Climate-Smart and Future-Proof?

Climate change adaptation in water and food security programmes funded by the Netherlands

Vrouw en kind lopen over droge vlakte in Bangladesh
Image: ©UNDPClimate/Ab Rashid

Results – Evaluation of climate change adaptation

Climate change affects the whole world, but the negative impacts are most severe for low-income countries and marginalised groups within these countries. The 2015 Paris Agreement therefore emphasises the need to integrate climate change adaptation into international cooperation with these countries. IOB has now assessed to what extent and in what ways the Netherlands is doing this, what the results are and what improvements can be made.


Climate change is threatening the progress made in development efforts in recent decades. This is especially true for water and food security programmes. Changing temperatures, rainfall patterns, rising sea levels and storms are already affecting crop cycles, harvests and the availability of (drinking) water.

This evaluation has therefore looked specifically at water and food security programmes funded by the Netherlands. How is adaptation to climate change integrated into these programmes? And what are the results? To answer these questions, IOB conducted a case study with country visits in Bangladesh and Mozambique, complemented by a document analysis of 19 programmes.

Collage of a farmer working the ground, a man washing hands and a market stall with produce
Image: ©FAO, Eliza Deacon/UNDPMalawi/FAO, Cassio Dimande

Key research question

How is climate change adaptation being integrated into water and food security programmes, and to what extent has this reduced risks for target groups vulnerable to climate change?

This key question also examines how marginalised groups and governments in recipient countries are involved in the programmes.


The answer to the key research question is that climate change adaptation is not structurally integrated in advance into water and food security programmes, and it is largely unknown to what extent adaptation measures have reduced the risks of climate change for vulnerable target groups. IOB also finds that there is limited inclusion of marginalised groups, but there is often good cooperation with governments.

These aspects are discussed in more detail below.

Collage of water pots near a pump, a farmer in a field, and a boy splashing water
Image: ©Carel de Groot/Jeffrey Barbee, TRF/Carel de Groot


The evaluation makes several recommendations, which are described in full in the report. The most important ones are summarised below:

  • Integrate climate change adaptation structurally and upfront into programmes. To this end, provide insight into climate risks and measures to address them.
  • Invest in monitoring and evaluation of climate change adaptation to track its implementation and results.
  • Involve the most marginalised groups in the design and implementation of adaptation measures.
  • Lobby the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to make this type of approach mandatory for all programmes with a climate change adaptation label, which are therefore reported as climate financing.
  • Finally, an ambitious climate policy requires additional resources. Labelling existing development programmes as climate-relevant is not enough to meet the additional needs that climate change will bring.


On May 30, 2023, IOB organized a productive workshop on the integration of climate change adaptation in collaboration with IGG. This workshop revealed that there are struggles with the complexity of integrating climate change adaptation, and especially with defining and then monitoring the results. The guidelines shared by the ministry were not familiar to all participants. At the same time, the feeling was also expressed that, implicitly, more is already happening on climate adaptation than might appear at first glance. It was also expressed that it is a learning process.

A meeting with NGOs will be organized on December 19, 2023, in collaboration with Partos.