The growing number of local-level adaptation and mitigation projects that aim to deliver both climate resilience and other Sustainable Development Goal benefits provide a window for in-depth empirical research across multiple interventions.  

This work package was originally designed with a major fieldwork component. Research teams would have engaged directly with local households and community members using a mixed-method approach to document the livelihood benefits of the implemented actions and to unpack the contexts and processes that result in positive or negative outcomes for different social groups. 

While such community level assessment of selected projects would have provided beneficiaries’ perspectives on the pro-poor and fair outcomes of the interventions, the overall objectives of this work package remain the same despite funding cuts which compelled reorientation towards interviewing practitioners through online methods. This work package therefore seeks to:

  1. Document the livelihood and poverty and inequality reduction benefits of the implemented climate change interventions through understanding their impacts on capacities and assets across different social groups.  
  2. Evaluate the extent to which interventions have promoted the three dimensions of social equity (recognitional, procedural and distributional).
  3. Unpack the contexts and processes that can result in positive or negative (often unintended) outcomes of the selected climate change interventions for different social groups. 

In this way, the research aims to inform the design and implementation of more equitable and just climate change interventions. The work package will also examine the extent to which such actions can be considered potentially transformative in generating more secure, resilient, and sustainable livelihoods for all. 

Objectives and key research questions

Objective 1: To assess, from a practitioner perspective, whether and how selected climate change interventions have decreased climate risk while simultaneously reducing poverty and inequality and promoting equity at the local level.

  • What are the livelihood benefits, in terms of building assets and capacities (both specific and generic adaptive capacity), of the selected climate change interventions and how are these benefits distributed across different social groups within the community?
  • How have the interventions incorporated recognitional, procedural and distributional equity to strengthen fairness? Do they explicitly set out to work with marginalised groups; what processes are followed to include these groups (procedural equity); how is unequal access to resources/services/assets recognised and addressed (recognitional/contextual equity); and whose livelihoods become more secure and resilient (distributional equity)? 
  • What contexts, institutions and implementation processes influenced (blocked or enabled) fair and just outcomes?
  • What dimensions/elements of these climate change interventions could be considered transformative?

Objective 2: To inform the design and implementation of future socially just and transformative climate change interventions.

  • How are local livelihood, poverty and equity outcomes influenced by both local and broader national climate and social policy and governance contexts?
  • What might be required for more transformative and socially just future climate change interventions that are effective in reducing climate change risk and fostering equity?


The research is structured by:

  1. A review of the literature to guide the research team on the latest thinking on the interconnections between climate change, development, poverty, inequality and inequity and to provide the overall framing and analytical framework for the empirical work. 
  2. Design of an online questionnaire survey to target a wide range of placed-based climate change interventions using the database developed by  the work package on Future climate response options, portfolios and pathways that leverage co-benefits for the Sustainable Development Goals and through snowball sampling. 
  3. Selection of 10 place-based interventions (case studies) for in-depth analysis in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa based on a set of agreed criteria. 
  4. Design of semi-structured interview questions, for practitioners involved in the selected climate change interventions, that are guided by the analytical framework with a focus on capacities, assets and procedural, recognitional and distributional equity. 
  5. Analysis of the findings from the perspective of advancing equity and transformation while reducing climate risk. 

Links to other project research themes

This study will draw on some of the results from the research themes Multi-scale dynamics in inequality data that matter for climate compatible livelihoods – particularly in providing context for the case studies – and Future climate response options, portfolios and pathways that leverage co-benefits for the Sustainable Development Goals.


  • Jiska De Groot, University of Cape Town
  • Jacob Dodoo, University of Ghana
  • Roger Few, University of East Anglia
  • Murray Leibbrandt, University of Cape Town
  • Adelina Mensah, University of Ghana
  • Nadine Methner, University of Cape Town
  • Germano Mwabu, University of Nairobi
  • Reuben Mutegi, University of Nairobi
  • Robert D. Osei, University of Ghana
  • Britta Rennkamp, University of Cape Town
  • Sheona Shackleton (team leader), University of Cape Town
  • Darlington Sibanda, University of Cape Town
  • Mark Tebboth, University of East Anglia