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Title: Vulnerability and Adaptation to Environmental Change in Eastern Kenya
Author: Eriksen, Siri
ISNI:       0000 0004 2673 9049
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2000
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The vulnerability of local populations to environmental change and how this can be reduced through implementing the three major UN environmental conventions on climate change, biodiversity and desertification is investigated. The study uses empirical and policy analysis to identify options for addressing global environmental concerns from the perspective of the welfare of local communities in rural Africa. The way in which climate-induced events, in particular drought, manifest themselves in two case study sites, Mbitini in Kenya and Saweni in Tanzania, is examined in terms of coping strategies, entitlement decline and household consumption. A dynamic approach to understanding vulnerability and responses to climate events is developed within which determinants of coping are analysed. Household and key informant interview data are analysed regarding sources of food and income and the use of indigenous plants as part of agro-ecosystem management during different climatic conditions. Analysis reveals that household coping strategies are interdependent and vary between households and over time, according to the ability to access principal and complementary sources of food and income. Many complementary coping strategies are based on indigenous plant use, representing an important source of survival for poorer households. Insufficient household access to, and poor viability of, certain coping strategies constrain households from averting adverse impacts of drought. Analysis of policy documents and interview data reveals that Kenyan and Tanzanian policies largely focus on the drought resilience of agriculture and do not reflect the dynamism and diversity` of coping strategies of poor households. Opportunities exist within the UN environmental conventions to augment current strengths and redress weaknesses, for example by the strengthening of alternative income sources through the Desertification Convention. Policies which support the diversity of coping strategies and livelihood activities have the potential of bringing multiple benefits, in terms of improving the welfare of poorer households and ameliorating global environmental concerns.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available