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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (2020)

Navigating complexity to build adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change in Northern Ghana

Dapilah, Frederick

Titre : Navigating complexity to build adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change in Northern Ghana

Auteur : Dapilah, Frederick

Université de soutenance : Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Grade : Doktor philosophiae [Dr. phil]. 2020

Résumé partiel
Climate change impacts, related losses and damages are increasing globally. When these consequences are coupled with increasing global greenhouse gas emission, urban expansion and unsustainable consumption, the pursuit of adaptation to avoid adverse outcomes is a present necessity and a significant future challenge. The overarching aim of this doctoral dissertation is to gain a better understanding of the complexity of climate change impacts on agricultural livelihoods and how adaptation processes enhance adaptive capacity and resilience in Bagri, a small village in northern Ghana. The results presented in this doctoral thesis are based on empirical data obtained between February and July, 2017 in the Lawra District of northern Ghana using qualitative case study research methods : semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, survey and ethnographic participant observation. Data from the survey were coded and inputted into Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) version 20 and cross tabulation and analysis of different variables and interpretation of frequencies were done and processed into tables, graphs and percentages. Content analyses of qualitative data were done which allowed patterns and themes in interviews and discussions to be derived and interpreted. The findings show that, people in the studied community have experienced a range of climatic changes with negative impacts on agriculture in the last three decades. In order to adapt to the short duration of the rainy season and low rainfall amounts associated with climate change, smallholder farmers use incremental adaptation strategies such as improved crop varieties and other support strategies. Paradoxically, however, climate change extremes (CCEs) undermined these strategies in several instances, causing crop yields to fall short of their actual potential leading to financial indebtedness. The results therefore, showcase that surmounting non-climatic barriers to the uptake of agricultural adaptation strategies is a necessary but not sufficient condition to achieving successful outcomes, as new barriers in the adaptation process beyond uptake are constantly emerging with CCEs being one example. Secondly, the findings show that climatic changes have necessitated livelihood diversification away from crop production and into off-farm and non-farm activities in Bagri. The results highlight how the process of diversification is dependent on household participation in various group activities and formal and informal social networks. Generally, households in dense social networks were found to be more resilient to perceived climate changes because they had access to the critical resources (material and non-material) essential for diversification.

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