White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

Developing climate change coping capacity into adaptive capacity in Uganda

Berman, Rachel Josephine (2014) Developing climate change coping capacity into adaptive capacity in Uganda. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

Thesis_BERMAN.pdf - Final eThesis - complete (pdf)
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

Download (6Mb) | Preview


Communities across sub-Saharan Africa have been coping with the effects of climate variability for generations. Further, future projections show these areas will be affected by increased climate variability and changes in mean climate. Understanding how current coping strategies used by households in these communities will shape future adaptation choices remains limited. The aim of this thesis is therefore to examine household coping capacity and coping strategies to cope with climate variability and reflect on what this means for future adaptation to longer term climatic change in Uganda. Uganda is an appropriate country in which to examine these issues due to both the occurrence of climatic extremes such as floods and droughts, as well as the high dependence of the population on the natural resource base which is readily affected by these events. This research adopts an institutional perspective to explore issues of vulnerability, resilience and adaptive capacity: examining household level coping and adaptive capacities through to wider institutional analysis at the community, district and national level to provide evidence of the role institutions play in mediating the development of coping to adaptive capacities. Quantitative methods including social network analysis are combined with traditional qualitative methods in a mixed-methods approach to provide empirical evidence and new perspectives in adaptation research. Results show household coping strategy depends on the customary and market-orientated nature of the village, and on the climatic hazard experienced: households without market access vary coping strategy by hazard whilst households with increased market access rely on economic activities regardless of hazard. Social network analysis identifies that support networks vary under different climatic hazards, and that these support networks do not show as many characteristics of bonding ties as previous literature suggests. The results also show that there are core households within each community that are central to the coping strategies of others. These core households typically hold formal positions in village institutions, mediating access to both formal and informal support structures. Yet, many households still remain excluded from both formal and informal support, and they remain vulnerable to climate variability and change. This thesis takes a polycentric perspective to explore the institutional enablers and constraints to coping and adaptation that exist across scales. Formal institutions play an important role in livelihood-specific coping strategies, whilst informal institutions underpin more general coping strategies. Positive and negative interplays between different institutions shape the opportunities for planned and autonomous adaptations. Institutional gulfs are present whereby institutions operate in relative isolation of others, or results in fragmented or sporadic adaptations. Policy makers must develop policies that support communities to cope with climatic variability whilst targeting future adaptation demands. The evidence presented in this thesis suggests complex institutional structures exist in relation to household coping capacities, and reflecting on these institutional dynamics is necessary to consider the possible implications longer-term future adaptive capacity. Given uncertainty over future livelihood choices under a varied climate, institutions that shape non-livelihood specific coping strategies will become increasingly important to maintain livelihood and coping flexibility, and this must recognise the role of both autonomous and planned adaptation. Although specific to the evidence provided from Uganda, these results have lessons for wider coping and adaptation policy and planning across sub-Saharan Africa.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Coping; climate change; institutions; adaptation; vulnerability; resilience; Uganda
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds) > Sustainability Research Institute (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.632941
Depositing User: Miss Rachel Berman
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2015 14:10
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7104

You do not need to contact us to get a copy of this thesis. Please use the 'Download' link(s) above to get a copy.
You can contact us about this thesis. If you need to make a general enquiry, please see the Contact us page.

Actions (repository staff only: login required)