Category Archives: Publications

“Adaptation interventions and their effect on vulnerability in developing countries: Help, hindrance or irrelevance?” New paper with inputs from Kulima

A new paper "Adaptation interventions and their effect on vulnerability in developing countries: Help, hindrance or irrelevance?" has just been published in the journal World Development. The paper, led by Siri Eriksen with an author team of 20, including Katharine Vincent, uses a review of 33 empirical studies, nearly 200 papers, and the insights of the authors to highlight how some interventions inadvertently reinforce, redistribute or create new sources of vulnerability. These maladaptive outcomes result from shallow understanding of the vulnerability context; inequitable stakeholder participation in both design and implementation; a retrofitting of adaptation into existing development agendas; and a lack of critical engagement with how ‘adaptation success’ is defined. Overcoming these shortcomings requires shifting the terms of engagement between adaptation practitioners and the local populations participating in adaptation interventions; expanding the understanding of ‘local’ vulnerability to encompass global contexts and drivers of vulnerability; and promoting learning processes within organisations and with marginalised populations. It concludes by asking whether scholarship and practice need to take a post-adaptation turn akin to post-development, by seeking a pluralism of ideas about adaptation while critically interrogating how these ideas form part of the politics of adaptation and potentially the processes (re)producing vulnerability.

“Adaptation pathways: A review of approaches and a learning framework” New paper in Environmental Science and Policy, with inputs from Kulima

A new paper "Adaptation pathways: A review of approaches and a learning framework" has just been published in the journal Environmental Science and Policy. The paper, led by Saskia Werners with Russell Wise, James Butler, Edmond Totin and Katharine Vincent, is an output of the recently-finished Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia. Based on a review of the literature, the paper finds three clusters of approaches to adaptation pathways, namely (a) performance-threshold oriented, (b) multi-stakeholder oriented, and (c) transformation oriented, each of which broadly corresponds to three desired outcomes of pathways development, namely (i) meeting short and long-term adaptation needs, (ii) promoting collaborative learning, adaptive planning and adaptive capacity, (iii) accounting for complexity and long-term change, including a potential need for transformation. Based on the review, a learning framework then presents a number of propositions to guide systematic reflection about why and how adaptation pathways are developed. 

“Reflections on a key component of co-producing climate services: Defining climate metrics from user needs” New paper from the UMFULA project, led by Kulima

An output of the Future Climate For Africa UMFULA project has just been published in Climate Services journal. "Reflections on a key component of co-producing climate services: Defining climate metrics from user needs" was led by Katharine Vincent, with Emma Archer, Rebecka Henriksson, Joanna Pardoe and Neha Mittal. It is a methodological piece that unpacks the iterative process applied within UMFULA to determine what climate information would be of use to our partners in the water and agriculture sectors to better plan for the impacts of climate change over a 5-40 year period. It discusses how the choice and application of four existing social science methods (interview-informed role play workshop, open-ended interviews, prioritised surveys and enhanced surveys) arose out of, and was in turn embedded within, a different epistemological approach characteristic of co-production, and reflect on the evolution of our understanding of co-production as our assumptions were challenged, from the expectation that we would be able to “obtain” metrics from users, to a dynamic mutual definition based on better understanding of the decision-making contexts.

Future Climate For Africa and CDKN release guide on how to contribute climate change information to Wikipedia, with inputs from Kulima

Future Climate For Africa and CDKN have just released How to contribute climate change information to Wikipedia: A guide for researchers, practitioners and communicators. The guide, by Emma Baker, Lisa McNamara, Beth Mackay and Kulima director, Dr Katharine Vincent, builds on Africa's first Wikipedia edit-a-thon on climate change in Africa, held in August 2019. The guide targets researchers, practitioners, communicators and any others with access to climate change information who would like to share it more widely with the world. It outlines how to edit Wikipedia, along with tips and suggestions on style and structure, and guidance on how to get involved with the Wikipedia editing community.

“Evolution of national climate adaptation agendas in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia: the role of national leadership and international donors” now published-with inputs from Kulima

An output of the Future Climate For Africa UMFULA project has just been published. "Evolution of national climate adaptation agendas in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia: the role of national leadership and international donors" unpacks the ways in which political economy has affected the emergence and evolution of national climate adaptation planning in three sub-Saharan African countries over the last decade, based on data collection over a six year period. Despite variation in the specifics of how they operated, the roles of two factors in common emerge in the evolution of the climate change adaptation agendas: national leadership and allied political priorities, and the role of additional funding provided by donors. These influences lead to changes in the policy and institutional frameworks for addressing climate change, as well as in the emphasis placed on climate change adaptation. By examining the different ways through which ideas, power and resources converge and by learning from the specific configurations in the country examples, the paper identifies opportunities to address existing barriers to action and thus present implications that enable more effective adaptation planning in other countries. 

“Managing collaborative research: insights from a multi-consortium programme on climate adaptation across Africa and South Asia” now published-with inputs from Kulima

Another paper has just been produced that reflects on the process of conducting collaborative applied adaptation research under the Collaborative Adaptation Research in Africa and Asia (CARIAA) programme. "Managing collaborative research: insights from a multi-consortium programme on climate adaptation across Africa and South Asia", led by Bruce-Currie Alder with Georgina Cundill, Lucia Scodanibbio, Kulima director Katharine Vincent, Anjal Prakash and Nathalie Nathe, reflects on CARIAA's learnings in fostering cooperation towards research outcomes, coordinating Participants valued the consortium as a network that provided connections with distinct sources of expertise, as a means to gain experience and skills beyond the remit of their home organisation. Consortia were seen as an avenue for reaching scale both in terms of working across regions, as well as in terms of moving research into practice. The experience of CARIAA affirms documented strategies for collaborative research, including project vision, partner compatibility, skilled managers, and multi-level planning. Collaborative research also needs an ability to revise membership and structures as needed in response to changing involvement of partners over time.

“Addressing power imbalances in co-production” New comment in Nature Climate Change, led by Kulima

A new comment "Addressing power imbalances in co-production" has just been published in Nature Climate Change. The comment, led by Katharine Vincent with Suzanne Carter, Anna Steynor, Emma Visman and Katinka Lund Waagsaether, reflects on investigations into co-production in the Future Climate For Africa and WISER programmes. Co-production is an increasingly popular approach to knowledge generation encouraged by donors and research funders. However, power dynamics between institutions in the global North and South can, if not adequately managed, impede the effectiveness of co-production and pose risks for long-term sustainability.

“Understanding gender differences in availability, accessibility and use of climate information among smallholder farmers in Malawi” New paper from the UMFULA project with inputs from Kulima

A new paper "Understanding gender differences in availability, accessibility and use of climate information among smallholder farmers in Malawi" has just been published in Climate and Development. The paper, led by Dr Rebecka Henriksson with inputs from Katharine Vincent, is an output of the Future Climate For Africa UMFULA project. Ensuring smallholder farmers have access to climate information is important to enable adaptation, but access to it is strongly gendered. This study shows that both women prefer radio to access forecasts, but that women also like to access forecasts through a knowledge broker. Those farmers with higher levels of education (mostly men) prefer to also obtain forecasts via internet and cell phone. Understanding gendered preferences and barriers to climate information access is crucial for benefits of adaptation to be accessed equitably.

“Re-balancing climate services for climate-resilient planning” New paper from the UMFULA project, led by Kulima

A new paper "Re-balancing climate services to inform climate-resilient planning – A conceptual framework and illustrations from sub-Saharan Africa" has just been published in Climate Risk Management. The paper, led by Dr Katharine Vincent, is an output of the Future Climate For Africa UMFULA project. UMFULA aimed to increase the availability and use of medium-term climate information for decision-making in central and southern Africa. Whilst the climate services field has placed a lot of emphasis on generating information that is useful and usable to decision-makers, the "usability gap" has persisted. The paper argues for more attention to be paid to enablers that need to be in place to ensure that useful and usable information is actually used. These enablers include supportive institutions, appropriate policy frameworks, capacity of individuals and agency to make decisions. 

FCFA launches a critical reflection on learning from its activities-with inputs from Kulima

Future Climate FCFA learningFor Africa has launched "A critical reflection on learning from the FCFA programme." The report is led by Julio Araujo, Blane Harvey and Ying-Syuan (Elaine) Huang, with inputs from a wider team, including Kulima director Katharine Vincent. It highlights the nature of collective learning, experiences of leadership and capacity development and knowledge co-production and research uptake over the four years of applied research on improving climate information for use in medium-term (5-40 year) planning, which was undertaken by the five consortia under FCFA, including UMFULA-in which Kulima was a partner. It recommends that flexibility should be built into programme design, transforming research and knowledge mobilisation practice, investing in Southern leadership and capacity, and evaluating impacts.