Understanding Patterns of Climate-Resilient Economic Development

The UK’s Department for International Development commissioned Vivid Economics, in conjunction with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), to help it understand how patterns of development impact climate resilience. It draws on four case studies: two country studies – Rwanda and Senegal; and two city case studies – Maputo (Mozambique) and Cagoyon De Oro (The Philippines). It aims to inform whether and how, developing countries, DFID and the broader development community can help best promote climate resilient economic development.

This work draws from four case studies to answer three key questions:

  • What have been the impacts of different development patterns on climate resilience?
  • In cases where development trends have had negative impacts on climate resilience, when are these impacts ‘locked in’, and when are they relatively easy to reverse?
  • How can policy direct development patterns to enhance climate-resilience while still delivering other benefits from development?

The Synthesis Report details all of the key findings. Of particular note, the study finds that without deliberate policy intervention, development tends to increase exposure to climate events, reducing climate resilience, but at the same time increase its adaptive capacity to respond to the events. It also documents a number of examples on how action or inaction today is having substantial effects on resilience into the medium and long term. The study also finds that the poorest and most vulnerable often bear the brunt of exposure to climate events, but are excluded from many improvements in the ability to respond to these shocks.

The four case studies that support this work can be found below. To summarise:

  • Inclusive agricultural development in Rwanda, focusing on new crops, new practices, and new markets, has reduced poverty and improved the resilience of agriculture, but has not diversified the economy or climate risk.
  • Expansion of tourism and services sector has contributed to diversification of the Senegalese economy and strengthened resilience to drought, but has increased exposure to other risks.
  • High rates of urbanisation and economic growth in Maputo have improved climate resilience in the central and wealthiest parts of the city, while providing little benefit to overcrowded and flood-prone informal areas.
  • Population resettlement and reconstruction in Cagayan de Oro after the storm and floods of 2011 has reduced risk exposure; improved watershed management would reduce the risk of floods happening.

This work has close links with other work being undertaken for DFID that is helping to assess whether it is appropriate and cost effective to take different types of adaptation action. More details on this work is available here.