Cross-boundary multi-scale governance of semi-arid lands: Implications for climate resilience and economic development

Project lead: Hayley Leck, with Florence Crick
Partner: Innovation, Environnement et Développement Afrique
Geographical focus: Semi-arid lands in Senegal and Tanzania
Duration: July 2015 – July 2016

This research project analyses the role of various institutional, economic and socio-political drivers in influencing the design and delivery of climate policy and influencing adaptive capacities at multiple scales.

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Improving adaptive capacities from country to community scales is fundamental for achieving long-term prosperity in semi-arid lands and appropriate institutional, governance and finance arrangements are central to the effectiveness and implementation of climate policy and achieving climate resilient economic development. To do so, the role of political realities and power structures in shaping climate policy and adaptive capacities at multiple scales needs to be better understood. As political, economic, social and ecological factors and processes transcend administrative boundaries, leading to common problems and opportunities between bordering and more distant jurisdictions, municipalities and regions, joined-up action across municipal and other spaces is key for socio-ecological systems and adaptation processes that straddle administrative boundaries. Focusing on Senegal and Tanzania, the overall aim of this research project is to investigate and better understand the role of various institutional, economic and socio-political drivers in influencing the design and delivery of climate policy and influencing adaptive capacities at multiple scales. Investigations of key political and economic opportunities and barriers in driving forward equitable climate policy will be of particular significance, as well as attention to the role of power structures and meaningful representations of poor and marginalized groups in decision and policy making processes. Further emphasis is on understanding what modes of governance are appropriate for bridging the top-down/bottom-up impasse and fostering co-production of climate resilience and economic development through collaborative adaptation and risk management.

Research questions include:

  • What are the institutional, governance and financing prerequisites for climate-resilient economic development in semi-arid areas?
  • How does public policy have to change to make climate-resilient economic development in semi-arid areas happen, and what barriers exist to this change?