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Evaluation of Transformational Change in Climate Investment Funds

The concept of transformational change has attracted significant attention as a way to create the profound shifts needed to address climate change. The potential to encourage far-reaching and lasting changes in market, governance, technological, and behavioural systems holds relevance to the interconnected challenges behind the Sustainable Development Goals. But how does transformation happen? How can it be supported? How to evaluate it?


In 2018 Itad conducted an award-winning evaluation of the Climate Investment Funds’ (CIF) support to transformational change over the past 10 years. As a part of a wider learning partnership, we assessed how CIF’s approach and four investment pillars supported efforts to stimulate change for clean technology, energy access, sustainable forestry, and climate resilience.  


We found compelling evidence that CIF had positively contributed to transformational change in the climate sector over the last 10 years. Results varied across the sub-sectors – we found more concrete examples of advanced transformational change in clean technology investments than we did in programmes to address deforestation.   

Our report highlights some of the main mechanisms through which transformational change can happen – examples include a country-led approach that aligns investment to national priorities, explicit consideration of barriers to systems-level change at the design phase and large-scale investments using concessional finance. 

The evaluation was a significant occasion for CIF as it represented an independent assessment of how the $8 billion-fund has performed over the last decade. At its launch event in Morocco our findings were discussed in depth by national ministers and high-level representatives from the World Bank and the UK government. 

Award for Influence

Itad’s evaluation won the Award for Influence at the IDEAS Conference in 2019, with the judging committee describing it as an authoritative and high-quality evaluation”. We are now applying the evaluation’s transformation lens to support other organisations working on the complexities of climate change. 


Contact Sam McPherson ( if you would like to discuss this project.


Image © Turbines. Photo Credit: richardghawley, Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Team members