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The promises and pitfalls of ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change as a vehicle for social empowerment

Woroniecki, Stephen LU ; Wamsler, Christine LU and Boyd, Emily LU (2019) In Ecology and Society 24(2).
Abstract
Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) to climate change is an approach claimed to deliver social benefits relevant to marginalized groups. Based on a structured literature review, we interrogate such claims, asking whether such approaches may (or may not) contribute to social change and, more specifically, empowerment. We present a review of the predominant meaning and interlinkages of the EbA and empowerment concepts, which shows that EbA pays insufficient attention to issues of empowerment and agency. On this basis, we discuss how an empowerment lens could be (better) integrated into the conceptualization of EbA, suggesting key dimensions through which this could be supported. We show that the emphasis on empowerment theory and the merits... (More)
Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) to climate change is an approach claimed to deliver social benefits relevant to marginalized groups. Based on a structured literature review, we interrogate such claims, asking whether such approaches may (or may not) contribute to social change and, more specifically, empowerment. We present a review of the predominant meaning and interlinkages of the EbA and empowerment concepts, which shows that EbA pays insufficient attention to issues of empowerment and agency. On this basis, we discuss how an empowerment lens could be (better) integrated into the conceptualization of EbA, suggesting key dimensions through which this could be supported. We show that the emphasis on empowerment theory and the merits that it brings to the EbA literature are helpful, leading to a number of important questions to adaptation projects on the ground. Incorporating an empowerment lens leads to an increased consideration of issues of power more broadly, especially the way marginalized groups’ agency, access, and aspirations are conditioned by social structures that may prevent strategic adaptation choices. We conclude that EbA will facilitate empowerment better by explicitly considering how social benefits can emerge from the interplay between particular types of actions, marginalized people’s adaptive strategies, and their relational context. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
agency, climate change, ecosystem-based adaptation, empowerment, nature-based solutions
in
Ecology and Society
volume
24
issue
2
publisher
The Resilience Alliance
external identifiers
  • scopus:85065785575
ISSN
1708-3087
DOI
10.5751/ES-10854-240204
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
5d3c4dd0-de31-4a8b-8f1a-b55369d081ab
alternative location
https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol24/iss2/art4/
date added to LUP
2019-06-24 21:18:19
date last changed
2019-08-18 05:00:50
@article{5d3c4dd0-de31-4a8b-8f1a-b55369d081ab,
  abstract     = {Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) to climate change is an approach claimed to deliver social benefits relevant to marginalized groups. Based on a structured literature review, we interrogate such claims, asking whether such approaches may (or may not) contribute to social change and, more specifically, empowerment. We present a review of the predominant meaning and interlinkages of the EbA and empowerment concepts, which shows that EbA pays insufficient attention to issues of empowerment and agency. On this basis, we discuss how an empowerment lens could be (better) integrated into the conceptualization of EbA, suggesting key dimensions through which this could be supported. We show that the emphasis on empowerment theory and the merits that it brings to the EbA literature are helpful, leading to a number of important questions to adaptation projects on the ground. Incorporating an empowerment lens leads to an increased consideration of issues of power more broadly, especially the way marginalized groups’ agency, access, and aspirations are conditioned by social structures that may prevent strategic adaptation choices. We conclude that EbA will facilitate empowerment better by explicitly considering how social benefits can emerge from the interplay between particular types of actions, marginalized people’s adaptive strategies, and their relational context.},
  articleno    = {4},
  author       = {Woroniecki, Stephen and Wamsler, Christine and Boyd, Emily},
  issn         = {1708-3087},
  keyword      = {agency,climate change,ecosystem-based adaptation,empowerment,nature-based solutions},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {06},
  number       = {2},
  publisher    = {The Resilience Alliance},
  series       = {Ecology and Society},
  title        = {The promises and pitfalls of ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change as a vehicle for social empowerment},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-10854-240204},
  volume       = {24},
  year         = {2019},
}