Burkinabé woman carrying goods on her head wearing blue dress and carrying a black bag on countryside path surrounded by green grass and trees in background, Bobo-Dioulasso Department, Houet Province, southwestern Burkina Faso

A woman walks on a countryside path in Burkina Faso. Photo: Luis Dafos / Getty Images .

International climate finance plays a key role in enabling the implementation of adaptation measures. However, while there is a common metric for gauging the effectiveness of finance for mitigation – greenhouse gas emission reduction per unit of funding – no corresponding metric exists for adaptation. Instead, assessments of what works best in adaptation finance focus either on procedural aspects of funding modalities, such as equity in the allocation of funding, or on the extent to which specific adaptation activities produce the desired results.

This mixed methods systematic review protocol provides a methodological plan for a review that aims to assess the effectiveness of adaptation finance and bridge the gap between those two approaches by comprehensive synthesis of the academic and grey literature on how different characteristics of adaptation projects in sub-Saharan Africa – and finance for those projects – affect adaptation outcomes, particularly in terms of risk and vulnerability to climate change impacts.