Counting on uncertainty in North-East Kenya

In a semi-arid part of Kenya, the new economics foundation (nef) and CARE International explored whether the benefits created by projects investing in climate-change adaptation outweigh their implementation and opportunity costs. Adaptation interventions pushed by multilateral donors often focus on so-called “hard” adaptation measures at macro scale, such as infrastructural investment. The study “Counting on uncertainty: the economic base for community-based adaptation in North-East Kenya” (2012, 44pp) questioned whether “soft” and bottom-up adaptation measures at community level can constitute an effective response to climate change and a viable alternative or complement to such top-down interventions; and if yes, to what extent and under which conditions? The analysis carried out within the framework of the Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) implemented by CARE International assessed whether investing in community-based adaptation is economically efficient and effective. The study was carried out in a pastoral and an agropastoral community in Garissa County. Among other things, it found that diversification through cropping could have adverse impacts on ecosystem services compared to pastoralism. It also found that local adaptation strategies need to be linked to broader local government strategies and disaster risk reduction on a regional scale. The authors emphasise that taking account of economic, social and environmental capital and placing these in a currency that allows decisions to be made is crucial for ensuring that value for money is achieved in all adaptation investment decisions to support resilient, sustainable livelihoods.

Posted on 27 April 2013 in Pastoralism & Climate Change, Pastoralism & Natural Resources, Pastoralism & Services, Pastoralism, Policy & Power, Pastoralist Livelihoods & Nutrition, Value of Pastoralism