The approach used follows from the past presentation of lessons learned in other programmes. Lessons are
presented in publications, more often than not, to demonstrate an engagement and contribution to knowledge.
The LEG believes that, to be useful, lessons must be presented and communicated effectively to their intended
audience. The approach that is being proposed by the LEG builds on a framework of lessons from evaluation,
developed by the Evaluation and Oversight Unit of UNEP.*
The LEG is guided by two definitions of lessons learned:
“A lesson learned is knowledge or understanding gained by experience. The experience may be
positive, as in a successful test or mission, or negative, as in a mishap or failure… A lesson must be
significant in that it has a real or assumed impact on operations; valid in that it is factually and
technically correct; and applicable in that it identifies a specific design, process or decision that reduces
or eliminates the potential for failures and mishaps, or reinforces a positive result (Secchi, 1999 in Weber
The second definition, based on the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), defines lessons learned as “Generalizations
based on evaluation experiences with projects, programmes, or policies that abstract from the specific
circumstances to broader situations. Frequently, lessons highlight strengths or weaknesses in preparation,
design, and implementation that affect performance, outcome, and impact.”
The goal is to frame lessons, based on experience, in a manner that will facilitate use in future areas and
applications, and will actively facilitate learning from experience in order to avoid repeating past mistakes
or reinventing the wheel. According to UNEP, a high-quality lesson must:
• Concisely capture the context from which it is derived;
• Be applicable in a different context (generic), have a clear ‘application domain’
and identify target users;
• Suggest a prescription and should guide action.
The lessons learned and best practices below are an initial selection by the LEG. The LEG intends to publish
additional cases through the LDC Portal on the UNFCCC website as more LDCs are interviewed and profiled.
Spilsbury MJ, Perch C, Norgbey S, Rauniyar G and Battaglino C (eds.). 2007.
Lessons Learned from Evaluation: A Platform for Sharing Knowledge, Nairobi: Evaluation and Oversight