Protecting livelihoods of the poorest from the impacts of climate change

25 October 2010

To date, little progress has been made by the international community on thinking about how to protect the livelihoods of the poorest and most vulnerable people from the impacts of climate change.

However, with large amounts of financial assistance pledged for adaptation and social protection in the most vulnerable developing countries in the coming years, Adaptive Social Protection (ASP) offers a promising approach through which to channel adaptation assistance to those who need it the most.

In addition, it is becoming increasingly recognised that social protection initiatives are as much at risk from climate change as other development approaches, and are unlikely to succeed in reducing poverty if they do not consider the short and long-term shocks associated with climate change. ASP aims to address this concern by developing climate change-resilient social programmes that support peoples' livelihoods.

New resource on Adaptive Social Protection for policymakers and researchers

ASP is an approach to building climate-resilient livelihoods in developing countries that combines key elements of social protection, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in policy and practice.

The new Eldis resource on Adaptive Social Protection sets out a succinct, accessible summary of what ASP is, introduces its main themes and issues, and provides access to the latest key publications and reports on the topic. It will be of particular interest to researchers, policy-makers and practitioners who are interested in:

  • How social protection can build livelihoods resilience to climate variability and change; and 
  • The risks that climate variability and change pose for social protection systems, and the ways in which these risks can be better managed.

A joined-up approach essential for addressing complex and interlinked risks

Within IDS, the ASP concept bridges work traditionally carried out separately by researchers working in social protection and climate change. It also links closely with a number of other programmes that IDS are involved in concerning climate change and poverty reduction, including the Strengthening Climate Resilience (SCR) programme and the African Climate Change Resilience Alliance (ACCRA).

Further afield, the ASP concept is particularly useful in bringing together people in organisations who have traditionally worked separately on livelihoods, adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and social protection issues, perhaps in separate departments. Such a joined-up approach will be essential if we are to adequately address the increasingly complex and interlinked array of risks that poor and vulnerable people face.

Further notes