Climate change adaptation and mitigation programmes: social development approaches in programme design and implementation

Mainstreaming social development approaches will add value to climate adaptation and mitigation programme design and implementation (Morchain & Kelsey, 2016; Mearns & Norton, 2010; FAO, 2012). Using social analysis during design, programme support and evaluation broadens and deepens understanding of the contextual changes in the socio-economic environment, including livelihoods and overall development over time (FAO, 2011). People-centred, inclusive approaches built on inter-disciplinary and holistic perspectives generate more relevant, effective and sustainable programmes (FAO, 2011). They are rooted in the realities of the existing situation, capturing dynamics of poverty, socioeconomic and environmental conditions and hazards, and processes shaping social diversity and gender relations (FAO, 2011). A social development approach focuses on community empowerment and rights, critical aspects in addressing the impacts of climate change on development (Mearns & Norton, 2010). Gender-sensitive, participatory approaches such as territorial development and landscape management can be included in adaptation interventions (FAO, 2013a; World Bank, FAO & IFAD, 2015).

This section provides tools and examples for integrating social development, and specifically social analysis, in climate change adaptation and mitigation programmes. It comprises three main sections:

  • social analysis during design;
  • integration of social dimensions and participatory approaches in climate change adaptation and mitigation interventions; and
  • participatory M&E approaches for climate change adaptation and mitigation programmes.

Social analysis during design

Conducting a social analysis at the start of programme design is critical to identifying and characterising the effects and impacts of climate change and climate variability in a given area. This analysis should be cast with a wide net, covering all relevant sectors, populations and livelihoods. For example, these might include agriculture (i.e. farming, forestry, fisheries), food security and welfare indicators. Vulnerability and resilience are influenced by multiple factors (e.g. biophysical, social, economic, political, institutional and technological structures and processes), so social-ecological systems should be assessed using a multi-dimensional approach. This provides a holistic view in which climate projections are only one part of the assessment of threats to social and environmental resources (FAO, 2013b; FAO, 2011).

Analyses should identify the most vulnerable locations and contexts in need of adaptation and mitigation interventions, particularly causes of vulnerability and potential benefits of programme interventions on the most vulnerable (FAO, 2013b; 2011). Bottom-up, holistic, context-driven approaches are recommended, including community-based participatory methods that take into account both climatic and non-climatic local features. Community participation in assessments is vital – not only for gathering information by drawing on diverse views, but also for building community ownership of the process to increase the likelihood of successful implementation and sustainability of interventions. Participatory methodologies have been shown to be critical for understanding the dynamics of vulnerability to climate change and identifying sources of resilience (Moser et al., 2010). Assessments based on social analysis can also help identify baseline indicators that incorporate socioeconomic, livelihood and equity factors.

FAO. (2011). Social analysis for agriculture and rural investment projects. Rome: FAO.
This series of three guides focuses on applying social analysis (SA) in the design, support and evaluation of agricultural and rural investment programmes, including climate change adaptation. The guides’ main messages are that use of SA will generate more relevant, inclusive, and sustainable programmes because it facilitates greater understanding of the socio-economic environment, livelihoods and people’s development challenges and priorities. Social analysis is seen as essential for assessing the complexities of social diversity, gender and dimensions of poverty. This type of analysis prioritises social attitudes and perceptions, processes, behaviours and experiences, and aims to reflect beneficiary priorities in programme design, which also builds local ownership. An inter-disciplinary and holistic approach using a sustainable livelihoods framework is recommended. The series includes a guide for managers, practitioners, and a practical field guide with an extensive set of tools.

Moser, C., Norton, A., Stein, A., and & Georgieva, S. (2010). Pro-poor Aadaptation to climate change in urban centres: Case studies of vulnerability and resilience in Kenya and Nicaragua (Social Development Department Report No. 54947-GLB). Washington, DC: World Bank.
What are poor households, small businesses and communities doing to cope with climate change impacts? This report presents a methodology for identifying and analysing vulnerability to extreme weather events, and sources of resilience. This has three components: a participatory climate change adaptation appraisal methodology (PCCAA); an urban level rapid risk and institutional appraisal (RRIA); and a consultation and validation process with stakeholders from government, civil society and local communities.

Chindarkar, N. (2012). Gender and climate change-induced migration: proposing a framework for analysis. Environmental Research Letters, 7.
This paper proposes frameworks to analyse the gender dimensions of climate change-induced migration. The experiences, needs and priorities of climate migrants will vary by gender, and these differences need to be considered if policies are to be inclusive. Among the vulnerable groups, women are likely to be disproportionately affected by climate change because on average women tend to be poorer, less educated, less healthy and have limited direct access to or ownership of natural resources. Both the process of climate change-induced migration (actual movement) and its outcomes (rural–rural or rural–urban migration, out-migration mainly of men) are also likely to be highly gendered.

Morchain, D., & Kelsey, F. (2016). Finding ways together to build resilience: the vulnerability and risk assessment methodology. Oxford: Oxfam GB.
Oxfam’s Vulnerability and Risk Assessment (VRA) tool adopts a holistic, landscape-wide participatory approach to assessing vulnerability. The tool helps stakeholders from various levels to jointly identify and analyse root causes of vulnerability for distinct social groups. Based on this assessment, users are led through a process to design programmes and risk reduction initiatives ensuring that they are equitable, gender-sensitive and effective. The VRA design process emphasises historical and evolving power dynamics, through convening of a ‘Knowledge Group’ to inspire and drive the analysis. Vulnerable people, especially women, are rarely able to access support they require to manage risks; this is central to VRA, which systematically includes women in the assessment process.

World Bank. (2012). Poverty and social impact analysis for climate change: Development policy and operations. Washington, DC: World Bank.
This guidance note draws on World Bank experience to address the why, who, what and how of conducting poverty and social impact analysis (PSIA) in the context of climate change development policy and operations. PSIA provides an understanding of vulnerability, marginalisation, accountability and voice. The report is based on the premise that integrating a strong social perspective into climate change policies and strategies contributes to effective, pro-poor actions. PSIA is a systematic approach to analysing the distributional impact of policy reforms and programmes on the welfare of different stakeholder groups (rural, urban, gender etc.), with particular focus on the poor and vulnerable. Highlighting social risks and opportunities enables more accurate assessment of the true costs of mitigating and adapting to climate change, and helps target support effectively. Challenges include the need to draw from new tools and techniques when measuring distributional impacts, as availability, reliability and quality of climate change data varies across sectors and countries.

CARE International. (2010). Toolkit for integrating climate change adaptation into development projects (Digital Toolkit – Version 1.0 – July). London: CARE International.
This toolkit provides guidance for integrating climate change adaptation into the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development projects. It is structured in a step-by step approach – aiming to ensure climate-resilient projects have sustainable impacts. The toolkit includes checklists to ensure development activities do not increase people’s vulnerability to climate change, recommended tools for all stages of the project cycle, and practical examples from CARE projects worldwide, including water resource management and agriculture projects. It includes guidance on analysing vulnerability among intended beneficiaries. Understanding who is vulnerable and why requires a context-specific analysis of biophysical, socio-economic and political dimensions of vulnerability.

Dubois, K. M, Chen, Z., Kanamaru, H., & Seeburg-Elverfeldt, C. (2012). Incorporating climate change considerations into agricultural investment design: A guidance document. Rome: FAO.
This guide covers incorporating climate change into the design as well as all stages of the programme cycle of agricultural investment programmes (defined as farming, fisheries, livestock and forestry) and stand-alone climate change programmes. A key recommendation is to conduct a comprehensive social analysis during design. Recommendations also include adopting demand-driven, location-specific approaches, and participatory methods that integrate gender-specific vulnerabilities, needs and capabilities as well as priorities of indigenous people and vulnerable communities. To implement a social analysis approach, the series ‘Social analysis for agriculture and rural investment projects’ (FAO, 2011) is recommended (see above).

Browne, E. (2014). Gender in political economy analysis (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report). Birmingham: GSDRC, University of Birmingham.
Gender analysis focuses on power relations between men and women and adds to political economy analysis (PEA) a more accurate understanding of interests, needs, and resource and labour allocation. This report covers gender-focused questions common in PEA tools around issues of roles, power and representation. It looks in particular at: Sida’s power analysis, Strategic Governance and Corruption Analysis, DFID’s Drivers of Change approach, and Problem-Driven Governance and Political Economy Analysis.

Integration of social dimensions and participatory approaches

FAO E-learning tool – Planning for Community-based Adaptation to Climate Change
This interactive e-learning course provides practical resources for training and undertaking assessments and planning for community-based adaptation to climate change, with particular focus on the rural agricultural sector. It covers key concepts, participatory tools, analytical steps, and approaches used in the field. Its themes include local context, with emphasis on rural livelihoods among different socio-economic groups, food security, and incorporating local knowledge. The sustainable livelihood framework is a key analytical approach used to assess vulnerability and people’s coping strategies. The course covers steps to design, implement and monitor community-based adaptation action plans.

World Bank. (2010). Ecosystem-based adaptation: Reducing vulnerability. In Convenient solutions to an inconvenient truth. Ecosystem-based approaches to climate change (chapter 3). Washington, DC: World Bank.
How can ecosystem-based adaptation help societies to cope with climate change challenges? This paper contends that ecological stresses such as land degradation and reduced biodiversity increase the vulnerability of certain populations to the impact of climate change. Societies need to invest in preserving and restoring local ecosystems to act as natural barriers against extreme weather events and climate conditions. Ecosystem-based approaches are low-cost, long-proven, and low-technology solutions to many anticipated climate change impacts. They can complement existing adaptation efforts, and better engage local communities in protecting their environments.

FAO. (2012). Improving Gender Equality in Territorial Issues (IGETI): Integrated guidelines (Land and Water Division Working Paper 3). Rome: FAO.
This guide is based on the Participatory and Negotiated Territorial Development (PNTD) approach (FAO, 2005). PNTD is a facilitated process of dialogue and negotiation among stakeholders resulting in a socially-legitimate agreement on the development of their territory. It is particularly appropriate during periods of stress, e.g. climate change, conflict, migration. Power relations are critical, and asymmetries of power are addressed in the process ‒ the powerless and most vulnerable are especially supported to engage with equal voice. This guide combines PNTD with the Socio-economic and Gender Analysis approach, which examines gender roles, responsibilities and relations, taking into account economic and social opportunities associated with factors such as age, ethnicity and religion. The IGETI guide outlines steps for implementation, involving: (i) participatory gender-sensitive territorial diagnostics (e.g. context, gender roles, causes and effects of environmental stress); (ii) negotiation, review of gender-sensitive proposals and consensus building; and (iii) attaining agreements and monitoring. Guidance on applying gender-sensitive field tools is included.

FAO. (2013a). Managing landscapes for climate-smart agriculture. In Climate smart agriculture: Sourcebook (module 2). Rome: FAO.
This module describes the landscape approach within areas large enough to produce vital ecosystem services but small enough to be managed by land users. It is a people-centred approach based on consensus around landscape management. The approach is multi-sectoral, engages multiple stakeholders and operates on different scales. The module covers stakeholder negotiations and planning, policy and finance options, and the importance of monitoring. Case studies of landscape approaches are provided ‒ and an accompanying booklet3 gives examples of climate adaptation responses in diverse contexts.

World Bank, FAO, & IFAD. (2015). Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook: Module 18. Gender in climate-smart agriculture. Washington, DC: World Bank.
The module includes guidance and tools for integrating gender in planning, design, implementation, and evaluation of programmes and investments related to climate-smart agriculture (CSA). Understanding that climate change affects men and women differently and that social differences, particularly gender inequality, must be analysed is vital. Women are key players in agriculture, yet they own fewer assets (e.g. land and inputs) and access fewer financial and extension services than men. The module covers: gender-sensitive climate-smart technologies; gender-sensitive landscape approaches; M&E of gender inclusion through the CSA project cycle; household and community-driven development; and the role of institutions in gender-responsive CSA. Innovative CSA activities are also discussed, including ICTs, private sector alliances, and fisheries processing.

Participatory monitoring and evaluation approaches

Measuring the effectiveness of integrated climate-change and social development programmes is inherently complex. It can be difficult to attribute effects to interventions, which may cross multiple sectors and be implemented at different scales (household to national) over several timescales by different stakeholders. Also, interventions may have unintended consequences. Robust participatory analyses to inform programme design can identify baseline indicators across a multi-dimensional spectrum of attributes (e.g. socioeconomic, livelihood, and environmental variations) that reflect vulnerability and resilience changes over time. It is vital that data is disaggregated by gender and beneficiary group to capture changes experienced by different types of stakeholders (Bourse et al., 2014; FAO, 2013b). Social factors such as local perceptions of climate adaptation and social and cultural values should be included in M&E frameworks (Villanueva, 2010). Mixed-methods approaches are useful in capturing a full understanding of what, how and why changes occurred.

Brooks, N., Anderson, S., Ayers, J., Burton, I., & Tellam, I. (2011). Tracking adaptation and measuring development (Climate Change Working Paper 01). London: IIED.
This paper presents a framework for climate change adaptation programming, including potential indicators or indicator categories/types for tracking and evaluating the success of adaptation support and interventions. The framework evaluates the quality and extent of climate risk management processes and the associated development and adaptation outcomes, across all scales from local to global. It models how local development interventions affect national and regional development and adaptation, and how high-level climate risk management interventions affect climate risk management at the national and local levels.

FAO. (2013b). Assessment, monitoring and evaluation. In Climate-smart agriculture sourcebook (module 18). Rome: Italy.
This module focuses on conducting assessments for programme design and monitoring and evaluation frameworks for the adoption of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) and climate change adaptation more generally. Recommended approaches emphasise incorporating contextual, multidimensional, multi-sectoral, gender-sensitive perspectives focused on a broad set of social, livelihood and environmental dimensions. Specific challenges are raised, and guiding principles provided.

Carter, T. R., Parry, M. L., Harasawa, H., & Nishioka, S. (1994). Technical guidelines for assessing climate change impacts and adaptations. London: UCL/Centre for Global Research.
The IPCC provides a study framework to assess the impacts of, and adaptations to, climate change in different geographical areas, economic sectors and countries. A seven-step process is advocated: defining the problem; selection of methods; testing the method; selection of scenarios; assessment of biophysical and socio-economic impacts; assessment of autonomous adjustments; and evaluation of adaptation strategies.

IFAD. (2002). Managing for impact in rural development: A guide for project M & E. Rome: IFAD.
This guide provides extensive advice on how M&E can support project management and engage project stakeholders in understanding, learning from, and improving project progress, and on how to develop participatory M&E systems. It includes step-by-step processes to establish an M&E system of development programmes, with gender and socioeconomic dimensions as cross-cutting issues.,/p>

Villanueva, P. S. (2010). Learning to ADAPT: Monitoring and evaluation approaches in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction – challenges, gaps and ways forward (Strengthening Climate Resilience Discussion Paper No. 9). Brighton: IDS.
The paper explores limitations and challenges of current disaster risk reduction M&E efforts, including in understanding the factors that enable or constrain adaptation and in building an evidence base of progress. It sets out ADAPT (Adaptive, Dynamic, Active, Participatory, Thorough) principles for developing M&E frameworks for adaptation and disaster risk management interventions. These enable flexibility, account for uncertainty and complexity and encourage understanding of links between capacity, action and people’s driving forces towards change. The approach incorporates experience-based learning to capture insights into adaptive capacity and its links to risk and vulnerability reduction. Emphasis is on understanding social, cultural and personal issues, including values, confidence, motivation, risks, perceptions, decision-making, and cultural and behavioural factors that promote or constrain adaptation.

Bours, D, McGinn, C., & Pringle, P. (2014). Design, monitoring, and evaluation in a changing climate: Lessons learned from agriculture and food security programme evaluations in Asia (Evaluation Review 1). Phnom Penh / Oxford: SEA Change COP and UKCIP.
This report distils findings and lessons from evaluations of climate change-related interventions across Asia. M&E examples incorporate qualitative methods and participatory approaches and emphasise capturing differences in populations’ vulnerabilities and resilience. Lessons include:

  • social structures and institutions profoundly shape vulnerability and resilience to climate change;
  • adaptation strategies need to build on nuanced ‘differentiated’ analyses that capture climate change’s varying effects on distinct population groups, such as ethnic minorities and women;
  • vulnerable groups may be vulnerable ‘differently’ from the wider community; and
  • the poorest and most marginalised have less access to resources needed to cope effectively ‒ their needs may be overlooked.

World Bank. (2010). Monitoring and evaluation of adaptation activities (Mainstreaming adaptation to climate change in agriculture and natural resources management projects guidance note 8). Washington, DC: World Bank.
This brief note covers selection of indicators and considerations for logframe development, and best practices for establishing an M&E system. It covers incorporating both social and economic factors. For example, baseline data suggestions include data on well-being, perceptions of hope, social networks, conflict, access to services, migration, and institutions. It recommends participatory approaches, and provides a compendium of resources including toolkits.