How CIAT's climate research informs and influences decision making in IFAD and the cocoa and coffee sector globally: an outcomes validation report.
Programs and projects are implemented to produce results that are beneficial to sustainable societal wellbeing (both human and environmental). These results are used to demonstrate the project's progress and performance and they are varied but their documentation is critical in order to demonstrate progression towards or the extent to which the ultimate goal has been or is being reached. The variation stems from the way the project's logic model or impact pathway is designed but the most fundamental categories are the outputs, outcomes and impacts. The definitions or descriptions of what these mean has been a subject of many discourses but it is now generally agreed that outputs are what a project delivers (from its activities), outcomes are how these outputs are used, and impacts are the long term change in state as a result of the outcomes. Projects are designed to deliver outcomes that can influence impacts that indicate their goals have been or are being realized. In this case, outcomes are described as 'behavioral changes' in stakeholders that will have an effect on the target impacts. They are usually not in direct control of a project (unlike outputs) but the program has a greater chance of influencing their nature if they are well targeted. Performance evaluation of projects then strives to analyse and document these outcomes. The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and its partners, under the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) have and are conducting extensive research around four pillars of climate change: Climate Smart Agriculture Practices, Climate Risk Management, Low Emission Agriculture, Policies and Institutions and Gender and Social Inclusion. The information is now being used by next-users of the research. These research results are expected to inform and guide decision-making among key actors that will support the growth of sustainable agriculture adapted to climate change. CIAT has been interested in confirming these outcomes using a detailed validation study of the reported outcomes in key actors.