects in 2008–09 and 26 projects in 2009–10 (and is expecting to receive five more proposals), expenditures on contribution agreements were lower than projected in 2008–09. The Program's original budget included $3.1 million for contribution agreements in 2008–09, $3.6 million in 2009–10; and $3.5 million in 2010–11. However, forecasted expenditures for 2009-2010 were increased to $4.1 million due to a re-profiling of $500K of funding from 2008‑09 to 2009-10.

According to the file review, and as shown in Table 4, the Program committed $1.4 million to projects in 2008–09 and $2.9 million in 2009–10. However, according to the Program's financial reports, project-related expenditures for 2008-09 were only $1.2 million. The reason for this difference is unclear.

Table 4: Expenditures on contribution agreements
Requirements2008-092009-102010-11Total
($ '000)
Planned expenditures $3,100 $3,600 $3,500 $10,200
Actual expenditures based
on file review
$1,437 $2,867 Not
applicable
$4,304
Actual expenditures based
on financial reports
$1,200 $4,100
(forecasted)
$3,500
(forecasted)
$8,800
(forecasted)

Table 5 provides the value of projects funded by region and fiscal year.

Table 5: Value of projects funded by region and fiscal year
Region2008-092009-10Total
expenditures
Nunavut $371,801 $503,211 $875,012
Northwest Territories $324,960 $853,070 $1,178,030
Yukon $611,165 $775,417 $1,386,582
South of 60º $70,050 $735,237 $805,287
Other $58,750 - $58,750
Total $1,436,726 $2,866,935 $4,303,661

Some implementation challenges were encountered

Although the Program was essentially implemented as planned, program staff identified the following challenges.

Program recipients also identified some implementation challenges, which, to this point, have not affected their ability to complete their projects.

5.2.3 Formal management structures are in place

This section responds to the following evaluation question: To what extent is the management and accountability structure in place and functioning as anticipated? 

There is substantial evidence that the Program has developed and implemented formal management structures as planned, except for the Advisory Committee. Table 6 lists and describes the management and accountability structures that the Program developed and put in place in its first year of operation. It also identifies some challenges encountered in this area.

Table 6: Management and accountability structures
Management/
accountability structure
DescriptionChallenges
Operational Management Guide This guide defines the management structures and process used to implement the Program. It describes the management framework (including staff roles and responsibilities); targeted recipients; program resources; management challenges; the proposal submission and review processes; and auditing and reporting requirements. Program objectives are unclear (see Section 5.2.1)
Applicant Guide This guide identifies the Program objectives and eligibility requirements. It also includes a template to guide the preparation of proposals (refer to the Program description in Section 3.0). Although proposals are to be prepared in accordance with the Applicant Guide, the file review determined that many of the proposals involving multi-year projects do not clearly describe the work to be completed in the current funding year. Proposals for multi-year projects are required to describe the overall project and then identify the work to be completed in the current funding year. However, information on the different phases of the project tends to appear throughout the proposal, which makes it difficult to determine activities, outputs, and outcomes associated with the current year.
Technical Review Committee This committee, comprised of program staff and chaired by the Program Manager, reviews proposals (see Section 3.4) and makes funding recommendations to the Director, ERR. None
Contribution agreements Contribution agreements are used to issue funding to Program recipients and to define the reporting requirements that projects must fulfill. Internal processes can delay the signing of these agreements (see Section 5.2.2)
Project reporting requirements Program recipients must submit financial reports and a final project report. The file review determined that many of the project final reports do not explicitly report on outcomes. The Program has not created a template to guide the preparation of project reports. Therefore, project reports vary in structure and level of detail. Although they tend to include information on activities and outputs, they typically do not report on outcomes.
Project tracking system This systemis used to track proposals received, outcomes of the proposal review process, and status of the project. This system was implemented in 2009–10. None
Performance tracking database This database is used to track project outcomes. The database includes information on expected outcomes of projects, but does not identify  results that have been achieved (see Section 5.2.4 below)
Advisory Committee Has not yet been established Work on this Committee is underway. Program staff indicated that they are trying to coordinate the development of this Committee with the development of the Advisory Committee for INAC's ecoENERGY Program.

5.2.4 Performance measurement requires improvement

This section responds to the following evaluation question: Is appropriate performance data being collected and reported? If so, is this information used to inform senior management?

The evaluation found that the Program is attempting to measure performance using a project performance database, which it created and maintains, to track the following indicators for all projects:

Program staff said the performance tracking database is used to ensure diversity in type and location of projects; to identify projects' expected outcomes; to brief senior management; and to collect data for evaluations/program renewal. However, they indicated that the Program has limited resources to devote to maintaining the database.

Although the project tracking database is in place, opportunities for improvement exist. Currently, the spreadsheet simply indicates which of these outcomes each project is expected to achieve. However, it is not clear what data source is being used to populate the database, it does not describe how results were achieved, and it does not identify the communities reached, the adaptation tools developed, or which communities have completed adaptation plans. The database also suggests that each project is expected to achieve the Program's long-term outcomes, which may not be a reasonable expectation.

The Program is required to prepare annual reports. Although the 2008–09 annual report has not been completed, program staff said it is being developed.

5.2.5 Best practices and lessons learned were identified

This section responds to the following evaluation question: What are the best practices and lessons learned from the Program?

Key informants identified some practices believed to be successful and worthy of continuing and sharing.

Best practices

Lessons learned

Key informants said the following lessons have been learned through this Program:

5.3 Preliminary Results/Success

This section provides the findings related to the preliminary results/successes of the Program. It discusses collaboration, the availability of and access to climate change and adaptation information, and the use of adaptation tools and information.

In assessing progress toward intended outcomes, it is important to note that funded projects have had limited opportunity to demonstrate outcomes. At the time of the evaluation, the Program had only completed its first full year of funding and was in the process of issuing funding for the second year. Therefore, only intended outcomes are available for ongoing projects. Further, it is difficult to assess the success of the funded projects since their final reports tend not to include outcome information (see Section 4.3).

Additionally, developing climate change adaptation plans is a long-term process that involves raising awareness of climate change, identifying climate change risks/opportunities, developing the capacity to address climate change, and drafting adaptation plans. Therefore, many of the projects will not achieve their final objectives until they have completed multiple years of work.

5.3.1 Collaboration

This section responds to the following evaluation question: What progress has the Climate Change Adaptation Program made toward greater collaboration to address issues of climate change?

The literature asserts the most effective adaptation policies involve the collaboration of all parties affected by climate change in a specific area.[Note 70] One reason for this is that industry, government, communities, and individuals may perceive climate change risks and communities' adaptive capacity differently. Further, the use of Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous participation will help define the cultural impacts programs may have on their communities.[Note 71] For example, First Nations tend to have cultural and economic ties to the land and may be unwilling or unable to relocate an entire community as an adaptation strategy. Without collaboration, the result will be varying adaptive responses and increased tensions between the parties.[Note 72]

The evaluation found substantial evidence that a wide range of stakeholders such as scientists, consultants, experts, and communities are collaborating on projects. All 19 projects funded in 2008–09 contributed to, and all 18 projects funded in 2009–10 are expected to contribute to, greater collaboration to address climate change issues. Some of the projects established formal partnerships and others involved visiting communities to raise awareness of climate change and to try and engage communities and other stakeholders in adaptation planning. Of the projects funded in the first two years of the Program, 81 percent involved government partnerships, 68 percent involved community partnerships, and 32 percent involved other partnerships (e.g., with academics, scientists, or planners).

Key informants also confirmed that a range of stakeholders such as scientists, consultants, experts, and communities are collaborating on projects, which reflects the Program requirement that projects incorporate collaboration with other stakeholders. Key informants provided a couple of examples of how the Program contributes to collaboration:

5.3.2 Communities are accessing information

This section responds to the following evaluation question: What progress has the Climate Change Adaptation Program made toward increased availability of and access to information, technical expertise, and products on adaptation to climate change? 

The evaluation found considerable evidence that the Program is increasing the availability of and access to information, technical expertise, and products on adaptation to climate change.

Key informants believe the Program is raising community awareness of climate change. Although they believe awareness is increasing, they cautioned that communities were only introduced to the concepts of risk assessment and adaptation a couple of years ago and therefore are still developing their understanding of what these activities entail. Key informants also reported that climate change does not tend to be a primary concern for communities. The evaluation could not assess the extent to which awareness has increased since baseline data was not collected prior to the start of the Program.

The evaluation found some evidence that projects are contributing (or are expected to contribute) to increasing the availability of and access to information, technical expertise, and products on adaptation to climate change. According to the file review:

Key informants said experts are working with communities to increase their understanding of climate change risks and adaptation approaches, and Program recipients reported that projects are developing climate change adaptation information that is accessible and relevant to northern communities. To increase distribution of project results, program managers noted that the Program intends to post completed project reports on its website once it is launched.

These results suggest that most communities are in the first stages of adaptation planning: assessment of community vulnerabilities/adaptive capacity. Following completion of this stage, they will begin to develop adaptation plans and then implement them.

5.3.3 Communities are using tools and information

This section responds to the following evaluation question: What progress has the Climate Change Adaptation Program made toward achieving the following intended outcomes: Northern communities and user groups are using tools and information to assess climate change risks/opportunities and to plan adaptation strategies?

The evaluation found some evidence that northern communities and user groups are using tools and information to assess climate change risks and opportunities and plan adaptation strategies.

Some communities are beginning to engage in adaptation planning; however, they are in the early stages of this process. The file review determined that:

Program managers reported that although projects are developing adaptation tools, there are no processes in place to track how communities are using them.

The evaluation did not find evidence to support whether planning decisions are being based on identified risks and opportunities or if climate change information or adaptation information is being integrated in planning and decision-making processes. The project files did not contain this information, program managers said it is difficult to comment on whether communities are considering climate change in their decision-making processes, nor were Program recipients able to offer any insights.

5.3.4 Program resulted in one unintended outcome

This section responds to the following evaluation question: Have there been unintended outcomes (positive or negative) as a result of the Program?

The evaluation found some evidence that the Program has resulted in one unintended outcome. According to Program recipients, the Program has helped develop the capacity of communities to prepare proposals and engage in networking.

5.4 Alternatives

This section provides findings related to Program alternatives. It responds to the following evaluation question: Are there more cost-effective and efficient means of achieving objectives of the Climate Change Adaptation Program? 

The evaluation found considerable evidence that the Program is the best approach to support climate change adaptation planning. As discussed in Section 5.1.1, it targets the North; has the flexibility required to respond to the needs of northern communities; encourages community involvement in projects; and helps communities that participated in the Program conduct climate change-related groundwork (also see Sections 5.3.2 and 5.3.3). Additionally, as Section 5.3.1 indicates, the Program fosters collaboration between partners who may not typically work together, including governments, communities, and experts (e.g., scientists, academics, and planners).

Although the Program represents the best approach to assisting communities with climate change adaptation planning, key informants identified the following opportunities to enhance the Program:

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6.0 Conclusions and Recommendations

This section provides conclusions for the evaluation and offers recommendations for consideration.

Relevance/rationale

Responsiveness to the needs of communities

The evaluation confirmed there is a continued need for adaptation in the North, to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change, and to enhance beneficial impacts. The Program is helping communities understand what efforts are being undertaken to address climate change and to determine how they can plan to adapt. However, the evaluation found considerable evidence that communities would cease adaptation planning if the Program was not available. Partly, this is because no other climate change adaptation programs that target the North exist. It also reflects the wide range of priorities communities must address.

The evaluation demonstrated that a three-year program will not be able to reach all of the communities in the North; there are some communities that have not yet engaged in adaptation planning. It also found substantial evidence that communities are unlikely to implement their adaptation plans without access to additional support.

 Alignment with government priorities

The evaluation found that the Program aligns well with the priorities of the federal government and INAC. The Government of Canada has a long history of involvement in climate change initiatives and remains committed to addressing climate change today, as evidenced in its CAA. The Program also contributes to three of INAC's strategic outcomes: The North, The People, and The Land and builds on two former INAC programs: the ANCCP and .

 Duplication with other programs

The evaluation found no evidence of duplication with other programs. This is because no other formal climate change programs aimed at the North exist and the Program works with other federal departments involved in climate change adaptation activities to ensure their programs do not duplicate each other. As a result of the Program, projects have leveraged about $1.9 million in financial and in-kind resources from other federal departments, provincial governments, professional associations/consultants, and community organizations.

The evaluation also found some evidence that complementary activities are occurring. For example, territorial governments are beginning to develop territory-wide climate change action plans and some northern communities are adapting to climate change without assistance from the Program.

Design and delivery

Implementation

Evidence indicates that, for the most part, the Program has been implemented as planned. Funded projects support the Program's objectives to assess and identify risks and opportunities related to the impacts of climate change and to develop climate change adaptation plans. Some of the implementation challenges encountered related to working with internal services (communications, contribution agreements and human resources), determining the adaptive capacity of communities, and identifying key players. As a result of these implementation challenges, the Program had to re-profile some of the funding for 2008–09 to 2009–10.

Management and accountability

There is substantial evidence that the Program has developed and implemented formal management structures such as an Operational Management Guide, Applicant Guide, and Technical Review Committee. However, the following opportunities for improvement exist: ensuring proposals clearly identify the activities, outputs, and outcomes associated with the current funding year; ensuring project reports include outcome information; establishing the Advisory Committee; and completing annual reports in a timely fashion.

 Performance measurement

The evaluation found that the Program is attempting to measure performance. A project performance database is used to ensure diversity in type and location of projects; to identify projects' expected outcomes; to brief senior management; and to collect data for evaluations and program renewal. Nonetheless, opportunities to improve the database exist. Additionally, the 2008–09 annual report is still being developed.

Best practices and lessons learned

Best practices include using a Technical Review Committee to review proposals; having people who will stay in the community to develop adaptation plans; having a project representative in the community where the project is being implemented; and obtaining letters of support for the project from the community to demonstrate their commitment to the project.

Lessons learned are that programs should be based on an equal partnership approach, ongoing promotion of the Program is needed, climate change is only one of many priorities that communities must address, political processes can make it difficult for individuals outside of the North to conduct research, adaptation plans cannot be developed within one year, and communities are unlikely to implement their adaptation plans without additional support.

Preliminary results/success

The evaluation found substantial evidence that a wide range of stakeholders such as scientists, consultants, experts, and communities are collaborating on projects. All of the funded projects contributed (or are expected to contribute) to greater collaboration to address climate change issues. Some of the projects established formal partnerships and others involved visiting communities to raise awareness of climate change and to try and engage communities and other stakeholders in adaptation planning. The collaborations have helped create a strong network of researchers and communities who are interested in climate change adaptation.

The evaluation found considerable evidence that the Program is increasing the availability of and access to information, technical expertise, and products on adaptation to climate change. Although key informants and focus group participants believe the Program is raising community awareness of climate change, the evaluation could not verify this since baseline data was not collected prior to the start of the Program. However, the Program has brought technical expertise into northern communities and projects are developing climate change adaptation information that is accessible and relevant to northern communities. To increase distribution of project results, program managers noted that the Program intends to post completed project reports on its website once it is launched.

The evaluation found some evidence that northern communities and user groups are using tools and information to assess climate change risks and opportunities, and plan adaptation strategies. Communities are assessing climate change risks and opportunities and defining adaptation priorities. While projects are developing adaptation tools, there are no processes in place to track how they are being used.

The evaluation did not find evidence to support whether planning decisions are being based on identified risks and opportunities or if climate change information or adaptation information is being integrated in planning and decision-making processes.

 Alternatives

The evaluation found considerable evidence that the Program is the best approach to support climate change adaptation planning. The Program directly targets the North, has the flexibility to meet the needs of communities, involves communities in projects, and fosters the development of partnerships. Potential enhancements include increasing program managers' presence in communities; establishing long-term, community-based positions that focus on climate change; increasing collaboration with other federal departments and territorial governments; strengthening relationships with INAC regional offices; coordinating the Program with the ecoENERGY Program; and providing multi-year funding for projects.

6.1 Recommendations

It is recommended that INAC:

  1. Conduct an environmental scan to:

    • Determine the awareness of climate change and the capacity for adaptation planning in northern communities.

    • Ensure that the Program targets communities in greatest need of support.

  2. Clarify Program objectives:

    • Develop a strategy that responds to the greatest need, allowing for transition through planning phases and into implementation.

  3. Continue to develop a website that can be used to:

    • Facilitate the sharing of climate change adaptation information and tools.

    • Extend Program reach.

     
  4. Identify and allocate specific resources to performance measurement to:

    • Improve proposal review to ensure performance information is clearly articulated.

    • Develop reporting template.

    • Monitor project reporting requirements / ensure quality control.

    • Strengthen and expand the performance tracking database.

    • Manage the Program's performance measurement responsibilities (i.e., annual reporting).

  5. Increase Program efficiency and effectiveness by:

    • Coordinating the Program with the ecoENERGY Program.

    • Strengthening relationships with INAC regional offices.

    • Establishing an Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of other federal departments, territorial governments, and communities.

    • Providing multi-year support to projects.
     
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Footnotes:

  1. For more information on the role of territorial governments in climate change adaptation planning in the North, follow these web-links: Northwest Territories(return to source paragraph)

  2. Treasury Board of Canada (TB). (2008). Clean Air Agenda . Retrieved April 21, 2009.(return to source paragraph)
  3. Environment Canada (EC). (2009). Climate Change.  Retrieved August 27, 2009.(return to source paragraph)

  4. Natural GHG emissions include water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone (International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). (1998). A Guide to Kyoto: Climate Change and What it Means to Canadians   , p. 3). Retrieved November 13, 2009. Human-induced GHG emissions include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, fluorinated gases, and ozone-depleting substances (United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2009). Greenhouse Gas Emissions . Retrieved September 28, 2009.(return to source paragraph)

  5. Environment Canada (EC). (2009). Climate Change . Retrieved August 27, 2009. Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). (2004). Impacts of a Warming Arctic. New York: Cambridge University Press; Warren, F. J., Barrow, E., Schwartz, R., Audrey, J., Mills, B., & Riedel, D. (2004). Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation: A Canadian Perspective. Ottawa: Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Directorate, Natural Resources Canada, Government of Canada; David Suzuki Foundation . (2009). Science. Retrieved September 29, 2009.(return to source paragraph)

  6. Note that while scientists predict that, on average, climate change will result in "global warming," regional impacts are expected to be highly variable, with some regions experiencing climate cooling.(return to source paragraph)

  7. Hinzman, L.D. et al. (2005). Evidence and Implications of Recent Climate Change in Northern Alaska and Other Arctic Regions. Climate Change, 72, pp. 251-298.; Johannessen O.M. et al. (2004). Arctic Climate Change: Observed and Modelled Temperature and Sea-ice Variability. Telus, 56A, pp. 328-341.; Nichols, T. et al. (2004). Climate Change and Sea Ice: Local Observations from the Canadian Western Arctic. Arctic, 57 (1), pp. 68-79.; Prowse, T.D. et al. (2006). Climate Change Effects on Hydroecology of Arctic Freshwater Ecosystems. Ambio, 35(7), pp. 347-358.(return to source paragraph)

  8. Cited in Hinzman, L.D. et al. (2005). Evidence and Implications of Recent Climate Change in Northern Alaska and Other Arctic Regions. Climate Change, 72, pp. 251-298.(return to source paragraph)

  9. Johannessen O.M. et al. (2004). Arctic Climate Change: Observed and Modelled Temperature and Sea ice Variability. Telus, 56A, pp. 328-341.(return to source paragraph)

  10. ACIA. (2004). Impacts of a Warming Arctic. New York: Cambridge University Press.(return to source paragraph)

  11. Hinzman, L.D. et al. (2005). Evidence and Implications of Recent Climate Change in Northern Alaska and Other Arctic Regions. Climate Change, 72, pp. 251-298.(return to source paragraph)

  12. ACIA. (2004). Impacts of a Warming Arctic. New York: Cambridge University Press.(return to source paragraph)

  13. ACIA. (2004). Impacts of a Warming Arctic. New York: Cambridge University Press.; Arctic North Consulting. (2009). Climate Change and Canadian Mining: Opportunities for Adaptation. Prepared for The David Suzuki Foundation.(return to source paragraph)

  14. Furgal, C., & Prowse, T.D. (2008): Northern Canada. In From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate 2007. Lemmen, D.S., Warren, F.J., Lacroix, J, & Bush, E. (Eds). Ottawa: Government of Canada, pp. 57-118.(return to source paragraph)

  15. ACIA. (2004). Impacts of a Warming Arctic. New York: Cambridge University Press.; Hinzman, L.D. et al. (2005). Evidence and Implications of Recent Climate Change in Northern Alaska and Other Arctic Regions. Climate Change, 72, pp. 251-298.(return to source paragraph)

  16. ACIA. (2004). Impacts of a Warming Arctic. New York: Cambridge University Press.(return to source paragraph)

  17. Ibid.(return to source paragraph)

  18. Ibid.(return to source paragraph)

  19. Ford, J., et al. (2007). Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change in the Arctic: The Case of Nunavut, Canada. Arctic, 60(2), pp. 150-166.(return to source paragraph)

  20. ACIA. (2004). Impacts of a Warming Arctic. New York: Cambridge University Press.(return to source paragraph)

  21. Ibid.(return to source paragraph)

  22. Ibid.(return to source paragraph)

  23. Furgal, C., & Prowse, T.D. (2008): Northern Canada. In From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate 2007. Lemmen, D.S., Warren, F.J., Lacroix, J, & Bush, E. (Eds). Ottawa: Government of Canada, pp. 57-118.(return to source paragraph)

  24. ACIA. (2004). Impacts of a Warming Arctic. New York: Cambridge University Press.(return to source paragraph)

  25. Furgal, C., & Prowse, T.D. (2008): Northern Canada. In From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate 2007. Lemmen, D.S., Warren, F.J., Lacroix, J, & Bush, E. (Eds). Ottawa: Government of Canada, pp. 57-118.(return to source paragraph)

  26. Ibid.(return to source paragraph)

  27. Budreau, D., & McBean, G. (2007). Climate Change, Adaptive Capacity and Policy Direction in the Canadian North: Can We Learn Anything from the Collapse of the East Coast Cod Fishery? Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change, 12, pp. 1305-1320.(return to source paragraph)

  28. Smith, J., Lavender, B, Smit, B., & Burton, I. (2001, Winter). Climate Change and Adaptation Policy. Isuma, pp. 75-81.(return to source paragraph)

  29. Budreau, D., & McBean, G. (2007). Climate Change, Adaptive Capacity and Policy Direction in the Canadian North: Can We Learn Anything from the Collapse of the East Coast Cod Fishery? Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change, 12, pp. 1305-1320.(return to source paragraph)

  30. Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER). (2006). First Nations and Climate Change Mitigations, Adaptations, and Recommendations . Retrieved October 30, 2009.(return to source paragraph)

  31. Canada has several climate change mitigation initiatives under their ecoACTION program . Visit for a list of the initiatives by subject area.(return to source paragraph)

  32. Budreau, D., & McBean, G. (2007). Climate Change, Adaptive Capacity and Policy Direction in the Canadian North: Can We Learn Anything from the Collapse of the East Coast Cod Fishery? Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change, 12, pp. 1305-1320.; Ford, J. D., & Smit, B. (2004). A Framework for Assessing the Vulnerability of Communities in the Canadian Arctic to Risks Associated with Climate Change. Arctic, 57(4), pp. 389-400.(return to source paragraph)

  33. Ibid.(return to source paragraph)

  34. Warren, F.J. et al. (2004). Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation: A Canadian Perspective. Ottawa: Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Directorate, Natural Resources Canada, Government of Canada.; Budreau, D., & McBean, G. (2007). Climate Change, Adaptive Capacity and Policy Direction in the Canadian North: Can We Learn Anything from the Collapse of the East Coast Cod Fishery? Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change, 12, pp. 1305-1320.(return to source paragraph)

  35. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (2007). Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report   . Retrieved September 2, 2009.(return to source paragraph)

  36. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) (2008). Climate Change Adaptation for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Initiative. Results-based Management and Accountability Framework and Risk Based Audit Framework.(return to source paragraph)

  37. INAC. (2008). Climate Change Adaptation for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Initiative. Operational Management Guide.(return to source paragraph)

  38. Ibid.(return to source paragraph)

  39. INAC. (2008). Climate Change Adaptation for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Initiative. Results- based Management and Accountability Framework and Risk Based Audit Framework.(return to source paragraph)

  40. INAC. (2008). Climate Change Adaptation for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Initiative. Operational Management Guide.(return to source paragraph)

  41. Ibid.(return to source paragraph)

  42. TB. (2008) Clean Air Agenda . Retrieved April 21, 2009.(return to source paragraph)

  43. INAC. (2008). Climate Change Adaptation for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Initiative. Operational Management Guide.(return to source paragraph)

  44. Ibid.(return to source paragraph)

  45. INAC. (2008). Climate Change Adaptation for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Initiative. Operational Management Guide.(return to source paragraph)

  46. Ibid.(return to source paragraph)

  47. INAC. (2008). Climate Change Adaptation for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Initiative. Operational Management Guide.; INAC. (2008). Climate Change Adaptation for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Initiative. Results-based Management and Accountability Framework and Risk Based Audit Framework.(return to source paragraph)

  48. INAC. (2008). Climate Change Adaptation for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Initiative. Operational Management Guide.(return to source paragraph)

  49. Ibid.(return to source paragraph)

  50. The Program funded 21 projects in 2008-09. However, some projects were combined for purposes of the file review.(return to source paragraph)

  51. The Program funded 26 projects in 2008-09. However, as of June 18, 2009, information was only available for 18 of these projects.(return to source paragraph)

  52. The "other" category includes the following three projects: sponsorship of a conference that showcased northern issues as part of International Polar Year (IPY) initiative; the preparation of a research paper about food security in the Arctic; and a the preparation of a research paper that outlines, from an Inuit perspective, considerations for a climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy.(return to source paragraph)

  53. Thomas, D.S.G. and Twyman, C. (2005). Equity and Justice in Climate Change Adaptation Amongst Natural-Resource-Dependent Societies. Global Environmental Change, 15, pp. 115-124.(return to source paragraph)

  54. Budreau, D., & McBean, G. (2007). Climate Change, Adaptive Capacity and Policy Direction in the Canadian North: Can We Learn Anything from the Collapse of the East Coast Cod Fishery? Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change, 12, pp. 1305-1320.(return to source paragraph)

  55. International Polar Year (IPY). (2008). International Polar Year 2007-2008: A Valuable Opportunity for Canada . Retrieved September 9, 2009. (return to source paragraph)

  56. Brief descriptions of the 43 projects  selected by the Canadian government as part of IPY 2007-2008.(return to source paragraph)

  57. International Polar Year (IPY). (2008). International Polar Year 2007-2008: A Valuable Opportunity for Canada . Retrieved September 9, 2009.(return to source paragraph)

  58. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (2009). Organization . Retrieved September 10, 2009.(return to source paragraph)

  59. INAC. (2008). Climate Change Adaptation for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Initiative. Operational Management Guide.(return to source paragraph)

  60. Ibid.(return to source paragraph)

  61. Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources. (2007). Reflections on Success - A Sustainable Future in a Changing Climate. Retrieved August 19, 2009.(return to source paragraph)

  62. Ibid.(return to source paragraph)

  63. Nunavut Department of Environment. (2008). Climate Change in Nunavut Communities: How Are We Adapting? Retrieved September 10, 2009.(return to source paragraph)

  64. Furgal, C., and Prowse, T.D. (2008): Northern Canada. In From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate 2007. Lemmen, D.S., Warren,, F.J., Lacroix, J., & Bush, E. (Eds). Ottawa: Government of Canada, pp. 57-118.(return to source paragraph)

  65. Ford, J. et al. (2007). Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change in the Arctic: The Case of Nunavut, Canada. Arctic, 60(2), pp. 150-166.(return to source paragraph)

  66. Country food is the traditional food of Aboriginals, such as food gathered from fishing and hunting.(return to source paragraph)

  67. Ford, J.D. & Smit, B. (2004). A Framework for Assessing the Vulnerability of Communities in the Canadian Arctic to Risks Associated with Climate Change. Arctic, 57(4), pp. 389-400.(return to source paragraph)

  68. Ibid.(return to source paragraph)

  69. Newton, J., Paci, C.D.J., & Ogden, A. (2005). Climate Change and Natural Hazards in Northern Canada: Integrating Indigenous Perspectives with Government Policy. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 10, pp. 541-571.; Warren, F.J. et al. (2004). Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation: A Canadian Perspective. Ottawa: Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Directorate, Natural Resources Canada, Government of Canada.(return to source paragraph)

  70. Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. (2004). Impacts of a Warming Arctic. New York: Cambridge University Press.(return to source paragraph)

  71. Warren, F.J. et al. (2004). Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation: A Canadian Perspective. Ottawa: Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Directorate, Natural Resources Canada, Government of Canada.(return to source paragraph)
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