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Adaptive Capacity and Livelihood Resilience: Adaptive Strategies for Responding to Floods and Droughts in South Asia

Authors: Marcus Moench; Ajaya Dixit

Humans survive change via adaptation. Strengthening the adaptive capacity of populations at all levels is, as a result, among the most important challenges facing development and human society in the context of climate and other change processes. The results of our research point, among other things, to the critical importance of trans-boundary flows of information, funds, goods, services, ideas, and often people in determining the adaptive capacity of local populations. The ability to adapt to local problems such as floods and droughts often depends on systems and flows that connect to regional and global levels. Understanding this and addressing the inherent implications for trade, migration, and other sensitive global policy arenas is, perhaps, one of the most significant challenges facing society in the coming century. The Adaptive Strategies Project is the result of a unique collaboration that attempts to understand and disaggregate the factors which enable communities to adapt to floods, droughts, and climatic variability by examining the courses of action households actually take during these events and locating the insights generated in a wider review of regional trends, government programs, and systems theory. Although focused on floods and droughts, many of the insights generated through the research have potential relevance for other contexts where livelihood systems are disrupted and adaptation is essential. Results of this study indicate the factors that heavily influence vulnerability and adaptive capacity.

Citation: Moench, M., & Dixit, A. (Eds.). (2004). Adaptive capacity and livelihood resilience: adaptive strategies for responding to floods and droughts in south asia. Kathmandu, Nepal: Institute for Social and Environmental Transition.

Funded By: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)