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Responding to a changing climate: exploring how disaster risk reduction, social protection and livelihoods approaches promote features of adaptive capacity

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L. Jones
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How can humanitarian and development approaches help enhance communities’ capacity to adapt to a changing climate? This paper explores how interventions associated with disaster risk reduction (DRR), social protection (SP) and livelihoods (LH) approaches can play an important role in terms of climate adaptive capacity. In this context, as no single intervention addresses all of the features of adaptive capacity, the authors suggest a combination of the various approaches to better address the key features of adaptive capacity to cope with climate change and variability.The paper:

reviews concepts of risk, vulnerability and resilience
describes adaptive capacity and outlines the spectrum of activities employed under climate change adaptation (CCA) interventions
reviews the objectives, concepts and definitions of DRR, SP and LH approaches, what these mean in terms of programming and their links with CCA
how these different approaches can contribute to adaptive capacity.

The document highlights that quantifiable evidence and examples of the impacts of interventions on reducing vulnerability and increasing adaptive capacity are very limited, but they can complement each other to promote adaptive capacity.The authors offer the following conclusions:

better harmonisation of the distinctive areas of work, coupled with greater collaboration of the objectives of SP approaches, carries the potential to effectively promote adaptive capacity across scales
it is however, not recommended that all DDR, SP and LH approaches and interventions automatically focus purely on climate change adaptation
it is crucial to mainstream the adaptation concerns within specific programme operations, aiming towards enhancing the various identified features of adaptive capacity
integrating climate-related information into the planning of projects under the above approaches may help to ensure the long-term sustainability of and applicability of the needed interventions
in order to guide such approaches in the promotion of adaptation, it is important to understand how each intervention contributes to the various features of adaptive capacity.