Pastoralist Climate Change Resilience in Somaliland (PACCS)

Project summary

This research project (PACCS) explores how pastoralists in Somaliland, an East African climate ‘hot spot’, adapt to climate change effects on their livelihoods. Pastoralism is a complex system, driven by interlinked economic, socio-ecological and institutional factors. PACCS therefore takes an interdisciplinary approach to assess pastoralist climate resilience across the domains of markets, land-management and hybrid governance. By unpacking synergies and trade-offs among different pastoralist resilience strategies, the project advances academic debates on climate resilience and informs locally relevant climate change policies.
Pastoralism is the dominant livelihood for millions of East Africans, severely affected by climate change (drought, flash floods, weather variability). It is also a crucial locus of climate resilience, as pastoral systems have always adapted to challenging environmental conditions. However, pastoralism’s inherent resilience potentials have received limited academic attention and policy engagement.
In addressing this gap, PACCS will: 1) Provide innovative research-based knowledge on pastoralist climate resilience, and contribute to an empirically-driven (re)theorization and disaggregation of the resilience concept into finer-tuned categories, thereby enhancing its conceptual use for applied climate change research. 2) Strengthen research capacities, institutional collaboration and South-South as well as North-South collaboration in the field of pastoralist climate resilience research. 3) Translate insights on pastoralist climate resilience in Somaliland into policy recommendations to inform grounded, inclusive and integrated approaches to address climate change.
PACCS focuses on Somaliland, which is a privileged research context for the project. Somaliland endures regular, intensifying droughts. Its pastoral lands are volatile environments, acutely affected by climate change, limited governance outreach and land conflicts. Yet, it is also a unique location for exploring climate resilience as pastoralists respond to evolving economic and political opportunity structures in the context of Somaliland’s stability and democratization achievements over the past three decades.
Methodologically PACCS adopts a Socio-Ecological System-inspired mixed methods approach. We triangulate qualitative methods (fieldwork, qualitative interviews, focus groups) with quantitative surveys and the use of Participatory Geographic Information Systems.

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