Limits and barriers of governmental responses for resilience and adaptation

Authors: Julio Postigo*, National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Latin America
Keywords: adaptive governance, Peru, climate change, government, institutions
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 6:20 PM
Room: Bourbon Room, Astor, Mezzanine
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Studies of resilience chiefly focus on the interactions between social-ecological systems (SES) and change. There is, however, less academic attention to actions beyond this interaction that may in fact be relevant to resilience. For example, government agencies at multiple levels are mostly outside the SES affected by change, but their programs may have tremendous impact on the SES-change couple. To examine the government response to the ENSO (2014-2015) and the coffee rust pest (2012-2015) in Peru, we conducted participant observations and 38 interviews with government officials and leaders of farmers’ organizations. We employ a barriers to adaptation framework at three stages: understanding the problem, planning options, management responses. We found that shared barriers to responding to both disturbances are: limited data and inconsistent instruments to gather it; disagreements about the goals of the response; non-participatory approaches; insufficient infrastructure; normative constraints. Interestingly, an obstacle to addressing the coffee rust was that farmers were not used to technical assistance. Shared limitations are the disconnection between national and sub-national authorities; the tensions between control of corruption and adaptive budget management; competition between authorities’ day to day activities and responding to the emergencies. Additionally, there was a clear leadership of MINAGRI in the response to ENSO, whereas the leadership was unclear for the case of coffee rust. ENSO mustered a multi-sector approach whereas coffee rust faced a mono-sector response. Further, the post-disturbance actions are highly contested and have lacked an evaluation design. Finally, we provide recommendations for adaptive governance to improve SES resilience.

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