Determine Assessment Approach
A key part of planning the assessment is determining the approach, which includes who will conduct the assessment and when. The assessment should be conducted early enough to inform the activity design. Thus, it is best practice for USAID staff to conduct the assessment internally. If information is not sufficient, however, USAID may request an implementing partner to conduct the assessment or USAID may conduct an initial assessment and request partners to conduct additional analyses. Taking stock of available information and what information is still needed can help determine how and when to conduct the assessment. Lessons from implementing CRM thus far suggest two general timings:
- Many USAID staff have found that conducting the climate risk assessment around the time they are developing the development hypothesis / theory of change is the most useful because it is early enough to inform activity design.
- Other USAID staff have found that it is only feasible to assess climate risks once interventions and context are well-defined, which may not occur until after award. Note, however, that this timing makes it harder for the assessment to inform the design.
To thoroughly assess an activity for climate risks, the CRM guidance recommends a multidisciplinary approach and team to ensure consideration of multiple perspectives and diverse expertise. The assessment team may include members of the design team as well as other individuals. Involvement from the person leading design and implementation is highly recommended. It is helpful if the assessment team comprises at least one person familiar with interpreting climate information, someone with relevant sectoral expertise, and one person familiar with the relevant geography and socio-economic context.
An important aspect of this step is to determine what climate information is relevant and useful based on desired outcomes of the activity. The activity’s timeframe (i.e., duration of anticipated impact--often much longer than the duration of the activity itself) is also relevant. For example, assessment teams should review longer-term climate information when they expect activity outcomes to be sustained for decades (e.g., construction activities). The assessment team can start with the climate risk profile (CRP) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fact sheet available for the mission. A primer on using climate information is also available. The team may identify additional information needs as the assessment progresses.