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Adaptive capacity and livelihood resilience: adaptive strategies for responding to floods and droughts in South Asia

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M. Moench
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This ‘Adaptive Strategies Project’ is the result of collaboration between local organisations, regional NGOs, international organisations and academic institutions; it attempts to understand and define factors enabling communities to adapt to floods, droughts and climatic variability.Studies have indicated that vulnerability and adaptive capacity is influenced by eight major factors: the nature of livelihood systems within a region and the ability to diversify the ability of people to migrate to obtain access to non-agricultural sources of income the ability of information, services and resources to flow into and out of an affected region the social infrastructure that households have access to, such as banks, NGOs and social networks existing patterns of vulnerability the nature of physical infrastructure including the degree to which it is itself vulnerable, and the extent to which it promotes maintenance of livelihoods the ability of households to obtain secure sources of water natural resource conditions, particularly the degree to which water surface systems have been disrupted In addition to the influencing factors found through case studies, the authors highlight five further points of interest: the factors governing the flow of resources, services and people across local borders during flood or drought is a critical area for policy research at a national and global level there is little information available, at present, to actors and decision-makers on changing dimensions of vulnerability it is essential to improve our understanding of humanitarian implications of floods, droughts and climate variability issues related to urbanisation and urban quality of life are becoming more important through the relationship with migration the potential for expanding watershed programmes, and shifting their focus to include factors relating to adaptation should be explored