Climate resilience and social assistance in fragile and conflict-affected contexts – Global

Posted on February 21, 2022

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

In recent years, social assistance, such as cash transfers and voucher programs, has been seen as a way to reduce the impacts of climate-related shocks and stressors and increase the resilience of households and beneficiary communities. It was also seen as a promising adaptation finance mechanism for addressing short-term shocks as well as longer-term adaptation to climate change. Yet, although FCAS are home to some of the world’s most vulnerable populations, until now these environments have received little attention.

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

We answer this through three sub-questions. First, what are the main conceptual discussions on climate resilience and social assistance, and what is the scope of FCAS work? This issue is addressed in Section 2.1, based on an extensive review of the literature. 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 thoughts on what BASIC Research can contribute in Section 3.

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