IDS working papers;320

Climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and social protection : complementary roles in agriculture and rural growth?

Published on 1 January 2009

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, with profound implications for
the security of their livelihoods and 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 (CCA) will be
needed to bolster local resilience and supplement people’s experience.
This study examines the opportunities for linking social protection, CCA 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 study does this by (i) reviewing
conceptual and policy-related similarities and differences between the three
disciplines, by (ii) collecting evidence from case studies where climate changeresilient
social protection approaches have been trialled and by (iii) developing an
adaptive social protection framework that highlight opportunities better
This paper suggests social protection and DRR measures designed to limit
damages from shocks and stresses may not be sufficient in the longer term. For
social protection to be resilient to climate change impacts, it will need to consider
how reducing dependence on climate sensitive livelihood activities can be part of
adaptive strategies. Similarly, CCA and DRR cannot effectively address the root
causes of poverty and vulnerability without taking a differentiated view of poverty something that further integration with social protection can help with.

Keywords: social protection; climate change adaptation; disaster risk reduction;
adaptive social protection; agriculture; rural growth; risk; resilience.

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