CLEAR-PCA Hosts "Evidence Based Program Design: Climate Edition" Workshop
The flagship Evidence Based Program Design (EBPD): Climate Edition workshop marked the first of many upcoming climate-focused initiatives from GEI Implementing Partner, the Center for Learning on Evaluation and Results for Pakistan and Central Asia (CLEAR-PCA), which is hosted at Centre for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP). The goal is to enhance monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems in the region by building the capacity of key policy actors.
The four-day workshop featured sessions from organizations such as CERP, World Bank, CLEAR-LAB, Princeton, LUMS, and SEED. The workshop was attended by a diverse group of participants, including civil servants, independent consultants, evaluators, academics and researchers. At the outset of the training, one participant with a background in evaluation and program design drew attention to the fact that Pakistan often neglects climate change and sustainability considerations in the design and implementation of development and infrastructure projects, which is an important learning given that Pakistan allocated PKR 2.71 trillion for infrastructure and development projects in fiscal year 2023-24.
For many participants, the EBPD: Climate Edition workshop served as their first exposure to exploring the intersections of climate within the scope of their work. They revisited their projects and programs, considering how they align with climate considerations, and developed a theory of change for their respective problem statements.
Participants found the learnings to be markedly different from the solution-driven planning processes they were accustomed to. The Smart Policy Design & Implementation (SPDI) model introduced in the workshop helped them appreciate the merits of crafting problem-driven programs. Additionally, participants noted the shift from applying global best practices uniformly to all problem regions, as previously done by their departments, to the workshop's emphasis on identifying and diagnosing specific problem areas and developing tailored programs and interventions.
Given the impact of climate change on sectors like health, agriculture, and education in Pakistan, this workshop topic is especially important. However, the impact of the workshop extends beyond the event itself. One civil servant from the agricultural sector noted that they were completely new to the concept of theory of change but they were now considering its applicability to multiple projects within their department. This change in mind-set highlights the potential for demand-creation for M&E systems leading to transformative change within governmental organizations. Taking into account the learnings from the workshop, CLEAR-PCA will continue to embark on a series of M&E strengthening initiatives, including activating a community of practice, developing knowledge products, podcasts and further capacity building and technical advisory activities.