Thursday, August 5, 2010 - 9:55 AM

SYMP 18-6: CANCELLED - Local institutions and adaptation to climate change: Improving the capacity of the poor to deal with climate impacts

Arun Agrawal, University of Michigan

Background/Question/Methods Using data from 30 villages in the Indian and Nepal Himalaya, this paper focuses on the role of local institutions in adaptation to climate change by poor rural residents. Starting from the position that adaptation to climate change is inevitably local, the paper identifies three critical ways in which institutions affect vulnerability and adaptation: a) they structure impacts and vulnerability, b) they mediate between individual and collective responses to climate impacts and thereby shape outcomes of adaptation, and c) they act as the means of delivery of external resources to facilitate adaptation, and thus govern access to such resources. The paper examines different forms of mobility, storage, diversification, communal pooling, and market exchanges in rural settings as the basic mechanisms through which households address riskiness of livelihoods.

Results/Conclusions Based on the analysis of how institutions support these adaptation strategies, the paper arrives at four conclusions regarding how institutional support to the poor can be increased: development of institutional partnerships (among organizations and with households) in facilitating adaptation; enhancement of local institutional capacities;aAnalysis of institutional articulation and access patterns before the launching of adaptation interventions; and improvement of  institutional coordination across scales.