Climate Change Adaptation, Disaster Risk Reduction and Social Protection

Published on 1 January 2008

Poorer developing countries are especially vulnerable to climate change because of their geographic exposure, low incomes and greater reliance on climate sensitive sectors. People exposed to the most severe climate-related hazards are often those least able to cope with the associated impacts, due to their limited adaptive capacity.

This in turn poses multiple threats to economic growth, wider poverty reduction, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (ADB et al 2003; Stern et al 2006). Within this context, there is growing recognition of the potential role of social protection as a response to the multiple risks and short and long-term shocks and stresses associated with climate change. Stern (2008) argues that social protection could become one of the priority sectors for adaptation in developing countries.

To date however, little is known about the linkages and value of social protection for adaptation in practice. By exploring the relationship between climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and social protection, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) researchers have developed the concept of adaptive social protection.

Adaptive social protection involves examining the role of social protection in strengthening adaptation, for example, in developing more climateresilient livelihoods. This paper outlines linkages between the three fields and assesses good practice within current social protection mechanisms. Recommendations for policy-makers are made including issues to be examined further, challenges to be met and gaps in knowledge to be filled.


Katy Oswald

Research Officer


About this publication

Programmes and centres
Centre for Social Protection

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