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Independent Evaluation of the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN)

Itad was contracted by DFID to provide both mid-term and final independent external evaluations of the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN).


The Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) ( is a large and complex programme whose main purpose is to help decision-makers in developing countries design and deliver climate compatible development.

CDKN do this by providing demand-led research and technical assistance, and channelling the best available knowledge on climate change and development to support policy processes at the country level. We were contracted by DFID to provide both mid-term and final independent external evaluations of CDKN.

Our role

We assembled an agile and experienced Core Evaluation Team supported by 3 Regional Advisers and 4 Niche Experts, with unique skills and comprehensive expertise in Climate Compatible Development M&E from local level up to national and international institutions, as well as international thought leadership on theory of change, VfM approaches, and the evaluation of knowledge services.

The team looked at the extent to which CDKN is performing against its original Terms of Reference and logical framework; the impact of the programme to date within CDKN Dimensions of Change; and, the extent to which the CDKN approach and design ensures good value for money. We also tested the assumptions that underpin CDKN’s theory of change.

Our approach

Our overall approach and evaluation framing is based around theory of change, questioning of the critical assumptions underlying CDKN and a learning-based approach. We designed a simple yet robust approach and method combing purposive and random sampling techniques, applied through a triangulated mixed-method involving interviews, desk-based research and country visits to Bangladesh, Columbia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Qatar, and Rwanda.

The outcome

The evaluation informed both DFID’s future funding and continued support to CDKN to 2016, and helped enhance CDKN’s strategic direction through a set of recommendations designed to ensure that CDKN as a programme is ‘greater than the sum of its parts’, and performing as a global leader in climate compatible development.

Image © A rural farming house, Main Ethiopian Rift. Photo Credit:Dagnachew Belachew, CDKNetwork (Shared under CC BY 2.0 license)