Accessibility links

The urgent need to increase adaptative capacities: evidence from Kenyan drylands

This policy brief focuses on the development implications of findings from a three year research project to understand how conflict affects different people’s ability to adapt to climate constraints. Fieldwork for the study was carried out in two dryland areas of Kenya, Kitui and Turkana.

The research found that people’s adaptive capacity to climate stress in the region is deteriorating. Conflict, primarily livestock raiding, has had a fundamental impact on this ability to adapt because it creates absolute destitute groups without a regular source of livelihood. Vulnerability is exacerbated by the poor provision of security and basic infrastructure by the State among marginalised groups and in certain areas.

These findings imply that the strengthening of adaptation can be assisted by broad development measures to support livelihoods such as social protection, natural resource management and improving public services. Adaptation, the authors suggest, also adds a new dimension to development work and even suggests that development activities should be changed, because of the role of climate-related stressors. In particular targeting the causes of vulnerability and placing consideration of vulnerability at the heart of development planning is crucial. In conflict areas specifically conflict reduction and peace-building efforts can be turned into a way of promoting adaptation. Strengthening civil society and improving governance can all contribute to adaptation.

Finally the role of national and international bodies is explored in terms of what outside support can be given to improving local adaptive capacity and promoting appropriate policy making.