Simon Levine's Presentation of the ACCRA research findings, Sept 2011

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Simon Levine, Senior researcher at the Overseas Development Institute, presents ACCRA's findings from Phase I.

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  • The ability of a community to cope with, and respond to a changing environment largely depends on availability, access and control over key assets and capitals Lack of availability and access to appropriate resources may limit ability to respond to changing shocks and trends. Depends on diversity and the ability of key assets to be used interchangeably: backup in case of failure or redundancy, substitutability
  • Communities are more likely to be able to cope with and respond to change if they have appropriate knowledge and information about impacts and vulnerabilities, and how to adapt appropriately to them Successful adaptation may benefit from information and understanding of future change; knowledge around adaptation options; the ability to assess them; and the capacity to implement the most suitable interventions Knowledge generation and sharing can be both formal and informal- Relevant information needs to reach key stakeholders to ensure that actions taken are effective in the long term, and prevent maladaptive practices.
  • Communities are more likely to be able to cope with and respond to change if they have appropriate knowledge and information about impacts and vulnerabilities, and how to adapt appropriately to them Successful adaptation may benefit from information and understanding of future change; knowledge around adaptation options; the ability to assess them; and the capacity to implement the most suitable interventions Knowledge generation and sharing can be both formal and informal- Relevant information needs to reach key stakeholders to ensure that actions taken are effective in the long term, and prevent maladaptive practices.
  • As changes to both social and environmental dynamics continue, communities will need to alter existing, or in some cases adapt new practices, resources and behaviours. Experimentation, innovation and adoption as part of the learning process, are essential Important to recognise innovation as not only high-tech and large scale innovations but also micro-level initiatives. Many of the adaptation actions will be taken spontaneously, or autonomously Traditional practices can play a large role in informing innovation and creativity, such as new farming practices or sharing of crop varieties. Strong links with other characteristics: i.e. knowledge and communication, assets base
  • Informed decision-making, transparency, and prioritisation are each key elements of adaptive governance Decision making and governance that is flexible, and learning-based may be responsive, and better able to cope with evolving circumstances. Recognises the role of dynamicism and evolving roles of organisations/institutions, and the processes and actions they control in response to shocks and trends. In some cases, taking a longer term approach and ensuring foresight within governance and decision making is important in preventing maladaptive interventions
  • Simon Levine's Presentation of the ACCRA research findings, Sept 2011

    1. 1. PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE CHANGING FOCUS: CAN DEVELOPMENT INTERVENTIONS TAKE ADAPTIVE CAPACITY SERIOUSLY? Lindsey Jones Simon Levine Eva Ludi Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance (ACCRA)
    2. 2. <ul><li>Change is a constant in the lives of rural people in Africa </li></ul><ul><ul><li>shocks (war, displacement, rain failures, food price spikes) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>stresses (population pressure, terms of trade, land degradation) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Climate change is another pressure - and interacts/magnifies other shocks and stresses </li></ul><ul><li>Climate change is uncertain at local level </li></ul>Why adaptive capacity matters
    3. 3. ACCRA and why adaptive capacity matters <ul><li>Change is certain – but uncertain! </li></ul><ul><li>People need the ability to maintain wellbeing in the face of change – i.e. adaptive capacity </li></ul><ul><li>No development is sustainable without adaptive capacity </li></ul><ul><li>But... </li></ul><ul><li>How well can communities adapt to change ? </li></ul><ul><li>How much do existing development interventions help (or undermine) adaptive capacity ? </li></ul>
    4. 4. ACCRA and why adaptive capacity matters <ul><li>A ssumptions: </li></ul><ul><li>development interventions are influencing adaptive capacity (AC), whether we realise it or not </li></ul><ul><li>AC cannot be built through ‘adaptive capacity programmes’ – but development interventions can be harnessed to build AC </li></ul><ul><li>Problem : </li></ul><ul><li>Little consensus about what AC is and what it depends on </li></ul>
    5. 5. The local AC framework <ul><li>Assets </li></ul><ul><li>Institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Decision-making </li></ul>
    6. 6. The Asset Base Availability and interplay of appropriate key assets that allow the system to respond to evolving circumstances in a changing environment
    7. 7. Institutions and Entitlements Institutions and Entitlements An appropriate and evolving institutional environment ensuring access to key assets
    8. 8. Knowledge and Information Collecting, analysing and disseminating information so it can be used in support of sustainability
    9. 9. Innovation Innovation An enabling environment to foster and make use of innovation
    10. 10. Flexible Forward-looking Decision Making and Governance governance structures which can anticipate and respond to a changing environment
    11. 11. Insights from the Field <ul><ul><li>People do adapt and innovation exists, but </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not to climate change directly or in isolation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>reactive </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>short-term, immediate needs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>So... high risk of maladaptation </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. <ul><ul><li>What’s going on with development interventions? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Technology packages </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Direct provision of assets </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increased income and livelihood diversification </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Group creation and capacity building </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A missing link: assets – AC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Helping people find, adapt and use assets </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A strong focus on assets – but much less on what makes assets ‘come alive’ </li></ul></ul>Insights from the Field
    13. 13. <ul><ul><li>Institutional dimension sometimes undermining sustainability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Elite capture (e.g. irrigation and women ) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>New institutions created without being socially grounded (e.g. project committees and savings groups, quotas) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No institutions created to support what was introduced (e.g. communal pasture enclosures ) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DIs not informed by analysis of institutions and power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutions sometimes undermining innovation and its spread </li></ul></ul>Insights from the Field
    14. 14. Insights from the Field <ul><li>A missing link: innovation ! </li></ul><ul><li>We’re not identifying the blockages to innovation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>confidence, information, finance, risk tolerance, community acceptance, perceptions of ‘failure’, paradigms of ‘authority knows’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Information treated as a technical package </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assumption: correct and appropriate (e.g. yields/ha) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But if we saw information as part of AC... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasis on range of info </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasis on sources of info </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasis on use of info – communication and capacity to interpret (e.g. seasonal forecasts & uncertainty) </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Insights from the Field <ul><li>Existing planning and programming is short-term – often fed by ‘shopping list’ participation </li></ul><ul><li>Longer term climate & economic context not being considered in many progs ( e.g. irrigation in arid lands) </li></ul><ul><li>But, misinterpretation of information leads to poor planning and maladaptation </li></ul><ul><li>How to plan for uncertainty? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Adaptive capacity! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flexibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Local agency </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. We’re missing out on the huge potential contribution that development interventions could bring to AC DIs need to refocus on AGENCY – people’s ability to make their own decisions and achieve their own plans (at household, community, local... level) <ul><li>WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR DEVELOPMENT PRACTICE? </li></ul>
    17. 17. Better decision-making (‘governance’ ) is not only about Governments – also NGOs, communities, private sector actors, households, etc. <ul><li>WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR </li></ul><ul><li>DEVELOPMENT PRACTICE? </li></ul><ul><li>Need to change the skill-set in development planning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>institutional (power, culture, sociology, etc.) analysis, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>scenario planning, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>understanding uncertainty, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>how to support agency, not give messages </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. The Big Five Longer-term future and uncertainty. Innovation , not introducing specific changes. Institutions – social, cultural, political, economic Power . (There are reasons why status quo exists) Knowledge – not just information ACCRA research showed how these are interlinked , cannot be thought about separately <ul><li>WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR </li></ul><ul><li>DEVELOPMENT PRACTICE? </li></ul>
    19. 19. But the problem is... None of this is new . Climate change re-underlines their importance and urgency. But what has stopped us from taking it on board? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR DEVELOPMENT PRACTICE?

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