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The climate-development nexus: using climate voices to prepare adaptation initiatives in the Peruvian Andes

Journal article
Authors Karsten Paerregaard
Published in Climate and Development
Volume 10
Issue 4
Pages 360-368
ISSN 1756-5529
Publication year 2018
Published at School of Global Studies, Social Anthropology
Pages 360-368
Language en
Keywords Climate change, community-based adaptation, development, participation, Peruvian Andes
Subject categories Social Anthropology


© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group What are the lessons from development practice that adaptation interventions can use to engage vulnerable people? To answer this question, the paper reviews field data on perceptions of environmental and climatic change in a Peruvian mountain community and discusses the possibilities and limitations of using local climate voices to prepare for climate change adaptation. The data comprise two complementary household surveys. The first survey provides information on the community’s socio-economic situation, whilst the second survey documents the villagers’ climate perception. The data reveal a paradox in the way the community understands global climate change. The villagers who live on the margin of the global world and belong to the poorest economic strata in Peru are deeply concerned about global climate change that is impacting their environment. Yet when locating the cause of climate change they point to their own community rather the industrialized world and suggest mitigation actions rather than adaptation initiatives as answer to the problems it entails. The paper suggests that adaptation initiatives must understand this paradox within the larger socio-economic and discursive context that shapes the villagers’ agency and climate perceptions. It proposes an informed participation approach that listens to the local voices but that also informs them about the global dimensions of climate change and engages them in a critical dialogue about the importance of sustainable development and the possibilities of taking advantage of the new opportunities that the changing environment offers.

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