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Climate change adaptation and development: the politics of making Ethiopia’s social protection programme adaptive

Authors: Janna Tenzing*, London School of Economics
Topics: Development, Hazards and Vulnerability, Africa
Keywords: climate change adaptation, development, social protection, ethiopia
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Enhancing social protection through large scale programmes such as Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) has become a major poverty reduction measure among development practitioners and policymakers in sub-Saharan Africa. Originally conceived as a mechanism to reduce chronic food insecurity and a heavy reliance on humanitarian aid following catastrophic droughts, the PSNP more recently has been hailed as ‘Africa’s largest climate resilient programme’ as it works towards integrating climate change considerations into its design. But to what extent does adopting climate change adaptation goals help or hinder the PNSP’s core objectives? Drawing on qualitative field research in Ethiopia, this study examines the interests of a wide range of climate change and social protection actors from government, civil society, donor communities and academia in supporting or challenging this agenda, and questions who stands to gain or lose from a ‘climate-smart’ PSNP. This research is situated within broader debates on whether international climate finance for adaptation should be ‘additional’ to Official Development Assistance commitments, and the need to look beyond technocratic and managerial approaches to adaptation and vulnerability reduction.

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