Working Paper

IDS Working Paper;345

Adaptive Social Protection: Mapping the Evidence and Policy Context in the Agriculture Sector in South Asia

Published on 1 February 2011

An aim of government and the international community is to respond to global processes and crises through a range of policy and practical approaches that help limit damage from shocks and stresses. Three approaches to vulnerability reduction that have become particularly prominent in recent years are social protection (SP), disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA). Although these approaches have much in common, they have developed separately over the last two decades.

However, given the increasingly complex and interlinked array of risks that poor and vulnerable people face, it is likely that they will not be sufficient in the long run if they continue to be applied in isolation from one another. In recognition of this challenge, the concept of Adaptive Social Protection (ASP) has been developed. ASP refers to a series of measures which aims to build resilience of the poorest and most vulnerable people to climate change by combining elements of SP, DRR and CCA in programmes and projects.

The aim of this paper is to provide an initial assessment of the ways in which these elements are being brought together in development policy and practice. It does this by conducting a meta-analysis of 124 agricultural programmes implemented in five countries in south Asia. These are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

The findings show that full integration of SP, DRR and CCA is relatively limited in south Asia, although there has been significant progress in combining SP and DRR in the last ten years. Projects that combine elements of SP, DRR and CCA tend to emphasise broad poverty and vulnerability reduction goals relative to those that do not. Such approaches can provide valuable lessons and insights for the promotion of climate resilient livelihoods amongst policymakers and practitioners.


Katy Oswald

Research Officer

Publication details

published by
Arnall, A., Oswald, K., Davies, M., Mitchell, T. and Coirolo, C.
IDS Working Paper, issue 345
978 1 85864 948 X


About this publication

Programmes and centres
Centre for Social Protection

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