International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

The Shifting Epistemologies of Vulnerability in Climate Services for Development: The Case of Mali’s Agrometeorological Advisory Programme

Document Type

Article

Abstract

The field of climate services for development (CSD) is growing rapidly, presented by donors and implementers as an opportunity to address the needs of the global poor, whether informing agricultural decisionmaking in rural communities, facilitating disaster preparedness or promoting public health. To realise this potential, however, CSD projects must understand the information needs of their intended users. This raises a critical epistemological challenge for CSD: how can we know who is vulnerable to the impacts of climate variability and change, and why are they vulnerable to particular impacts? In this paper, we consider both the epistemological tension arising over the construction of vulnerability that emerges at the intersection of the physical and social science communities within CSD and a second, less-discussed epistemological stress surrounding how user identities are understood within the social science community engaged in CSD-related research and implementation. We illustrate these tensions through the example of a climate services programme that delivers agrometeorological advice to farmers in Mali, demonstrating the ramifications of these epistemological issues for the design and delivery of services that further development and adaptation goals.

Publication Title

Area

Publication Date

1-1-2016

Volume

48

Issue

1

First Page

7

Last Page

17

ISSN

0004-0894

DOI

10.1111/area.12179

Keywords

climate change adaptation, climate services, epistemology, identity, Mali, vulnerability

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