Journal Article

IDS Bulletin Vol. 39 Nos. 4

‘Adaptive Social Protection’: Synergies for Poverty Reduction

Published on 1 September 2008

Global processes and crises are changing and deepening the risks already faced by poor and vulnerable people in rural areas, particularly those involved in agriculture and other ecosystem-dependent livelihoods.

Reliance on subsistence agriculture means the impact of stresses and shocks (such as droughts or floods) are felt keenly by rural poor people, who depend directly on food system outcomes for their survival. This has profound implications for the security of their livelihoods and for their welfare. However, such stresses and shocks will not necessarily lead to negative impacts, as risks and uncertainties, often associated with seasonality, are embedded in the practice of agriculture and there is considerable experience of coping and risk management strategies among people working in this sector. With climate change, the magnitude and frequency of stresses and shocks is changing and approaches such as social protection, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation will be needed to bolster local resilience and supplement people’s experience.

This article examines the opportunities for linking social protection, adaptation and DRR in the context of agriculture and rural growth, exploring whether linking these three approaches together will help enhance resilience to shocks and stresses in agriculture-dependent rural communities. The article does this by (1) reviewing conceptual and policy-related similarities and differences between the three literatures; (2) collecting evidence from case studies where climate change-resilient social protection approaches have been trialled; and (3) developing an adaptive social protection framework that highlights opportunities for better coordination.

Related Content

This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 39.4 (2008) ‘Adaptive Social Protection’: Synergies for Poverty Reduction

Cite this publication

Davies, M., Guenther, B., Leavy, J., Mitchell, T. and Tanner, T. (2008) ‘Adaptive Social Protection’: Synergies for Poverty Reduction. IDS Bulletin 39(4): 105-112


Mark Davies
Bruce Guenther
Jennifer Leavy
Tom Mitchell
Thomas Tanner

Publication details

published by
Institute of Development Studies


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