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Date: February 2011
Project Number: 1570-7/10006

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Table of Contents


List of Acronyms

ACIA
Arctic Climate Impact Assessment

AFN
Assembly of First Nations

CAA
Clean Air Agenda

CCAP
Climate Change Adaptation Program

CWI
Community Well-being Index

CYFN
Council of Yukon First Nations

EC
Environment Canada

EPMRB
Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch

EPMRC
Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee

ERR
Environment and Renewable Resources Directorate

HC
Health Canada

HMARF
Horizontal Management, Accountability and Reporting Framework

INAC
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

ITK
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

IPY
International Polar Year

NAO
Northern Affairs Office

RMAF
Results-based Management Accountability Framework

NRCan
Natural Resources Canada

NRTEE
National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy

TBS
Treasury Board Secretariat

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Executive Summary

Introduction

Program profile & purpose of evaluation

This report presents the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the Update Evaluation of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's (INAC) Assist Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities Program, which forms part of Canada's Clean Air Agenda (CAA), Over the past three fiscal years (2008-09 to 2010-11), this Program has provided over $10 million to Aboriginal and northern communities and other organizations working at the local-level to assess and identify climate change risks and develop and implement projects and plans that increase community-level capacity to address climate change impacts.

The present evaluation was conducted as a follow-up to a 2009 implementation evaluation which focused on relevance of adaptation programming and the design and delivery of the Program. In accordance with the Treasury Board Secretariat's (TBS) directive on the evaluation function (effective April 2009), the present evaluation completes the evaluation requirement for this program through an examination of the Program's achievement of outcomes, and its economy, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Scope and timing of evaluation

The evaluation focuses on program performance from September 1, 2008 (the date when projects first received funding) to October, 2010 (the start of the evaluation). Following TBS requirements, the evaluation scope includes both $10.2 million in contributions funding and $3.8 million in related administrative departmental spending. INAC's Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch and the consulting firm Prairie Research Associates Inc. jointly conducted the evaluation between October 2010 and January 2011.

Methodology

Building on the relevance and design and delivery findings of the 2009 implementation evaluation, the evaluation posed the following questions: 1) What progress has the Program made toward achieving its intended outcomes? 2) Have there been unintended outcomes as a result of the Program? 3) How efficient and cost-effective is the Program? 4) How does the relationship between the Program and its partners contribute to cost-effectiveness? and 5) Are there more cost-effective and efficient means of achieving the objectives of the Program? A matrix of indicators and data sources for each evaluation question guided all stages of the evaluation. Further quality control was ensured through internal peer review and review f the methodology report, preliminary findings PowerPoint presentation and draft report by program representatives.

The evaluation questions were addressed with information drawn from the following data collection tasks: document review; administrative and financial data review; file review; and key informant interviews. Interviews were conducted with 24 respondents representing program staff and management; project proponents; other federal government departments with related climate change programs and territorial and provincial climate change directors and coordinators.

The evaluation encountered a number of limitations. An absence of baseline data made it difficult to determine the general capacity of Aboriginal and northern communities to address climate change issues and the extent to which the program has raised awareness. Information on the value of the program and communities' use of climate change information in planning and decision-making processes was not available in project final reports and the accuracy of information gathered from project leaders and INAC staff was not verified with community members. Most importantly, the timing of the evaluation in the final year of the three year program meant that the evaluation must focus on the Program's progress toward outcomes, rather than arriving at firm conclusions concerning the extent to which the program has achieved its intermediate and long-term outcomes. Mitigating strategies were put in place for each of the identified limitations.

Key findings

Continued need / Responsiveness to need

There is continued need for the Program. There is a need to continue to build capacity and work with communities that have not begun to engage in adaptation planning. It appears that the Program may not have reached communities in greatest need of support or those requiring immediate support. Possible explanations are that communities in need of support may not have the capacity to participate in the Program; without a formal call for proposals, the Program may not have identified communities in greatest need and, finally, given its short duration, the Program targeted communities that were ready to begin working on adaptation projects.

Outcomes –Performance

Collaboration

The Program worked to strengthen its relationships with other federal departments and territorial governments. It fostered the development of relationships between scientists, consultants, experts, and communities. Despite these efforts, some projects have experienced challenges. Several have found it difficult to achieve long-term commitments and shared vision. Additionally, there is significant staff-turnover at the community and territorial levels that can hinder relationship building. Finally, some community members are experiencing consultation fatigue and are reluctant to participate in climate change discussions.

Access/availability to information

The Program has contributed to increased availability of climate change information and expertise. Almost half of the funded projects focused on assessment of climate change risks and impacts. To a lesser extent, projects facilitated information-sharing and the development of adaptation tools. Nonetheless, there is a need to increase community-level coordination of adaptation work and sharing of project results. There is also a need to continue the work underway in participating communities and to engage new communities in adaption projects.

Increased ability to assess climate change risks

Most of the funded projects identified climate change risks and, in large part, this process directly involved community members. These projects identified a vast range of climate risks from permafrost degradation to flooding to reduced ice thickness. In addition, projects identified a number of specific impacts to communities associated with these risks such as infrastructure vulnerability, loss of traditional land-use practices and cultural identity and food security issues. Although many communities in a geographical area face the same core set of risks, the magnitude of risk varies across communities. Few communities have recognized opportunities from climate change.

Another noteworthy finding in relation to the Program's role in increasing communities' ability to assess risks was that roughly one quarter of funded projects involved the scientific assessment of risks including those to water, permafrost and seal-level rise. These projects provide vital data for planning activities and climate change trend analysis.

Capacity

The Program is increasing awareness of climate change within participating communities. However, there is a continued need to raise awareness of climate change impacts as some community members question whether the changes experienced simply reflect unusually variable weather conditions. Additionally, there is a need for repeat messaging.

The Program has begun to increase the capacity of participating communities to adapt to climate change. In part, this is the result of increased awareness of risks and possible adaptation strategies. It also results from increases in communities' ability to understand, support, and benefit from research, particularly through projects that actively engage community members. More generally, the Program's close relationship with territorial governments has increased capacity at that level. Nonetheless, many communities lack the financial and human resources required to engage in adaptation planning, pointing to the need for continued work in this area.

The evaluation found some evidence that communities are developing adaption plans. By the end of the Program, adaptation plans will be in place for 15 communities. The evaluation found mixed evidence relating to the usefulness of these plans, though it should be noted that it difficult to draw conclusions on this point given the fact that plans have either only recently been completed or are still underway. On the whole, plans that apply a community-based approach and successfully integrate climate change data appear more likely to be incorporated into community-level decision-making.

Unintended outcome: Actions to reduce vulnerability

Some projects have resulted in actions taken to reduce vulnerability to climate change. Few communities have begun to implement projects. Implementation of projects is one step ahead of the long-term expected outcome of the Program.

Results – Economy, Efficiency & cost- effectiveness

The Program complements other CAA Adaptation Theme Programs, the National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy work on Climate Change Adaptation, and the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) national engineering vulnerability assessment. To a limited extent, evidence suggests that the Government of Canada's program for International Polar Year duplicates the Program as these two programs fund similar adaptation projects.

Successes

The Program provided 75 percent of its available funding to projects and planned and actual expenditures were closely aligned. The Program funded 86 projects, thereby exceeding its goal by 26 projects. The Program attempted to maximize its efficiency by coordinating administrative activities with INAC's ecoENERGY Program, having regional offices set-up funding agreements, travelling to more than one community during trips to the North and co-funding projects where possible.

The Program demonstrated cost-effectiveness by leveraging $5.2 million funding and in-kind resources from other sources. However, little sharing of information resources across and between communities occurred and few funded projects are replicable because they are location-specific

Areas for improvement

According to key informants, several opportunities to improve the economy and efficiency of the Program exist. Information and resources including tools and manuals could be more effectively shared across communities. INAC headquarters' relationship with regional offices could be strengthened to improve the Program's understanding of regional issues. Program-related communications could be increased to raise awareness about the Program. Project funds could be distributed to projects in a more timely fashion (depending on constraints involved with INAC financial processes). Program and project duration could be expanded to limit the time involved in applying for funding. Proposals could be solicited through a formal call to enable the Program to better target specific projects. Finally, a joint funding application could be established with other programs and departments.

Alternative approaches

The cross-jurisdictional review revealed that other jurisdictions are taking a number of different approaches to adaptation support. These include incorporating adaptation into existing programming channels (e.g. infrastructure funding); providing training to planners; developing toolkits and manuals for planning exercises; providing information through online databases and funding macro studies on climate change adaptation. Additionally, some key informants felt that adaptation planning could potentially be integrated into other planning processes given the availability of adequate modeling, climate change scenarios and other climate change assessment information.

Conclusion

The Program appears to be on-track to achieve its intended immediate and intermediate outcomes. The Program has fostered collaboration with other federal departments involved in the Adaptation Theme of the CAA, territorial governments and a range of others on adaptation projects. It has increased participating communities' awareness of climate change risks and impacts and increased the availability of climate change adaptation information and tools. It has supported assessment of climate risks and development of some adaptation plans.

Despite the Program's successes, more time is needed to fully realize outcomes and improvements can be made to help achieve future success. Many communities lack capacity to participate in adaptation projects. Few communities have begun to implement projects to reduce their vulnerability to climate change. Improvements can be made to the Program to better target communities in need as well as those with existing capacity. The benefits of funded projects can be maximized through more efficient and effective processes.

Recommendations

The evaluation offers the following recommendations to improve the success, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the Program:

  1. To increase its ability to identify and reach communities in need and better align efforts with regional strategies,INACshould:
    1. Continue to strengthen relationships with INAC regional offices.

    2. Continue to seek opportunities to work with provincial and territorial climate change offices.

       
  2. To increase communities' awareness of funding opportunities, secure a broader range of applicants and better target funding,INACshould:
    1. Continue to proactively inform individual communities of funding opportunities.

    2. Solicit applications through a formal call for proposals.

  3. To provide Aboriginal and northern communities with one-window access to funding opportunities, INAC should explore opportunities for coordinating its call for proposals and application processes with other similar programs.

  4. To take advantage of the climate change adaptation research that has been completed, INAC should find additional ways to share results across communities through, for example, integrating data into the Government of Canada's International Polar Year database.
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Management Response and Action Plan

Project Title: Evaluation Update of the Climate Change Adaptation Program: Assist Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities Program
Project #: 1570-7/10006

RecommendationsActionsResponsible
Manager
(Title / Sector)
Planned
Start and
Completion Dates
1. To increase its ability to identify and reach communities in need and better align efforts with regional strategies,INACshould:

a. Continue to strengthen relationships with INAC Regional Offices.

b. Continue to seek opportunities to work with provincial and territorial climate change offices.

We _do____ concur.
(do, do not, partially)
Sheila Gariépy, Director, Environment and Renewable Resources / Northern Affairs Organization Start Date:

Upon program initiation
Future programming (subject to renewal) will formalize information exchange processes and seek opportunities to work more closely with INAC Regional Offices and other jurisdictions Completion:

March 31, 2012
2. To increase communities' awareness of funding opportunities, secure a broader range of applicants and better target funding, INAC should:

a. Continue to proactively inform individual communities of funding opportunities.

b. Solicit applications through a formal call for proposals.

We _do____ concur.
(do, do not, partially)
Sheila Gariépy, Director, Environment and Renewable Resources / Northern Affairs Organization Start Date:

Upon program initiation
Future programming (subject to renewal) will

a) develop a communications strategy to target and inform communities of funding opportunities;

b) solicit applications through a formal call for proposals

Completion:

March 31, 2012
3. To provide Aboriginal and northern communities with one-window access to funding opportunities, INAC should explore opportunities for coordinating its call for proposals and application processes with other similar programs. We _do____ concur.
(do, do not, partially)
Sheila Gariépy, Director, Environment and Renewable Resources / Northern Affairs Organization Start Date:

Upon program initiation
Future programming (subject to renewal) will work closely with federal departments delivering complementary programs to more closely align the call for proposal and proposal application processes. Completion:

March 31, 2012
4. To take advantage of the climate change adaptation research that has been completed, INAC should find additional ways to share results across communities through, for example, integrating data into the Government of Canada's International Polar Year database. We _do____ concur.
(do, do not, partially)
Sheila Gariépy, Director, Environment and Renewable Resources / Northern Affairs Organization Start Date:

Upon program initiation
Future programming (subject to renewal) will work closely with communities to facilitate information exchange Completion:

March 31, 2012

I recommend this Management Response and Action Plan for approval by the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee

 

Original signed by

Name: Judith Moe
Position: Acting Director, Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch

 

I approve the above Management Response and Action Plan

 

Original signed by

Name: Janet King
Position: Assistant Deputy Minister, Northern Affairs Organization

MRAP was signed by A/Director of EPMRB and Sr. ADM/ Regional Operations Sector on February 15, 2011

 

The Management Response / Action Plan for the Evaluation Update of the Climate Change Adaptation Program: Assist Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities Program were approved by the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee on February 22, 2011.

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1. Introduction

This report provides the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the Update Evaluation of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's (INAC) Assist Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities Program (the Program), which forms part of the Adaptation Theme of the Clean Air Agenda (CAA) of the Government of Canada.

The present evaluation was conducted as a follow-up to a 2009 implementation evaluation which focused on relevance of adaptation programming and the design and delivery of the Program. [Note 1] In accordance with the Treasury Board Secretariat's (TBS) directive on the evaluation function (effective April 2009), the evaluation update examines the Program's achievement of outcomes, and its economy, efficiency and cost-effectiveness, thereby completing the evaluation requirement for the Program.

The objectives of the Program are to assist Aboriginal and northern communities to assess and identify climate change risks and develop and implement projects and plans that increase community-level capacity to address climate change impacts. [Note 2] To achieve these objectives, this three-year (2008–09 to 2010–11), $14 million Program awards contributions to 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 and Aboriginal communities understand the impacts of climate change and take steps to adapt or respond to anticipated changes.

1.1 Scope and timing of evaluation

The evaluation focuses on program performance from September 1, 2008 (the date when projects first received funding) to October, 2010 (the start of the evaluation). Following TBS requirements, the evaluation scope includes both $10.2 million in contributions funding and $3.8 million in related administrative departmental spending. INAC's Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch (EPMRB) and the consulting firm Prairie Research Associates Inc. jointly conducted the evaluation between October 2010 and January 2011.

1.2 Outline of the report

The remainder of Section 1 describes the Program. Section 2 defines the evaluation scope and outlines the evaluation methodology. Section 3 summarizes the findings of the 2009 implementation evaluation. Section 4 presents the findings for program performance and Section 5 presents the findings of efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Section 6 concludes the report and offers recommendations.

1.3 Program profile

This section provides a brief overview of the Program including the Program background, objectives and expected outcomes, resources and management structure. Additional information about the Program is available in the 2009 implementation evaluation report.

1.3.1 Background

Through an extensive literature review, the 2009 implementation evaluation found evidence, from both scientific and local observations, that climate change poses significant risks to Canada's northern regions. Conversely, it is expected that climate change will present opportunities for resource extraction and other economic development. Research suggests that climate change will have substantial effects on a number of areas including the environment and ecosystems of the North; Indigenous traditional lifestyles and resource sustainability, development and conservation. [Note 3]

In response to climate change, many jurisdictions are combining mitigation measures (i.e. greenhouse gas emission reduction) with adaptation strategies. While mitigation plays an important role in slowing and preventing climate change, it is clear that climate change impacts will be felt in many regions of the world, particularly high risk areas such as Canada's arctic. Adaptation efforts similar to those supported through INAC's climate change program help communities apply a proactive approach to preparing for climate change.

1.3.2 Objectives and expected outcomes

The objectives of the Program are to assist Northerners to:

The Program does not fund the implementation of adaptation planning. Eligible projects include those that:

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

Table 1: Intended outcomes 
TimingIntended outcomes
Long-term outcome
  • Increased capacity of Aboriginal people and northerners to adapt to climate change impacts
Intermediate outcomes
  • Increased professional and institutional capacity 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). Climate Change Adaptation for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Initiative. Results-based Management and Accountability Framework and Risk Based Audit Framework

1.3.3 Program resources

TBS allocated the Program $14 million in funding over the three-year period 2008–09 to 2010‑11. As Table 2 below shows, 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 compares planned and actual expenditures. Due to the level of work required to develop and launch the Program in its first year of funding, as well as the need to build community awareness of the Program (refer to Section 4.1), program expenditures for the first two years of the Program were $1.9 million less than anticipated. Consequently, the Program re-profiled $600,000 to 2009–10 and $1,550,000 to 2010–11.

Table 2 represents the Program's planned expenditures for 2008-09 to 2010-11 and Table 3 shows actual expenditures (TB and A-base) in the first two years of the Program and planned expenditures for the final year. Planned and actual expenditures are closely aligned.

Table 2: Program resource requirements
Requirement2008-092009-102010-11Total
($ '000)
Salaries $454 $454 $359 $1,456
Operating Expenses $996 $596 $522 $1,862
Employee Benefits Program $91 $91 $72 $292
Transfer Payments – Grants - - - -
Transfer Payments – Contributions $3,100 $3,600 $3,500 $10,200
PWGSC Accommodation Costs $59 $59 $47 $189
Total $4,700 $4,800 $4,500 $14,000

Source: INAC (2008). Climate Change Adaptation for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Initiative. Results-based Management and Accountability Framework and Risk Based Audit Framework.

Table 3: Expenditures
Requirement2008-092009-102010-11
(planned)
Total
($ '000)
Salaries $428 $428 $389 $1,245
Operating Expenses $353 $617 $689 $1,841
Employee Benefits Program $91 $91
Transfer Payments – Grants - - - -
Transfer Payments – Contributions $1,182 $4,036 $4,800 $10,018
PWGSC Accommodation Costs $59 $59 Not available $118
Corporate Support $123 $115 Not available $238
Total $2,236 $5,346 $5,878 $13,460

Sources: Program-provided financial documents.

A review of program expenditures reveals that over the three-year period, projects in the Yukon received the most funding with roughly $2.5 million, or 25 percent of total funding. Projects benefiting communities in the Northwest Territories received approximately $2 million (20 percent of total spending). Nunavut projects totalled $1.2 million (12 percent of the total). [Note 6] Finally, just under a third of project funding ($3.2 million) went to projects in the four provinces of Quebec, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador and 12 percent ($1.2 million) was directed at other projects.

The following funding authorities are being used to support implementation of INAC's Climate Change Adaptation Program:

1.3.4 Program management, key stakeholders, and beneficiaries

Project management & governance

The Program fits into INAC's program architecture within the Environment and Renewable Resources Directorate (ERR) of Northern Affairs Organization and comprises the following:

The Program has eight full-time staff including one Program Manager, four Program Analysts, one Policy Analyst, one Project Officer and one Administrative Officer. In the last year of the Program, one of these staff members was seconded to another position. According to program representatives, since the inception of the Program, the distribution of human resource time and effort across various tasks was:

INAC Regional staff, liaise with project applicants and recipients, and assist in the establishment of funding agreements with local project representatives.

In addition, the Program is governed by two committees:

The Program provides funding to organizations, institutions, communities and individuals who propose a project that is well-matched to the objectives of the Program (refer to Section 1.3.2 above) and targets either northern or Aboriginal communities. Proposal requirements are designed to identify project partners and provide evidence that the project will engage communities. Proposals are selected based on their alignment with the Program's guiding principles; capacity and expertise of project team; consistency of project objectives with those of the Program, including a clear methodology of how project objectives will be achieved and the ability of the project to benefit the targeted community and other communities. The Program does not issue a formal call for proposals.

Key stakeholders and beneficiaries

Key stakeholders include other federal departments, territorial and aboriginal governments, and northern and aboriginal communities.

Targeted beneficiaries are aboriginal and northern communities, national aboriginal organizations, northern organizations, aboriginal community groups (volunteer groups, community associations and institutions), territorial and aboriginal governments, professional organizations, and research institutions.

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2. Methodology

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

2.1 Overview

The update evaluation builds on an implementation evaluation of the Program completed in 2009. The implementation evaluation examined the core issues of relevance and performance as outlined in theTBS directive on the evaluation function (effective April 2009). Its focus was on the relevance, design and delivery and preliminary results/success of the Program. Field work was completed between July 2009 and October 2009 and the final report was tabled atINAC's Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee (EPMRC) meeting in December 2009.

This evaluation focuses on the extent to which the Program has achieved its expected outcomes. INAC's EPMRC approved the Terms of Reference for the present evaluation on September 24, 2010. Data collection and analysis was completed between October 2010 and January 2011.

2.2 Evaluation issues and questions

A matrix of evaluation questions, indicators and data sources guided the evaluation. The matrix addressed two TBS core performance evaluation issues: results/success and efficiency, economy and cost-effectiveness. The evaluation questions associated with each issue were:

Results/success

  1. What progress has the Program made toward achieving its intended outcomes?

  2. Have there been unintended outcomes as a result of the Program?

    Economy, efficiency & cost-effectiveness 
  3. How efficient and cost-effective is the Program?

  4. How does the relationship between the Program and its partners contribute to cost-effectiveness?

  5. Are there more cost-effective and efficient means of achieving the objectives of the Program?

The evaluation findings (refer to Sections 4 and 5 below) 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.

2.3 Evaluation methods

This section describes the data sources and analysis processes used in the evaluation, identifies limitations and related mitigating strategies and the reviews the evaluation's quality control measures.

2.4 Data sources and analysis

2.4.1 Data sources

The evaluation methodology included four data collection tasks:

Two technical reports with detailed summary and analysis were prepared as part of the evaluation: an updated document, data, and file review report and a key informant interview summary report.

 2.4.2 Analysis

Presentation of findings

Where possible, the evaluation findings included in Sections 4 and 5 are based on triangulation of all of the lines of evidence to ensure the strongest possible analysis and to mitigate the impact of limitations on the evaluation. The strength of the support for the findings presented is assessed as follows:

Additionally, the terms listed in Table 4 are used to refer to the proportion of key informants in agreement with an opinion:

Table 4: Key informant interview reporting
TermPercentage range
All 100%
Almost all 80-99%
Many 50-79%
Some 20-49%
Few 10-19%
Almost none 1-9%
None 0%

The findings section is divided into two subsections: results/success and efficiency, economy and cost-effectiveness. The headings within each section respond to the evaluation question being addressed.

Gender-based, sustainable development & self-governemnt analysis

In line with departmental policies, INAC's evaluations apply gender-based and sustainable development lenses to analysis when possible. In addition, evaluation reports attempt to share lessons learned from self-government experiences. Analysis in this evaluation is limited to sustainable development analysis (refer to Section 4.4 below), the one form of analysis of the three where information was available and subject matter applied.

2.5 Evaluation limitations and mitigating strategies

The evaluation encountered the following data and analysis limitations and developed mitigating strategies as a result:

2.6 Quality control

The following quality control measures were undertaken during the evaluation:

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3. Evaluation findings - Summary of the 2009 implementation evaluation

This section summarizes the findings of the 2009 implementation evaluation of the Program.

Relevance

Design & Delivery

Results

Update on implementation evaluation recommendations

In the past year, the Program has made considerable progress in addressing the recommendations of the implementation evaluation. The Program has partnered with the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), Council of Yukon First Nations, McGill University and the Delphi Group to review existing adaptation work and conduct an environmental scan/needs assessment for each territory, Inuit land settlement areas and First Nations south of 600. Communication and coordination have been improved by updating the Program website and increasing the regularity of meetings with INAC's ecoENERGY program, Territorial adaptation offices and INAC Regional offices. Finally, the Program has taken steps to improve the quality of performance information and reporting processes by revising the performance tracking system and completing annual reports through the Horizontal Management, Accountability and Reporting Framework (HMARF).

3.1 Relevance, design and delivery update

3.1.2 Need for adaptation support

Following findings discussed in detail in the 2009 evaluation, program representatives and project leaders indicated there is a continued need for the Program. These individuals mentioned that there is a need to continue to build capacity and work with communities that have not begun to engage in adaptation planning. Similarly, there was a trend of increasing demand for the program over its three-year duration. The Program met its target of funding 20 projects per year in 2008-09 and exceeded it in 2009-10 (n=36) and 2010-11 (n=30), by June 2010, the Program was oversubscribed.

Not all communities in need of support have the necessary capacity to participate in the Program as it is currently delivered. Many program representatives and project leaders cautioned that some of the communities most in need are also faced with a number of other urgent issues and therefore may not have financial and/or human resources to devote to climate change adaptation projects.

3.1.2 Responsiveness to need

Despite increasing interest in the Program, the extent to which the Program reached new proponents decreased in each funding year. In 2008–09, 17 unique proponents received funding. Of those, 10 received funding in 2009–10 along with eighteen new recipients. In 2010–11, the Program funded two new proponents and 19 of the previous proponents who were funded. In total, seven proponents received funding in all three years of the Program. Nevertheless, one should interpret these figures with caution as much of the success of the program can be attributed to its ability to provide sustained support to a number of projects over funding years.

The file review and key informant interviews revealed with substantial evidence that projects funded through the Program directly respond to climate change needs. However, the evaluation did not find evidence that the Program reached the communities in greatest need of support, or conversely, that it applied a structured approach to identify communities that possess existing capacity and interest (discussed in greater detail in section 5 below). An analysis of Community Well-being Index (CWB Index) scores of communities that benefited from the program, however, shows that the Inuit and First Nations communities benefiting from the Program had a slightly higher CWB Index score than the overall average for these groups. These results, shown in Table 4 below, may suggest that the program benefited communities with some existing capacity.

  Table 5: Community Well-being Index Scores for beneficiary communities
CommunityAverage project
CWI score
Average population
CWI score
First Nations 62 57
Inuit 64 62
Other 71 77

Key informant interviewees questioned whether the Program was able to identify the communities with the greatest or most immediate need for support. Many of the reasons for this step from the fact that the Program has just recently begun and processes to target communities are not yet in place. As discussed in the implementation evaluation, the Program was not able to launch a widespread communications strategy to inform communities of the Program due to delays in approval. Therefore, the Program used mostly informal means to inform communities about the Program. For example, to solicit interest in the program, staff contacted communities and stakeholders they had existing relationships with as well as communities they believed could immediately start on projects. A few project leaders said they did not become aware of the Program until it was in its second or third year. Others said they did not have a clear understanding of the types of activities eligible for funding. Funding applications were reviewed and approved on a first-come, first-served basis, without giving consideration to need or existing capacity.

As noted above, in response to a recommendation from the 2009 implementation evaluation, the Program has been conducting a gap analysis to better target communities in greatest need as well as those with existing capacity to undertake adaptation work. In addition, some work in this area is being planned in the provinces and territories. For instance, the government of Yukon will be conducting a community needs assessment. Data from this survey will help to identify priority communities.

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4. Performance - Results

This section provides key findings related to the results of the Program. It discusses progress towards immediate, intermediate and long-term outcomes.

Immediate outcomes

4.1 Collaboration

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

The evaluation found substantial evidence that the program contributed to successful partnerships. To a far lesser extent, collaboration challenges hindered project success.

Collaboration successes

Program-level

Over its three year duration, the Program funded 38 proponents including research organizations (n=13), including consulting firms and related Aboriginal organizations; community councils (n=7); Aboriginal governments (n=7); associations (n=6), such as planning and standards associations; territorial governments (n=3); and academic institutions (n=2).

Table 6 shows the number and value of projects funded by recipient type and fiscal year.

Proponent type2008-092009-102010-11Total
Projects
NumberValueNumberValueNumberValueNumberValue
Research organizations 8 $506,900 16 $1,648,600 9 $1,674,500 33 (38%) $3,830,000
(40%)
Territorial governments 2 $95,000 6 $820,500 7 $760,600 15 (17%) $1,676,100
(17%)
Community councils 3 $142,900 4 $429,600 5 $856,200 12 (14%) $1,428,700
(15%)
Aboriginal governments 4 $302,500 4 $465,300 5 $643,300 13 (15%) $1,411,000
(15%)
Associations 2 $158,000 5 $548,900 3 $349,500 10 (12%) $1,056,300
(11%)
Academic institutions 1 $30,000 1 $107,400 1 $64,600 3 (3%) $202,100
(2%)
Total 20 $1,235,300 36 $4,020,300 30 $4,348,700 86 $9,604,200

Source: Program performance measurement summary spreadsheet

Funding a broad range of recipients has enabled the Program to foster the development of relationships between scientists, consultants, experts and communities. Many program representatives reported that, in addition to its role as funder, the Program has helped researchers and communities identify partners. They believe the program has been able to get the right people to provide the right information and expertise to communities.

CAA level

The Program worked to strengthen its relationships with other federal departments involved in the Adaptation Theme of the CAA such as such as NRCan, Environment Canada and Health Canada. These departments have been working together on program renewal processes, participate in each other's workshops and are considering issuing joint calls for proposals in future programs.

Since the completion of the implementation evaluation, the Program has established a Program Advisory Committee consisting of regional stakeholders, northern organizations, territorial governments, and other federal departments involved in adaptation.

Collaboration challenges – Project level

The evaluation found evidence of several challenges to collaboration at the project-level. While almost all project leaders said project-level partnerships were successful, they identified some challenges that should be considered in future partnerships:

4.2 Available information and expertise

This section responds to the following evaluation question: What progress has the 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 contributing to increased availability of and access to information, technical expertise and other adaptation products. However, some evidence suggests areas for improvement and the need for additional work.

Successes

Almost half of the funded projects (n=41) focused on assessment of climate change risks and impacts. While these projects are not intended to result in the development of adaptation plans, they are generating information and tools that communities may be able to use to inform their planning and adaptation work.

To a lesser extent, funded projects focused specifically on information-sharing activities and awareness building (24 percent, n=21) and the development of adaptation tools (9 percent, n=8).

Project recipients indicated that these information sources and tools may be used in future projects.

Program representatives and some project leaders said the Program has made support available to participating communities by connecting proponents with experts and organizations to partner with. Some program recipients also mentioned that NRCan may be able to provide communities with scientific expertise and territorial governments may be able to provide planning and engineering expertise.

Areas for improvement & work needed

Although there is substantial evidence of information being shared within projects, there is a need for increased sharing of results between projects and across communities. A considerable amount of climate change research is occurring and there is a need to amalgamate and synthesize findings. Few projects are at the stage of being able to share information. However, some information is being shared through informal conversations, posting information on the Internet, and presentations to communities, Aboriginal and other organizations, and workshops and conferences. INAC posts some information about funded projects on its website [Note 10] and refers communities of available information upon request; however, the Program does not formally facilitate information-sharing between communities and across funded projects. According to Program managers, these include risk assessment guidelines and Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee guidelines. Suggestions for improvement in this area can be found in Section 6 below in relation to efficiency and economy. Further, respondents mentioned that many of the funded projects are developing and testing methodologies and processes. These tools may become available for use in future projects.

Key informants identified several areas for improvement and additional/ongoing work.

4.3 Identification and assessment of climate change risks

With information, tools and other resources such as expertise becoming increasingly available, the next question the evaluation sought to answer was to what extent are these resources being used and what role do they play in increasing community involvement in assessing risks and opportunities.

Community identification of risks and opportunities

Key informants emphasized the strong role communities have played in identifying and assessing climate change risks and opportunities. They noted that there is a high level of community interest in these discussions, and in many cases, communities have ownership over the assessment process. Based on the file review, by the conclusion of the Program, community consultations to identify risks and opportunities will have occurred in 32 communities including:

Project leaders identified a vast range of climate risks such as increased severity and duration of extreme weather events, unpredictable freezing and thawing, permafrost degradation, flooding, landslides, reduced ice thickness, warmer waters and shoreline erosion.

Key informants reported that these climate risks can lead to impacts such as infrastructure vulnerability; diminished water quantity and quality; loss of traditional land-use practices and cultural identity (e.g., species hunted, traditional medicinal ingredients); food security issues; road wash-outs; increased risk of forest fires; introduction of invasive species and bacteria; changing animal migration patterns and increased presence of problem animals in communities. Project leaders noted that while most communities in a geographical region face the same risks, the magnitude of risk may differ. For example, they explained that some communities have different warming trends and/or permafrost conditions.

Most project leaders noted that communities have yet to recognize opportunities resulting from climate change. Some of the opportunities that were identified include a longer growing season, longer shipping season, increased tourism, increased forest growth, increased grasslands available for animals and lower heating bills.

Scientific assessment

About one-quarter of the projects (n=25) focussed on scientific assessment of climate risks laying the groundwork for regional climate change trend analysis and providing raw data which many informants felt was crucial to successful planning activities.

Table 7: Description of scientific assessment projects
Climate riskFunded projects
Water
  • Four of the water-related projects were conducted in Yukon. These included a two-year project to undertake ecological monitoring of freshwater regimes in the Ta'an Kwäch än Council Traditional Territory and a two-year project investigating adaptive management for water users.

  • Three of the projects were conducted in Nunavut. One involved mapping summer water sources, another involved monitoring and mapping vulnerable water supplies and the final conducted a study on sea-level rise.

  • One project was conducted in the Northwest Territories and involved developing a climate change scenario model for Great Bear Lake and its watershed.
Permafrost
  • Five of the projects assessed infrastructure-related permafrost risks. Four of these projects were conducted in the Northwest Territories and one was conducted in Yukon.

  • Three of the projects addressed the vulnerability of infrastructure including a two-year project in the Northwest Territories to develop a methodology for conducting vulnerability assessments of community infrastructure and a one-year project in Yukon to develop an inventory of vulnerable infrastructure.

  • The two additional projects conducted in the Northwest Territories included a one-year project to begin a vulnerability assessment of a highway and a one-year project to develop a methodology for the installation and monitoring of adfreeze piles (building foundations dependent on the frozen ground.

  • Two projects involved permafrost monitoring. One was conducted in the Northwest Territories and one was conducted South of 600 (Taku River Tlingit).
Sea-level rise and sea-ice risks
  • All of these projects were conducted South of 600. A two-year project involved estimating sea-level rise in seven New Brunswick municipalities, mapping coastal features, and assessing vulnerabilities. Another two-year project involved collecting historical and current data on sea-ice conditions in Quebec and discussing potential climate change impacts with communities.
Tree species
  • One three-year project assessed the adaptive capacity of tree species in Yukon.
Other risks
  • One project assessed landscape hazards in Yukon.

  • One project gathered data on past and present air and ground temperatures in northern Canada.

  • One project assessed food security in the Canadian Arctic.

Source: Final reports for funded projects

Intermediate and long-term outcomes

4.4 Capacity to adapt to climate change

This section focuses on the following evaluation question: What progress has the Program made toward increased capacity of aboriginal and northern communities to adapt to climate change? In addition, to the greatest extent possible, it speaks to Program outcomes concerning professional and institutional capacity and the integration of climate change information into planning and decision-making.

A study on adaptive capacity discusses a range of conditions that together form capacity. Among others, these include the availability of technology and other information resources, human and social capital, the ability of decision-makers to manage information and a public understanding of the source of the risk and its significance. [Note 11] Building on the outcome sections above, this and the next section discuss elements of this list as they apply to the development of capacity and the use of this awareness and skill set to begin to take actions to adapt to a changing climate.

As mentioned in the limitations section above, not enough time has passed to properly assess the extent to which the Program has contributed to increased capacity. With that said, early evidence points to the fact that funded projects are making progress towards this outcome.

Awareness-building and influencing decision-making

The file review found that, typically, projects do not focus specifically on building capacity, but rather involve a capacity building component. This might take the form of information sharing, or as discussed in greater detail above, active participation of community members in adaptation projects by identifying climate risks and opportunities and defining possible responses to them. Key informant interviews revealed that through this participation, these community members have gained a better understanding of the climate risks their community is facing and have learned about some of the actions they can take as individuals to begin adapting to climate change.

Many project leaders said communities are acutely aware that climate change is occurring, as they live witness it on a daily basis. Nevertheless, there is a need for continued effort in this area. Some community members are questioning whether the changes being experienced are the result of long-term climate change or simply reflect unusually variable weather. Sustained awareness of the impacts of climate change and motivation to act on this awareness often requires repeat messaging.

Some key informants said the program has increased communities' capacity to understand, support and benefit from research. For example, program representatives and project leaders noted that by engaging communities in projects, community members are developing relationships with experts, receiving adaptation training and ensuring project results/reports are useful to communities. Program representatives also indicated that involving communities in research projects helps ensure that decision-makers are accessing the information needed to inform decision-making processes.

In addition to the Program's role in raising awareness among community members, there is some indication that information from projects has begun to be fed into the realm of local-level decision-making. Several respondents agree that projects have helped community leaders make linkages between climate change and community needs. Through an understanding of basic issues, these individuals have a better ability to plan and prioritize realistic actions in response to climate risks.

Other capacity building activities

Students, community members, and others have received training related to monitoring activities through six projects (7 percent). This training was related to the monitoring of permafrost, water sources, sea ice, air and ground temperatures, weather, and shoreline erosion. Other projects (n=15, 17 percent) have hired local residents to serve as project coordinators or have invited them to participate in project advisory or steering committees. It is unknown if the community members who participated in these projects have used the skills gained to support other climate change adaptation work.

The Program has worked to strengthen the capacity of territorial governments. The Program funded territorial-led projects in all three funding years. During this time, key informants said the Program increased territorial governments' understanding of the impacts of climate change, ensured climate change is considered in government and community planning processes, and created the forum to discuss joint priorities for the future. With greater capacity, informants believe territorial governments will be better able to fulfil their role as the primary source of support for northern communities. Program representatives and representatives of other federal departments believe that once additional capacity is built in territorial and Aboriginal governments, responsibility to continue adaptation planning and implementation could be devolved to them.

Finally, the Program's role in facilitating community engagement and increasing community capacity sets communities on the right track to achieve sustainable development. It is clear that the Program directly contributes to several of INAC's sustainable development principles among others including: engagement of interested local communities and organizations when planning and implementing federal programs and decisions based on the best available, scientific, traditional and local knowledge. Of course, sustainable development will occur only if the funded projects influence decision-making, or spur-on individual and community level action to address climate change issues.

4.5 Action to reduce vulnerability

This section responds to the following evaluation question: What progress has the Program made toward aboriginal and northern communities taking action to reduce their vulnerabilities from and adapt to climate change impacts and realize opportunities?

Adaptation planning

The evaluation found some evidence that communities are developing adaption plans. By the end of the Program, adaptation plans will be in place for 15 communities including seven communities in the Northwest Territories, five communities in Nunavut, and three communities South of 600. The plans are being developed through 10 projects (or 12 percent of all projects); nine of these received more than one year of funding. The following are noteworthy findings related to the Program's support of adaptation planning:

Table 8 provides a brief overview of the ten projects expected to result in the development of an adaptation plan in fifteen communities.

LeadCommunitiesCostDurationApproach
Canadian Institute of Planners Nunavut:
  • Cambridge Bay
  • Kugluktuk
  • Whale Cove
  • Arviat
  • Iqaluit
Total:
$537,000

Per community:
$107,400
3 years
  • Establishing a Partner Team
  • Conducting a literature review to identify climate change priority issues for Nunavut
  • Holding community meetings to obtain information on specific climate change issues, discuss barriers, and begin designing adaptation plans
  • Drafting adaptation plans
  • Reviewing the adaptation plans with communities
Tlicho Government with support from Ecology North Northwest Territories:
  • Behchoko
  • Gameti
  • Wekweeti
  • Wha Ti
$648,000

Per community:
$162,000
2 years
  • Holding public information meetings
  • Interviewing Elders
  • Consulting with community governments, technical experts and residents
  • Drafting community profiles
  • Drafting adaptation plans
Ecology North Northwest Territories:
  • Tsiigehtchic
$338,000 2 years
  • Summarizing scientific research on topics related to climate change in the Gwich'in region
  • Preparing a community profile
  • Hiring a community coordinator
  • Holding planning workshops
  • Meeting with local advisory committees
  • Conducting an assessment of Church Hill as well as a housing assessment
  • Conducting a permafrost mapping project
  • Developing a draft adaptation plan and reviewing it with local agencies
Arctic North Consulting Northwest Territories:
  • Paulatuk
  • Ulukhaktok
Total:
$195,000

Per community:
$97,500
1 year
  • Holding community workshops
  • Developing hazard maps
  • Assessing the vulnerability of wastewater treatment facilities and drinking water
  • Prioritizing adaptation options
  • Drafting adaptation plans
Hesquiaht Band Clayoquot First Nations, British Columbia:
  • Ahousaht
  • Hesquiaht
  • Tia-o-qui-aht
Total:
$250,000

Per community:
$83,000
2 years
  • Establishing a Project Steering Committee
  • Hiring community members to lead part of the research
  • Developing baseline climate data and climate projections
  • Holding public community meetings and school events
  • Conducting community interviews
  • Developing an impact and vulnerability assessment, as well as an adaptation plan

Source: Final reports for funded projects

The evaluation found some evidence that the adaptation plans funded through the Program were worthwhile investments. Though only recently completed or still underway, key informants were optimistic that adaptation planning would influence decision-making and that elements of the plans would be implemented, depending on associated costs. Another benefit of the planning process cited was its ability to bring together numerous viewpoints and knowledge from a range of community members, experts and other stakeholders.

Alternatively, a few program recipients suggested that some of the adaptation plans that have been prepared may not be as useful to the communities as initially intended. Possible reasons for this are that these adaptation plans were not based on concrete data, there was little community representation in consultations and there was no community ownership of the planning process.

4.6 Unintended Outcomes

Implementation

Although implementation of adaptations and other actions was not an objective of the Program, the evaluation found some evidence that communities are beginning to take action to reduce their vulnerability to climate change.

Although many program recipients indicated that communities have yet to begin implementing adaptation projects, they provided some examples of actions communities are taking to respond to climate change as a result of knowledge and resources gained through the Program. These include: changing travel routes, hunting different species, planning development on higher ground and constructing breakwaters.

Based on the file review, three of the funded projects specifically involved implementation activities (although reports were only available for two of them).

4.7 Best practices and lessons learned

Best practices

A number of key informant interviewees from all groups shared best practices and lessons learned around climate change initiatives:

Lessons learned

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5. Results - Economy, efficiency & cost-effectiveness

This section responds to the following evaluation questions:

5.1 Economy

Economy is achieved when resources (financial, human and material) are acquired at the lowest possible cost. [Note 12] The evaluation approached this issue from both a macro level – reviewing the extent to which the Program complements and duplicates other Government of Canada programs – and a program-specific level with attention given to whether tools, information and other material is being produced economically.

Duplication and complementarities with other programs

The implementation evaluation lists several initiatives that complement the Program including the action plans of territorial governments. In addition to these, the present evaluation found evidence that the Program complements the following programs:

The evaluation found evidence of limited duplication between the Program and the Government of Canada's program for International Polar Year (IPY) 2007–2008, which through funding of 43 projects was the largest-ever international program of scientific research focused on the Arctic and Antarctic regions. [Note 16] The objectives of IPY and the Program are similar in that they support research and assessment work of climate change impacts and adaptation. Several examples of similar projects funded are assessment of ice-thickness and permafrost conditions; the identification of vulnerabilities associated with climate change in northern communities; the incorporation of traditional community practices into adaptation; and the impacts of climate change on forests and fresh and salt water systems.

Both the Program and the IPY have funded identification/assessment of climate change risks and adaptation projects led by academic organizations, First Nations councils and government recipients. [Note 17] One noteworthy difference between the two is the enhanced community focus of the Climate Change Adaptation program, though IPY and the Program share the goal of directly involving northerners in research and assessment activities. Finally, as a larger program, IPY is better positioned to fund larger projects.

Economy in community-level inputs

Economy can be achieved through the sharing of resources across and between communities. For instance, without templates, background information of what worked and did not work in other communities, time and resources can be wasted in the duplication of efforts. As mentioned above in relation to available information, the Program is at an early stage of information sharing, including tools and templates that may help communities to achieve economy in the future.

The issue of replication of projects and project results, though not explicitly stated as an objective of the program, was identified in the evaluation methodology as an area of interest to try to determine whether economy might be achieved through limiting duplication of efforts. With one exception – the replication of ice monitoring techniques – key informants could not provide any examples of projects that had been replicated given the early stage of the Program. Some respondents did not believe that many funded projects are replicable because they are location-specific. However, they indicated that some methodologies, tools and processes used in various projects could be replicable.

5.2 Efficiency

Efficiency is achieved when the maximum output is produced for any given set of resources or inputs, or when minimum inputs are needed for any given quantity and quality of service provided. [Note 18] The evaluation found the following evidence of Program efficiency.

Additional efficiency measures include: working with INAC regional offices to set-up funding agreements; travelling to more than one community during trips to the North and co-funding projects where possible (the Program co-funded one project with Health Canada in 2010-11).

5.3 Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-effectiveness is achieved when intended outcomes are achieved for the least possible cost. The evaluation found some evidence that the Program is cost-effective, but noted a number of areas for improvement.

The ability of funded projects to leverage additional funding suggests that the Program is a cost-effective investment. Indeed, some key informants mentioned that securing additional funding for projects was made possible through the Program's initial investment. Overall, funded projects have leveraged $5.2 million in funding and in-kind resources from other sources, an amount greater than 50 percent of Program funding. Table 9 shows the cost of projects by funding year.

Table 9: Cost of projects, 2008-09 to 2010-11
Activity2008-092009-102010-11Total% of
Total
$ '000    
Funds approved $1,235 $4,020 $4,349 $10,000 65%
Estimated amount covered by non-Program sources $877 $2,422 $1,916 $5,215 35%
Estimated total project cost $2,112 $6,422 $6,265 $15,215 100%
 

Source: Performance measurement summary spreadsheet

More generally, the evaluation found some evidence that adaptation can result in cost savings. Using several climate change scenarios, a study based in Alaska estimates comparisons between infrastructure costs with and without adaptation measures. The potential savings from adaptations prove to be small in the short term, but become much more substantial father into the future with costs decreasing as much as 45 percent. [Note 19] These projections require implementation funding that is not available through the Program; however, the Program's support of infrastructure vulnerability assessments could contribute to this outcome.

5.4 Potential improvements to economy and efficiency

Key informants offered various suggestions to improve the efficiency and economy of the Program. Many of these relate to design and delivery improvements that would also better enable the Program to more effectively target promising projects.

Although the federal government has a unique responsibility with respect to First Nations communities and is not required to collaborate with provinces, the end result of this greater communication and collaboration, it was suggested, would be a more effective systems-based approach to addressing climate change. This approach would help transcend federal and provincial programming silos to better engage national, regional, community and individual perspectives.

5.6 Alternative approaches

This section responds to the following evaluation question: Are there more cost-effective and efficient means of achieving the objectives of the Program?

The evaluation was not able to determine whether alternative approaches to the Program might offer enhancements to efficiency and economy. The following discussion reviews a number of different approaches being taken in other jurisdictions to provide adaptation support to communities or those developing community-level information. As with any cross-jurisdictional review, the reader must recognize that these approaches have been developed in social, political, geographical and environmental contexts that differ from those in Canada.

5.6.1 International adaptation initiatives

A number of international jurisdictions have national adaptation action plans in place. Less common are strategies and programs that directly fund community-level projects. Most commonly, federal governments provide support to municipalities and other communities through dissemination of information, capacity-building workshops, technical guidance, networking and various guidelines and toolkits.

The United States and Australia offer several programs comparable to INAC's adaptation program. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a federal US agency, has in place a one-time $1.2 million source of funding to assist coastal communities to prepare for the impacts of climate change. This initiative focuses on emergency planning and supports rapid response community-based climate adaptation projects in coastal and Great Lakes states. [Note 21] In addition to funding major national vulnerability assessments, Australia's Climate Change Adaptation Program – a $126 million initiative – funds local-level projects through municipal councils and professional organizations. Several examples of projects include an initiative to revise or develop professional development and accreditation programs with climate change information. In addition, the program contributes to local-level capacity to assess climate change risks and develop responses. [Note 22]

Unlike these examples and INAC's adaptation program, the majority of adaptation initiatives do not directly fund community projects. Generally, other alternatives seek to provide communities with technical and informational resources or contribute to a greater understanding of community vulnerabilities on a broader scale through the funding of research projects.

The cross-jurisdictional review found the most evidence of this first approach. Sweden provides important climate change baseline data including regional climate modelling, regional climate change projections and hydrological impact assessment to planners and other community-level decision-makers to provide a strong foundation for planning. [Note 23] The government of Germany offers similar decision support services, while the Alaska State government provides communities with several manuals and toolkits to aid in adaptation planning. [Note 24][Note 25] Similarly, Norway's climate change adaptation program offers a course to planners and local-level decision-makers and other representatives. The course covers a number of adaptation measures including planning, water supply and sewage, health, nature management and transport. [Note 26] One final example is the identification risks and development of adaptation measures by Austrian sector (e.g. agriculture, industry, tourism). [Note 27]

Programs in Australia and New Zealand have supported community-focused research projects. New Zealand's Community Vulnerability, Adaptation and Resilience Program incorporates perspectives from local governments, public health professionals and Maori, New Zealand's Aboriginal population, to form a comprehensive framework for assessing climate change impacts and ways to respond to these risks. [Note 28] Likewise, Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has supported a number of research studies geared mostly at the community-level. These studies focus on information-sharing and integration of traditional knowledge into an understanding of adaptation; studies on vulnerabilities in Aboriginal communities and impacts on Aboriginal communities.

Finally, there is some evidence of professional organizations providing climate change adaptation support. For instance, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects has developed landscape principles and associated professional development programs to increase the expertise of landscape architects to incorporate adaptive responses to landscape planning. [Note 29]

 5.6.2 Provincial and territorial adaptation initiatives

Interviews with provincial and territorial climate change representatives and a review of provincial and territorial climate change action plans and other related information revealed that there are a number of activities underway to support adaptation activities, but few formal programs. Across Canada, action plans identify adaptation as a key issue alongside climate change mitigation. Unlike federal government programming, however, provinces and territories engage in a number of supporting activities and other innovative approaches to assessment and planning outside of formal programming. One common thread is education and awareness building through, for example, youth education, web-based information resources and community engagement forums.

Another common approach to climate change adaptation is through existing channels. One province takes the approach of identifying opportunities to address climate change issues as they apply to work already underway in other government ministries. In other examples, provinces and territories plan to conduct infrastructure assessments and incorporate adaptation knowledge into land use decision-making and building regulations.

5.6.3 Other alternatives

A few key informants also mentioned that adaptation planning could be integrated into other planning processes such as comprehensive community planning or emergency planning given the availability of adequate modelling, climate change scenarios, and other assessment information. One benefit of this approach is that there are no mechanisms for enforcement or ongoing implementation of adaptation plans, whereas other plans may hold a more prominent place in community decision-making. In addition, incorporating information into other planning processes may reduce duplication of efforts and presents the opportunity to more clearly show linkages between climate change adaptation and other common community challenges.

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6. Summary of Findings, Conclusions & Recommendations

This section summarizes the evaluation findings, draws conclusions, and offers recommendations.

6.1 Summary

Continued need / Responsiveness to need

There is continued need for the Program. There is a need to continue to build capacity and work with communities that have not begun to engage in adaptation planning. It appears that the Program may not have reached communities in greatest need of support or those requiring immediate support. Possible explanations are that communities in need of support may not have the capacity to participate in the Program; without a formal call for proposals, the Program may not have identified communities in greatest need and, finally, given its short duration, the Program targeted communities that were ready to begin working on adaptation projects.

Outcomes –Performance

Collaboration

The Program worked to strengthen its relationships with other federal departments and territorial governments. It fostered the development of relationships between scientists, consultants, experts, and communities. Despite these efforts, some projects have experienced challenges. Several have found it difficult to achieve long-term commitments and shared vision. Additionally, there is significant staff-turnover at the community and territorial levels that can hinder relationship building. Finally, some community members are experiencing consultation fatigue and are reluctant to participate in climate change discussions.

Access/availability to information

The Program has contributed to increased availability of climate change information and expertise. Almost half of the funded projects focused on assessment of climate change risks and impacts. To a lesser extent, projects facilitated information-sharing and the development of adaptation tools. Nonetheless, there is a need to increase community-level coordination of adaptation work and sharing of project results. There is also a need to continue the work underway in participating communities and to engage new communities in adaption projects.

Increased ability to assess climate change risks

Most of the funded projects identified climate change risks and, in large part, this process directly involved community members. These projects identified a vast range of climate risks from permafrost degradation to flooding to reduced ice thickness. In addition, projects identified a number of specific impacts to communities associated with these risks such as infrastructure vulnerability, loss of traditional land-use practices and cultural identity and food security issues. Although many communities in a geographical area face the same core set of risks, the magnitude of risk varies across communities. Few communities have recognized opportunities from climate change.

Another noteworthy finding in relation to the Program's role in increasing communities' ability to assess risks was that roughly one quarter of funded projects involved the scientific assessment of risks including those to water, permafrost and seal-level rise. These projects provide vital data for planning activities and climate change trend analysis.

Capacity

The Program is increasing awareness of climate change within participating communities. However, there is a continued need to raise awareness of climate change impacts as some community members question whether the changes experienced simply reflect unusually variable weather conditions. Additionally, there is a need for repeat messaging.

The Program has begun to increase the capacity of participating communities to adapt to climate change. In part, this is the result of increased awareness of risks and possible adaptation strategies. It also results from increases in communities' ability to understand, support, and benefit from research, particularly through projects that actively engage community members. More generally, the Program's close relationship with territorial governments has increased capacity at that level. Nonetheless, many communities lack the financial and human resources required to engage in adaptation planning, pointing to the need for continued work in this area.

The evaluation found some evidence that communities are developing adaption plans. By the end of the Program, adaptation plans will be in place for 15 communities. The evaluation found mixed evidence relating to the usefulness of these plans, though it should be noted that it difficult to draw conclusions on this point given the fact that plans have either only recently been completed or are still underway. On the whole, plans that apply a community-based approach and successfully integrate climate change data appear more likely to be incorporated into community-level decision-making.

Unintended outcome: Actions to reduce vulnerability

Some projects have resulted in actions taken to reduce vulnerability to climate change. Few communities have begun to implement projects. Implementation of projects is one step ahead of the long-term expected outcome of the Program.

Results – Economy, Efficiency & cost- effectiveness

The Program complements other CAA Adaptation Theme Programs, the NRTEE work on Climate Change Adaptation, and the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) national engineering vulnerability assessment. To a limited extent, evidence suggests that the Government of Canada's program for International Polar Year duplicates the Program as these two programs fund similar adaptation projects.

Successes

The Program provided 75 percent of its available funding to projects and planned and actual expenditures were closely aligned. The Program funded 86 projects, thereby exceeding its goal by 26 projects. The Program attempted to maximize its efficiency by coordinating administrative activities with INAC's ecoENERGY Program, having regional offices set-up funding agreements, travelling to more than one community during trips to the North and co-funding projects where possible.

The Program demonstrated cost-effectiveness by leveraging $5.2 million funding and in-kind resources from other sources. However, little sharing of information resources across and between communities occurred and few funded projects are replicable because they are location-specific

Areas for improvement

According to key informants, several opportunities to improve the economy and efficiency of the Program exist. Information and resources including tools and manuals could be more effectively shared across communities. INAC headquarters' relationship with regional offices could be strengthened to improve the Program's understanding of regional issues. Program-related communications could be increased to raise awareness about the Program. Project funds could be distributed to projects in a more timely fashion (depending on constraints involved with INAC financial processes). Program and project duration could be expanded to limit the time involved in applying for funding. Proposals could be solicited through a formal call to enable the Program to better target specific projects. Finally, a joint funding application could be established with other programs and departments.

Alternative approaches

The cross-jurisdictional review revealed that other jurisdictions are taking a number of different approaches to adaptation support. These include incorporating adaptation into existing programming channels (e.g. infrastructure funding); providing training to planners; developing toolkits and manuals for planning exercises; providing information through online databases and funding macro studies on climate change adaptation. Additionally, some key informants felt that adaptation planning could potentially be integrated into other planning processes given the availability of adequate modeling, climate change scenarios and other climate change assessment information.

6.2 Conclusion

The Program appears to be on-track to achieve its intended immediate and intermediate outcomes. The Program has fostered collaboration with other federal departments involved in the Adaptation Theme of the CAA, territorial governments and a range of others on adaptation projects. It has increased participating communities' awareness of climate change risks and impacts and increased the availability of climate change adaptation information and tools. It has supported assessment of climate risks and development of some adaptation plans.

Despite the Program's successes, more time is needed to fully realize outcomes and improvements can be made to help achieve future success. Many communities lack capacity to participate in adaptation projects. Few communities have begun to implement projects to reduce their vulnerability to climate change. Improvements can be made to the Program to better target communities in need as well as those with existing capacity. The benefits of funded projects can be maximized through more efficient and effective processes.

6.3 Recommendations

The evaluation offers the following recommendations to improve the success, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the Program:

  1. To increase its ability to identify and reach communities in need and better align efforts with regional strategies,INACshould:
    1. Continue to strengthen relationships with INAC regional offices.

    2. Continue to seek opportunities to work with provincial and territorial climate change offices.

  2.  
  3. To increase communities' awareness of funding opportunities, secure a broader range of applicants and better target funding,INACshould:
    1. Continue to proactively inform individual communities of funding opportunities.

    2. Solicit applications through a formal call for proposals.

  4. To provide Aboriginal and northern communities with one-window access to funding opportunities, INAC should explore opportunities for coordinating its call for proposals and application processes with other similar programs.

  5. To take advantage of the climate change adaptation research that has been completed, INAC should find additional ways to share results across communities through, for example, integrating data into the Government of Canada's International Polar Year database.
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Annex A: Key informant interview selection criteria

The following criteria were used to guide the selection of the sample of nineteen projects: funding year (2008-09 and 2009-10), type of project, region and type of recipient. The charts below show the representativeness of selected projects in each of these categories.

Chart 1: Type of project

Chart 1 shows the proportion of projects included in interviews by type of project. The three main types of projects - assessment, adaptation planning and information sharing - were more or less equally represented at 35%, 32% and 30% respectively. Projects focusing on implementation, of which the program only funded a few, comprised 3% of all projects for which a representative was interviewed.

Chart 2: Location of funded projects

Chart 2 shows the proportion of projects included in interviews by geographical region. Since most projects targeted the North, the evaluation interviewed an equal proportion of respondents from Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories at 25% each. The fourth group - projects south of 60 degrees / other - comprised the remaining 25% of interviews.

Chart 3: Funding year

Chart 3 shows the distribution of projects included in the interviews by funding year. In total, 47% of projects from which representatives were interviewed received funding in 2008-09 and 53% of projects received funding in 2009-10.

Chart 4: Recipient category

Chart 4 shows the proportion of projects included in interviews by recipient category. Thirty-one percent of the recipients interviewed for the evaluation were from an Aboriginal organization; 25% represented another federal government department or territory; 25% were from a professional organization and the remaining 19% represented a community that received funding through the program.

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Footnotes:

  1. INAC (2009). Implementation Evaluation of INAC Climate Change Adaptation Program: Assist Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities Program. Retrieved January 21, 2011. (return to source paragraph)

  2. 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)

  3. Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). (2004). Impacts of a Warming Arctic   New York: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved October 30, 2009, from ; 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; Ford, J., et al. (2007). Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change in the Arctic: The Case of Nunavut, Canada. Arctic, 60(2), pp. 150-166; 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)

  4. 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)

  5. Ibid. (return to source paragraph)

  6. This figure does not include O&M funding transferred to NRCan during the first two funding years of the Program. (return to source paragraph)

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

  8. Note that a final report was not available for one project funded in the 2009-10 fiscal year and progress reports were not available for nine of the projects funded in the 2010-11 fiscal year. (return to source paragraph)

  9. Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. (2010, Fall). Chapter 3 - Adapting to Climate Impacts. Retrieved January 29, 2011 (return to source paragraph)
  10. See, for example, the recent document published in partnership with the ecoENERGY program: INAC. (2010). Sharing knowledge for a better future: Adaptation and clean energy experiences in a changing climate>. (return to source paragraph)

  11. Yohe, G. & Tol, S.J. (2001). Indicators for social and economic coping capacity: Moving toward a working definition of adaptive capacity. In Global Environmental Change 12. pp. 25-40. (return to source paragraph)

  12. Auditor General of Canada. (1990). Comprehensive auditing manual. (return to source paragraph)

  13. INAC. (2010, Oct. 27). ecoENERGY for Aboriginal and northern communities overview. Retrieved November 17, 2010. (return to source paragraph)

  14. The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. (2009). True north: Adapting infrastructure to climate change in Canada. (return to source paragraph)

  15. Canadian Council of Professional Engineers. (2007). Public infrastructure engineering vulnerability committee. Retrieved November 19, 2010. (return to source paragraph)
  16. A Brief descriptions of these projects(return to source paragraph)

  17. Note that this finding is based on a comparison of all funded projects at the end of these two programs. As a result, it updates the findings of the 2009 implementation evaluation. (return to source paragraph)

  18. Auditor General of Canada. (1990). Comprehensive auditing manual. (return to source paragraph)

  19. Larsen, P. & Goldsmith, S. (2007, June). Estimating future costs for Alaska public infrastructure at risk from climate change. Anchorage: Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage. (return to source paragraph)

  20. Transports Québec. (2010). Climate change and marine infrastructures in Nunavik. Retrieved February 1, 2011. (return to source paragraph)
  21. NOAA. (2010, September 9). NOAA sea grant initiates $1.2 million community climate change adaptation initiative. Retrieved January 15, 2010. (return to source paragraph)
  22. Australian Government - Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. (2010, March 23). Climate change adaptation program. Retrieved January 31, 2010. (return to source paragraph)
  23. Mistra. (2009, Oct. 17). SWECLIM: Swedish regional climate modeling program. Retrieved January 31, 2011. (return to source paragraph)

  24. Government of Germany. (2008, Dec. 17). German strategy for adaptation to climate change. Retrieved January 21, 2011. (return to source paragraph)
  25. Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program. (2011, Jan. 11). Adapting to climate change in coastal Alaska. Retrieved January 12, 2011. (return to source paragraph)
  26. Norway Ministry of Environment. (2011). Norwegian climate change adaptation program (return to source paragraph)
  27. Environment Agency Austria. (n.d.). Climate change impacts in Austria(return to source paragraph)
  28. New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute. (2010, April 2). Strategic plan: 2010-2012. (return to source paragraph)

  29. Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. (2011). Climate change. Retrieved January 10, 2011. (return to source paragraph)

 
 
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