Linking social protection and resilience to climate change: A case study of the conditional cash transfer programme Oportunidades in rural Yucatan, Mexico
Solórzano Sánchez, Ana Evanisi
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This thesis examines the linkages between social protection and resilience to climate change among poor rural households. To date there is a very limited understanding of the potential role of social protection programmes in contributing to an increase in resilience of the rural poor with respect to climate change. An improved understanding of these links can help to build the knowledge base that is needed to help the poorest members of the society to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This gap in understanding is addressed in this thesis through a case study of the conditional cash transfer programme Oportunidades in two rural communities in Yucatan, Mexico, a region highly exposed to hurricanes and droughts. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected by means of household surveys, life-history interviews, key informant interviews, group discussions and participant observation. A social protection-resilience analytical framework was developed in order to guide the data collection and analysis. This framework is informed by a dynamic understanding of resilience, which integrates two resilience dimensions: the absorptive capacity (the ability to resist and recover from a shock) and the adaptive capacity (the ability to adapt to the effects of a shock). This framework is based on the proposition that social protection reduces vulnerability and, by doing so, this can also help to increase poor households resilience to climate change. The thesis found that the main role of Oportunidades is to provide a regular and predictable safety net that protects households from short-term risk, thus increasing households’ absorptive capacity. The impact on the adaptive capacity of households is indirect and differentiated according to their respective poverty profiles. Furthermore, the research shows that certain features of the theory of change of Oportunidades, and its design, reduce the potential impact of the programme, creating trade-offs between the different resilience dimensions. This is the case because resilience to climate change and social protection literatures are derived from distinctive approaches, which frame vulnerability differently. The thesis concludes by making a case for social protection to be complemented by other interventions in a systemic approach that should explicitly consider climate change, in order to increase resilience and achieve sustainable poverty reduction.
CitationSolórzano Sánchez, Ana Evanisi (2015) Linking social protection and resilience to climate change: a case study of the conditional cash transfer programme Oportunidades in rural Yucatan, Mexico. Doctoral thesis, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.
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