Working Paper

BASIC Research Working Paper 2

Climate Resilience and Social Assistance in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings

Published on 21 February 2022

This paper aims to improve our understanding of the nature, causes, and multiple dimensions of how social assistance may address climate vulnerability and resilience within fragile and conflict-affected settings (FCAS), as part of the inception phase of the Better Assistance in Crises (BASIC) Research programme.

Over recent years, social assistance, such as cash transfers and voucher programmes, has been seen as a way of reducing the impacts of climate-related shocks and stressors, and of increasing the resilience of recipient households and communities. It has also been seen as a mechanism for delivering adaptation funding, showing promise in tackling short-term shocks as well as longer-term adaptation to climate change. Yet despite FCAS hosting some of the most vulnerable populations in the world, so far there has been little attention to these settings.

We examine the linkages between social assistance and climate resilience in FCAS and in turn, implications for BASIC Research. Specifically, we ask what the evidence is on whether existing approaches to social assistance are appropriate to reducing climate vulnerabilities and building climate resilience in FCAS, and, if not, how they might be reformed.

We address this through three sub-questions. First, what are the major conceptual discussions on climate resilience and social assistance, and what is the extent of work in FCAS? This is addressed in section 2.1, based on an extensive literature review. Second, to what extent does the literature on social assistance and climate resilience apply to the particular concerns of FCAS? This is covered in section 2.2, based on a framework informed by work in political economy and political ecology. Third, what are possible future research directions? We conclude with reflections on what BASIC Research may contribute in section 3.

Cite this publication

Naess, L.O.; Selby, J. and Daoust, G. (2022) Climate Resilience and Social Assistance in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings, BASIC Research Working Paper 2, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/BASIC.2022.002


Lars Otto Naess

Resource Politics and Environmental Change Cluster Lead

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published by
Institute of Development Studies


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