Abstracts on Global Climate Change

Jul 2005

Equity and justice in climate change adaptation amongst natural-resource-dependent societies

Thomas, DSG Twyman, C


Issues of equity and justice are high on international agendas dealing with the impacts of global climate change. But what are the implications of climate change for equity and justice amongst vulnerable groups at local and sub-national levels? We ask this question for three reasons: (a) there is a considerable literature suggesting that the poorest and most vulnerable groups will disproportionately experience the negative effects of 21st century climate change; (b) such changes are likely to impact significantly on developing world countries, where natural-resource dependency is high; and (c) international conventions increasingly recognise the need to centrally engage resource stakeholders in agendas in order to achieve their desired aims, as part of more holistic approaches to sustainable development. These issues however have implications for distributive and procedural justice, particularly when considered within the efforts of the UNFCCC. The issues are examined through an evaluation of key criteria relating to climate change scenarios and vulnerability in the developing world, and second through two southern African case studies that explore the ways in which livelihoods are differentially impacted by (i) inequitable natural-resource use policies, (ii) community-based natural-resource management programmes. Finally, we consider the placement of climate change amongst the package of factors affecting equity in natural-resource use, and whether this placement creates a case for considering climate change as ‘special’ amongst livelihood disturbing factors in the developing world. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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