The Nordic Africa Institute


Social Equity in Climate-Resilient Agriculture

Project Climber

Women farmers drying rice. Photo: Adrien K/Flickr

Started • 01 January 2022

Building Systemic Resilience Against Climate Variability and Extremes, ClimBeR, is a CGIAR project, with NAI as a partner. The project focuses on transformative adaptation in agricultural systems to address climate risk in six countries: Guatemala, Kenya, Morocco, the Philippines, Senegal, and Zambia.

The Initiative works to contribute toward sustainable Development Goals:

  • 1. No poverty
  • 2. Zero hunger
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 13. Climate action
  • 15. Life on land
  • 16. Peace, justice and strong institutions

NAI research in ClimBeR: Gender and Social Equity

Researchers at NAI are playing a lead role on Gender and Social Equity, which is one of two cross-cutting themes in ClimBeR. Eleanor Fisher is senior social science advisor to ClimBeR and Marion Ouma, post-doctoral researcher.

Fair distribution of the benefits of climate-resilient agriculture matters. Inequities in development outcomes compound social inequalities that make some people more vulnerable to risk than others. Agricultural systems are at particular risk from climate change, reinforcing burdens upon people from food insecurity and hunger, employment and economic losses, and investment and business uncertainty. As evidence shows, poor and vulnerable people disproportionately experience the worst climate impacts. Smallholder famers, especially women and young people, are particularly vulnerable to risks that thwart efforts to build resilience and improve livelihoods. Lack of attention to social equity undermines the potential to build just and sustainable agricultural systems. Social equity addresses inequalities in gender, ethnicity, socio-economic statute, age and race impact and how individuals and communities experience climate change and adapt to its impact. Inequalities hinder and can limit individuals and communities’ capacity to cope with risks brought about by climate change especially vulnerable individuals and communities which end up bearing disproportionate burden of impacts of climate change. A focus on social equity in climate adaptation and transformation supports households, communities and individuals to build resilience.

Based on our development of a framework for examining social equity in climate-resilient agriculture, our research seeks to better assess effectiveness of adaptation responses focusing on the root causes of vulnerability to climate change while paying attention to social differentiation, agency and relations of power. This is in recognition that past and current climate adaption measures may lead to maladaptation and without consistent attention to social equity, past and current inequities may reproduce themselves in future.