Causality Assessment for Landscape Interventions

How do we reflect in a systemic way on whether our landscape or jurisdictional interventions are being effective? How do we learn and adapt?

To address these key questions, UNDP developed the Causality Assessment for Landscape Interventions (CALI) within the framework of the GEF-funded Good Growth Partnership (GGP).

CALI offers project managers and their teams an actionable approach to reflect systematically and systemically on the validity of their Theory of Change through examining implementation and achievements to date, with a strong emphasis on unpacking causality among different levels of results, and the broader environment in which the project operates. The findings of the assessment allow teams to plan for corrective and/or catalyzing actions to increase the chances of success of the project.

Project teams are recommended to apply the tool at least twice throughout project implementation: at project start and around mid-term. Each time, application consists of the following key steps, with some slight differences depending on the stage of implementation reached by the project:

  • Preparation – to ensure that all prerequisites are met (or can be met), the CALI project team is in place, and a thorough plan for application is developed;
  • Development or update of the landscape system map – to deepen (or update) the understanding of the Project team of the complex system dynamics driving deforestation in the target landscape;
  • Identification of Project impact areas in the landscape system map – to connect (or update the connection of) the Theory of Change and planned interventions of the Project to the system driving deforestation in the landscape, so to refine the Project team’s understanding of the systemic impact sought to be achieved through the Project, and identify any critical gaps or areas of improvement.
  • Review of the Project impact pathways – to refine the Project impact pathways and implementation strategy, considering their interaction with the complex system dynamics leading to deforestation in the target landscape, through leveraging existing evidence of progress, learnings from implementation, and the situated knowledge of key stakeholders.
  • Adjustments to the Project ToC, strategy and results framework – to adjust the Theory of Change, implementation strategy and results framework of the Project, leveraging the information gathered through the previous step.

A previous version of CALI was piloted in the following countries and landscapes within the framework of the GGP:

  • In Indonesia, in the districts of Sintang (West Kalimantan province), Pelalawan (Riau), and South Tapanuli (North Sumatra);
  • In Liberia, in the North-Western Liberia Landscape;
  • In Paraguay, in the Western Region (Paraguayan Chaco).

These experiences have informed the latest version of the tool, which was applied in support of the Sustainable Productive Landscapes  project in Peru (which operates in a landscape composed of the Padre Abad province and Nueva Requena district in the Ucayali region, and the Puerto Inca province in the Huánuco region). You can read more about the CALI methodology in this blog. Download the full CALI guidebook here.

In October 2023, the CALI Guidebook was officially launched in a public webinar. If you missed it, you can watch the recording below.


During the webinar we received several interesting questions, which we compiled and answered in this document.

For more information on CALI, please contact Andrea Bina, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Specialist, at