More than rain: identifying sustainable pathways for climate adaptation and poverty reduction

More than rain: identifying sustainable pathways for climate adaptation and poverty reduction

Guiding principles for including climate adaptation in poverty reduction efforts

This report aims to contribute to the increased understanding of how to integrate climate change adaptation in poverty reduction projects and programs in ways that increase the capacity of individuals, households and communities to respond to climate variability and change. The analysis investigates what types of factors need to be addressed at local, regional, and global levels in order to make sustainable adaptation to climate change possible, and what kinds of activities and measures for climate adaptation should be included in development projects. The report explores what adaptation to climate change can look like in practice.

Based on the case studies and the climate adaptation literature, the report introduces some guiding principles for how to take climate adaptation into account in poverty reduction efforts for reducing climate risk and vulnerability and increasing the capacity to adapt. The guidelines aim to promote poverty reduction projects and programs that are robust to climatic variability and change, and that make climate adaptation work to the benefit of the poor, including:

  • incorporate adaptation into broader development efforts, instead of planning separate climate change adaptation projects. Address central development challenges facing people and communities, while considering ways that climate conditions influence challenges. Be aware that some development projects can increase vulnerability and reduce flexibility of people and communities
  • base adaptation activities on sufficient understanding of local livelihood strategies and contexts, poor people’s problems, efforts, values and aims and how these relate to local climate variability and change. Involve and empower local actors in planning and implementation
  • base adaptation activities on sufficient understanding of a diversity of potential solutions. See the importance of different types of knowledge systems as a basis for promoting diversity and flexibility in livelihood strategies
  • identify and address barriers to social and technological change for sustainable adaptation. Identify and address the links between local living conditions and factors at different geographical levels influencing the opportunities to upgrade people’s livelihood strategies
  • identify and spread good examples of social and technological change, especially through South-South learning, and involve poor people in the processes
  • identify adaptation strategies and policies that are also resilient to future climate change, increased variability, and more intense and frequent extreme events.
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