Climate change and poverty: building resilience of rural mountain communities in South Sikkim, Eastern Himalaya, India

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The rural mountain communities have long
faced challenges from a range of social, economic, political
and environmental factors and the threat from these factors
has only intensified due to the current climate change. This
study was conducted in South Sikkim, a mountain region
located in the Indian Eastern Himalaya, to get a deeper
insight of the multitude of barriers and stresses that a poor
rural mountain community experiences. The purpose of the
study was to get community’s perception on the kind of
interventions that they consider important to lift them out
of poverty and enhance their resilience to manage climate
risk. The analysis is based on focus group discussions and
household survey, using a multidimensional poverty
assessment tool. The study highlights that the vulnerability
of the study region to climate change is not concentrated to
physical or geographical factors alone, but mostly to the
socio-economic factors like lack of access to education,
health care, limited livelihood opportunities, limited
resources, etc. People consider that these non-climatic
factors act as barriers for them to overcome poverty, contribute
to their weak resilience, and make it extremely
difficult for them to manage the risk posed by climate
change. The study therefore suggests that it is of utmost
importance that the interventions are planned in ways that
address the multidimensional poverty in the region which
in turn will enhance community’s inherent capacity to
adapt to current as well as future climate risk.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social and Economic Geography

Keywords

  • poverty, climate change, multidimensional poverty assessment tool, resilience
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-280
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Volume14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes