Role of power in climate change adaptation: explaining the adoption of climate change adaptation approaches in Bangladesh and Nepal (Sumit Vij)

The impacts of climate change on Bangladesh and Nepal are already distressing the livelihoods of the vulnerable communities and future climate change is expected to exacerbate risks even further. Adaptation as a human response is therefore necessary to reduce these impacts. Vulnerable communities in Bangladesh and Nepal are already practicing autonomous adaptation, and in the last decade the national governments of both countries are continuously working towards planned adaptation through climate change adaptation (CCA) policies, thereby taking different policy approaches.

However, this is a complex process as the policy and polity are taking place in political interests and the power interplay of policy actors. Such power interplay are based on the material and ideational resources of policy actors and influenced by changing government regimes and political instability. Moreover, currently planned adaptation policies hardly take into consideration how to address long term climate change impacts which will be cause for further political complexity. Hence, the ongoing policy processes for planned adaptation requires an understanding of power interplay.

This proposed research aims to explain how power interplay shapes the existing CCA approaches and how it can influence the adoption of new approaches in Bangladesh and Nepal. This research will use a comparative qualitative case study design and will focus on the power interplay at national government level. The outcome of this research will not only advance CCA theories in both countries, but also operationalise the concept of power in the context of CCA and co-create power sensitive design principles with relevant stakeholders. 

Research questions

The proposed research aims to complete the study, using three research questions (RQs):

  1. How have past political processes shaped the current CCA approaches in Bangladesh and Nepal?

    - What are the institutional and agency factors and events that have shaped the current CCA approaches and what is the role of power therein?
  2. How does the actor interplay shape transitive and intransitive power that underpin the CCA policy processes currently in Bangladesh & Nepal?
  3. To what extent can power create a positive force for adopting long term considerations in CCA policies in Nepal & Bangladesh?

    - What are the PSDPs that can support the adoption of long term considerations in CCA approaches in Nepal and Bangladesh?

    - What are the limiting factors and conditions for the adoption of long term considerations in CCA approaches in Nepal and Bangladesh?