Evaluation as a Roadmap for the Climate Transition

The Evaluation and Audit Unit in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in collaboration with MaREI held a lunchtime seminar on Wednesday November 13th in Iveagh House on ‘Evaluation as a Roadmap for the Climate Transition’.

Governments around the world face a range of urgent challenges including climate change, resource depletion, environmental pollution and rising inequality. A series of policy initiatives are underway in Ireland which aim to address these ‘grand challenges’. Such initiatives include the Climate Action Plan 2019, the National Policy Statement on the Bioeconomy, and the National Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Development Goals, among others.

Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir, MaREI Director said “This seminar was part of an innovative collaboration between MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine and the Audit and Evaluation Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation. It demonstrates how useful bridges are formed between the scientific research community and civil servants. It also provides a practical example of how research insights can increase the absorptive capacity of the policy system. The topic for the seminar Evaluation as a Roadmap for the Climate Transition is very timely, in the context of the recently published Government Climate Action Plan. The experience from Sweden is very useful as we find new ways to evaluate not only the 183 actions in the plan, but also whether we are meeting our overall greenhouse gas emissions targets, and how we are progressing towards a net zero emissions energy system, economy and society.”

Grand challenges require a new approach to policy. Recent work by the OECD has shown that addressing these challenges often involves fostering the transition of existing unsustainable systems, which provide the basics required for societies to function, such as food, energy, heating and transport, to more sustainable configurations. A policy framework, known as the system innovation framework, has been developed by the OECD to help guide policy makers in facilitating these transitions.

Ian Hughes, Senior Policy Advisor in STI for the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Senior Research Fellow with MaREI said “Goran Marklund is one of the world’s foremost experts on what the systemic transitions needed to address climate change and other global challenges actually entail. His insights from three decades of Swedish policymaking are of huge importance for us here in Ireland as we begin to focus Irish policy on the changes in governance, stakeholder engagement, and evaluation that will be needed to guide Ireland’s transition to a low carbon society. Sabrina Dekker added further insights from her experiences of climate policy evaluation here in Ireland to highlight what we are doing well and where we need to do better.”

This ongoing series of seminars, jointly organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine, hosted by UCC, aims to provide a forum for policymakers and wider stakeholders to discuss the challenges of system transition for policy and build a common language and understanding of how such transitions can be implemented in practice.