Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Climate change adaptation in Asia: Livelihoods and poverty

The full paper can be downloaded from here: http://pub.iges.or.jp/modules/envirolib/view.php?docid=5099

Climate change will have significant impact on rural livelihoods and poverty undermining the developmental gains made by countries in Asia, as is evident from the literature reviewed. The review suggests that these impacts will vary widely from region to region and communities within a region and country depending on the existing vulnerability and preparedness. While several evidences could be found for livelihood impacts of climatic variability, the same is not true in case of identifying and differentiating impacts of climate change from variability. There is a clear dearth of literature in areas of projected livelihood impacts and poverty implications at regional, national and sub-national scales. The literature is even scantier when it comes to assessing projected impacts for specific sub-sections of society such as rural land less labourers and those secondary livelihoods dependent on agriculture sector. Several adaptation practices have been suggested in the published literature largely aiming at stabilizing livelihoods with largely qualitative attribution for adaptation effectiveness in terms of livelihoods and poverty reduction. Approaches such as community based adaptation, livelihood and economic diversification, providing access rights to natural resources and migration has gained prominence. There is a clear dearth of literature employing tools for assessing quantitative livelihood and poverty reduction benefits of adaptation practices on the ground.

Asia is predominantly an agrarian society as is evident from 58% of its total population living in rural areas out of which 81.8% are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods (FAOSTAT, 2011). In addition, agriculture employs 24.7% of total population in these countries and contributes to 15.3% of total value added GDP (FAOSTAT, 2011; World Bank, 2011a). Asia also has high levels of rural poverty compared to the urban poverty, with relatively higher poverty incidence in the 8 least developing countries in the region (FAOSTAT, 2011). Though the Asia has emerged as an economic power during recent decades, there is still a considerable gap in progress in developmental indicators when compared to rest of the world (World Bank, 2011b). In terms of developmental indicators, Southeast Asia is the third poorest region in the world after Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, and ranks poorly in terms of labor productivity, access to food, maternal health, and forestation (United Nations, 2009). Consequently, as large proportion of rural population dependant on agriculture, agriculture has been identified as a key driver of economic growth in the region (World Bank, 2007).

There is very sparse published literature on past and projected future impacts of climate change on livelihoods and poverty. In general, the available literature suggest that unmitigated climate change impacts in the future could result in significant impact on the regions prospects for sustained development in terms of income generation, food security and poverty reduction (ADB, 2009). Climate change will not have uniform impact on a population within a country but rather depends on location, socio-economic conditions and level of preparedness (Begam et al, 2011). A review study undertaken by the Asian Development Bank has indicated significant economic costs due to climate change impacts mostly on agrarian and related sectors in the East Asia. The negative impacts are pronounced after 2050 due to severe negative impacts on rice production, the principle and staple food crop grown in this region. These negative impacts on agriculture productivity would have significant impact on the aggregated household welfare, livelihoods and poverty in the region (Zhai and Zhuang, 2009).

Available literature suggests the need for identifying and promoting technologies and policy options that will provide both mitigation potential as well as sustained income generation potential in a changed climate (Bhandari et al., 2007; Rosenzweig and Tubiello, 2007; Paul et al., 2009;). Interesting examples seem to emerge on how some practices provide completely unexpected livelihood benefits which otherwise may not be captured in a standard evaluation frameworks, as in the case of introduction of traditional flood mitigation measures in China could positively impact the local livelihoods leading to both reduction of physical and economic vulnerabilities of communities (Xu et al., 2009). Significant amount of literature has stressed for the greater role of local communities in decision making (Alauddin and Quiggin, 2008) and in prioritization and adoption of adaptation options (Prabhakar et al., 2010; Prabhakar and Srinivasan, 2011). 

Defining adequate community property rights, including solving the issues such as land tenure, reducing income disparity, exploring market based and diversified off-farm livelihood options, moving from production based approaches to productivity and efficiency decision making based approaches, and promoting integrated decision making approaches were suggested (Merry et al., 2005; Brouwer et al., 2007; Paul et al., 2009; Niino, 2011; Stucki and Smith, 2011). There is considerable stress in the literature on low cost options and the need for scaling up of the same, considering the vast majority of population living below poverty line in some of the least developed countries such as Bangladesh (Iwasaki et al., 2009; Rawlani and Sovacool, 2011). Greater understanding is required on linkages between local livelihoods, ecosystem functions, and land resources for creating positive impact on local livelihoods and poverty reduction in areas with greater dependency on natural resources (Paul et al., 2009). Keeping in view the interconnected nature of the problems across geographical , social and political scales, an emphasis on increased regional collaboration in scientific research and policy making was suggested for reducing climate change impacts on water, biodiversity and livelihoods in Himalayan region (Xu et al., 2009).

    ADB, 2009: The Economics of Climate Change in Southeast Asia: A Regional Review. Asian Development Bank, Manila, Philippines.
    Alauddin, M. and J. Quiggin, 2008: Agricultural intensification, irrigation and the environment in South Asia: Issues and policy options. Ecological Economics, 6 5: 1 1 1 – 1 2 4.
    Begam, R.A., C. Siwar, R.D.Z.R.Z. Abidin, and J.J. Pereira, 2011. Vulnerability to climate change and hardcore poverty in Malaysia. Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 4(2): 112-117.
    Bhandari, P.M., S. Bhadwal and U. Kelkar, 2007:  Examining adaptation and mitigation opportunities in  the context of the integrated watershed management programme of the Government of India. Mitigation Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 12:919–933.
    Brouwer, R., S. Akter, L. Brander, and E. Haue, 2007: Socioeconomic Vulnerability and Adaptation to Environmental Risk: A Case Study of Climate Change and Flooding in Bangladesh. Risk Analysis, Vol. 27 (2): 313-326.
    Iwasaki, S., B. H. N. Razafindrabe, and R. Shaw, 2009: Fishery livelihoods and adaptation to climate change: a case study of Chilika lagoon, India. Mitigation Adaptation Strategies for Global Change14 (4): 339-355.
    Merrey, D. J., P. Drechsel, F. W. T. Penning de Vries and H. Sally, 2005: Integrating “livelihoods” into integrated water resources management: taking the integration paradigm to its logical next step for developing countries. Regional Environmental Change, 5(4) 197-204.
    Nino, Y., 2011: Options on land management and land use for coping with climate change in South Asia. In: Climate Change and Food Security In South Asia, R. Lal, M. V.K. Sivakumar, S.M.A. Faiz, A.H.M.M. Rahman and K. R. Islam, Eds., Springer, New York, 277-294.
    Prabhakar, S.V.R.K. and A. Srinivasan, 2011: Metrics for mainstreaming adaptation in agriculture sector. In: Climate Change and Food Security In South Asia, R. Lal, M. V.K. Sivakumar, S.M.A. Faiz, A.H.M.M. Rahman and K. R. Islam, Eds., Springer, New York, 551-568.
    Prabhakar, S.V.R.K., T. Kobashi, and A. Srinivasan, 2010: Monitoring progress of adaptation to climate change: The use of adaptation metrics.  Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management, 2 (4). 8.
    Rawlani, A. K. and B.K. Sovacool, 2011: Building responsiveness to climate change through community based adaptation in Bangladesh. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, DOI: 10.1007/s11027-011-9298-6.
    Rosenzweig, C. and F. N. Tubiello, 2007: Adaptation and mitigation strategies in agriculture: an analysis of potential synergies. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 12 (5): 855-873.
    Stucki, V. and M. Smith, 2011: Integrated approaches to natural resources management in practice: The catalyzing role of national adaptation programmes for action. AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment, 40 (4): 351-360.
    United Nations, 2009: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2009. United Nations, New York.
    Xu, J., R.E. Grumbine, A. Shreshta, M. Eriksson, X. Yang, Y. Wang, and A. Wilkers, 2009: The melting Himalayas: Cascading effects of climate change on water, biodiversity, and livelihoods. Conservation Biology, 23 (3): 520-530.
    Xu, X., L. Jiang, L. Li, J. Wang, L. Wang, G. Lei, and J. Pattock, 2009: Freshwater management and climate change adaptation: Experiences from the central Yangte in China. Climate and Development, 1: 241-248.
    Zhai, F. and J. Zhuang, 2009: Agricultural impact of climate change: A general equilibrium analysis with special reference to Southeast Asia. ADBI Working Paper Series, Asian Development Bank Institute, Tokyo, Japan.

No comments:

Post a Comment