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Social protection in a changing climate: critical perspectives on an evolving agenda

Tenzing, Janna Dakini (2022) Social protection in a changing climate: critical perspectives on an evolving agenda. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004494


‘Adaptive social protection’ (ASP) has gained much traction among climate and development practitioners in recent years. Broadly, it describes a policy agenda that seeks to maximise the contribution of social protection interventions (involving, for example, the regular transfer of cash to vulnerable populations) to climate action, particularly in lower income countries. Beyond helping people meet their basic needs and cope with increasing climate shocks and stressors, ASP can also help redress inequality and marginalisation which often are at the root of their vulnerability to climate change. As this thesis argues, however, this core characteristic of social protection is being overlooked as the ASP concept attracts more attention and is translated into practice. In my first paper, I analyse literature championing the integration of social protection and climate change adaptation, and discuss whether the transformative potential of ASP is being considered in these discussions. My second paper traces how the influence of climate discourses on social protection programmes themselves impedes progress towards social transformation, through the lens of Ethiopia’s flagship Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP). Finally, my third paper examines the extent to which the PSNP’s geographical footprint aligns with its new ‘adaptive’ objective, by assessing how district-level coverage is associated with the spatial distribution of drought, flooding and conflict risks within the country. Together, the papers contained in this thesis offer a critical perspective on the evolving ASP agenda using qualitative (thematic and discourse analysis) and quantitative (binary logistical regression analysis) research methods. It concludes that the ASP policy agenda certainly holds promise but falls short of realising its potential as an instrument that advances the international community’s commitment to ‘leave no one behind’.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2022 Janna Dakini Tenzing
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Conway, Declan and Paprocki, Kasia

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