The need to reinterpret “community” for climate change adaptation: a case study of Pele Island, Vanuatu

Buggy, Lisa and McNamara, Karen Elizabeth (2015) The need to reinterpret “community” for climate change adaptation: a case study of Pele Island, Vanuatu. Climate and Development, 8 3: 270-280. doi:10.1080/17565529.2015.1041445

Author Buggy, Lisa
McNamara, Karen Elizabeth
Title The need to reinterpret “community” for climate change adaptation: a case study of Pele Island, Vanuatu
Journal name Climate and Development   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1756-5537
Publication date 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/17565529.2015.1041445
Volume 8
Issue 3
Start page 270
End page 280
Total pages 11
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Earthscan
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract “Community” has long been used as the preferred scale for implementing development projects, but it is being increasingly pitched as the panacea for climate change adaptation. The Pacific region is no exception and given the speed at which projects are being implemented it is important to extract lessons from past community-based projects more generally to inform adaptation activities now and in the future. This article draws from in-depth focus-group discussions (n = 10) in four village communities in Pele Island (Vanuatu) to understand the key factors influencing the success and failure of community-based projects (n = 34) since the late 1970s until the end of 2013. The overwhelming sense from participants is that projects have largely failed in these communities, due in part to a number of standard challenges associated with sustaining projects, including issues of finance, maintenance, management expertise and so on. But it has been the social dynamics, power relations and changing traditional norms at the community level that have been at the epicentre of project failure. This points to an urgent need for “community” to be re-framed as more than just the place where projects are rolled out. Instead, it needs to be a site where the socio-political context is understood and transformed to: avoid problems being built into projects; guarantee that project goals and outcomes do not exacerbate existing inequalities; and ensure that projects do not fail, weaken adaptive capacity or result in maladaptation. This article concludes with a preliminary set of four guidelines that may contribute to the climate change adaptation literature and assist practitioners and donors working with “community” on climate change adaptation efforts now and in the future.
Keyword Adaptation
Climate change
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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