Linking social protection and resilience to climate change: A case study of the conditional cash transfer programme Oportunidades in rural Yucatan, Mexico

Solórzano Sánchez, Ana Evanisi (2015) Linking social protection and resilience to climate change: A case study of the conditional cash transfer programme Oportunidades in rural Yucatan, Mexico. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the linkages between social protection and resilience to climate
change among poor rural households. To date there is a very limited understanding of
the potential role of social protection programmes in contributing to an increase in
resilience of the rural poor with respect to climate change. An improved understanding
of these links can help to build the knowledge base that is needed to help the poorest
members of the society to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This gap in
understanding is addressed in this thesis through a case study of the conditional cash
transfer programme Oportunidades in two rural communities in Yucatan, Mexico, a
region highly exposed to hurricanes and droughts. Qualitative and quantitative data
were collected by means of household surveys, life-history interviews, key informant
interviews, group discussions and participant observation.

A social protection-resilience analytical framework was developed in order to guide the
data collection and analysis. This framework is informed by a dynamic understanding of
resilience, which integrates two resilience dimensions: the absorptive capacity (the
ability to resist and recover from a shock) and the adaptive capacity (the ability to adapt
to the effects of a shock). This framework is based on the proposition that social
protection reduces vulnerability and, by doing so, this can also help to increase poor
households resilience to climate change.

The thesis found that the main role of Oportunidades is to provide a regular and
predictable safety net that protects households from short-term risk, thus increasing
households’ absorptive capacity. The impact on the adaptive capacity of households is
indirect and differentiated according to their respective poverty profiles. Furthermore,
the research shows that certain features of the theory of change of Oportunidades, and
its design, reduce the potential impact of the programme, creating trade-offs between
the different resilience dimensions. This is the case because resilience to climate change
and social protection literatures are derived from distinctive approaches, which frame
vulnerability differently. The thesis concludes by making a case for social protection to
be complemented by other interventions in a systemic approach that should explicitly
consider climate change, in order to increase resilience and achieve sustainable poverty
reduction.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: Institute of Development Studies
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General) > F1203.49 Mexico
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races > HT0401 Rural groups. Rural sociology
Q Science > QC Physics > QC0851 Meteorology. Climatology Including the earth's atmosphere > QC0980 Climatology and weather > QC0981.8.A-Z Special topics, A-Z > QC0981.8.C5 Climatic changes
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2015 12:48
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2015 12:48
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/58080

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