Aiding adaptation: Reducing the risk of maladaptive Swedish climate aid through integrated approaches

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Climate adaptation is a key issue for sustainable development, not least for those countries that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Aid to support climate adaptation in low-income countries has been identified as important for meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs. Climate aid can be a significant tool to achieve this ambition, but for this to happen, aid interventions need to be designed and implemented in a way that addresses multiple cross-cutting challenges simultaneously.

With a long-term perspective on development, aid can help strengthen adaptive capacities and resilience in partner countries. However, previous research has shown that unintended negative consequences can occur when climate adaptation measures do not take into account other challenges such as land use or ongoing conflicts. This can lead to so-called 'maladaptation', unintended effects such as exacerbated conflicts or environmental degradation, reducing the effectiveness of aid. It is therefore important that climate adaptation measures are designed in a way that takes into account several different perspectives and interests. This project therefore examines Swedish aid as a tool for integrating cross-cutting challenges such as environmental, gender and conflict perspectives in climate adaptation efforts.

Swedish aid politics has high ambitions to integrate cross-cutting perspectives in all development cooperation. This project studies how the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) integrates these perspectives in climate adaptation initiatives in East Africa within the framework of regional development cooperation and inter-agency cooperation. How are integration ambitions presented and how is it materialized in organization and implementation processes? How are the effects of the initiatives perceived by aid staff, implementing partners and intended beneficiaries?

This project contributes knowledge about how integration ambitions are formulated, implemented and understood in practice. This project will contribute with knowledge on how integration ambitions are formulated, implemented and understood in practice. This increases the understanding of how future climate adaptation-oriented aid interventions can be designed to ensure that cross-cutting challenges are also taken into account, contributing to sustainable and efficient aid.