Dr Katharine Vincent was in Oslo last week with colleagues Professor Siri Eriksen and Drs Nick Brooks and Morgan Scoville-Simonds. The team – joined remotely by Drs Marcus Taylor and Lisa Schipper – made a presentation to the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation on good practices on adaptation.

The presentation was based on a recent report commissioned by NORAD, “Putting ‘vulnerable groups’ at the centre of adaptation interventions by promoting transformative adaptation as a learning process”. The report  builds on an earlier study (and then academic paper) that highlighted how adaptation interventions can reinforce, redistribute and create new vulnerabilities.

The presentation and report recognise the need for ‘transformative adaptation’ that addresses the root causes of the vulnerability and acts as an empowering learning process. They highlight five key elements of transformative adaptation:

  1. Make rights and justice the target of adaptation
  2. Acknowledge power relations
  3. Embrace knowledge pluralism
  4. Foster bottom-up coalitions to strengthen local sources of adaptation
  5. Recognise risks, tradeoffs and unexpected outcomes

and highlight good practice examples that embrace these elements.