VUCCA: Vulnerability and Climate Change Adaptation and in Conflict-Affected Regions: The Case of Northern Uganda


Start date: 1 June, 2023 End date: 31 May, 2028 Project type: Research projects in countries with extended development cooperation (earlier Window 1) Project code: 23-09-KU Countries: Uganda Thematic areas: Climate change, Conflict, peace and security, Natural resource management, Lead institution: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Partner institutions: Gulu University (GU), Uganda Tree Talk Plus, Uganda Project coordinator: Kasper Hoffmann Total grant: 10,000,000 DKK

Project summary

What problem is VUCCA addressing?

Extreme climate events and unpredictable weather patterns are affecting farmers around the globe, especially smallholders who do not have many resources to adapt to those changes. If dealing with climate change was not enough, some farmers need to deal with a wide range of other problems: displacement after a violent conflict, lack of access to land and natural resources, poverty, and a myriad of other social, economic, political, and environmental problems. Some people are in a more precarious situation than others, and therefore not everyone is equally vulnerable to climate change. However, climate change adaptation policies often fail to address the needs of the most vulnerable groups by proposing one-size fits all measures, which are often market-oriented and technical. These “solutions” do not take into account the knowledge, experiences and needs of farmers who practice subsistence agriculture, landless people, and marginalized groups. In addition, research on climate change is often divided into disciplines and there is very little dialogue between specialists. Therefore, we do not have a comprehensive picture of the full range of socio-environmental sources of vulnerability of smallholder farmers, their adaptation strategies, and how the former affects the latter.

What is VUCCA proposing?

To address this problem, we have created an interdisciplinary group of researchers from Denmark and Uganda. Uganda is one of the poorest countries in the world, and its northern region is the worst hit by climate change and suffers other interconnected social and environmental problems.

VUCCA aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of how farmers’ adaptation is linked to their vulnerability, particularly their access to natural resources. Based on our findings on the experiences, local knowledge, and needs of the people who are most vulnerable to climate change, we will create evidence-based guidelines for inclusive national and local adaptation policies. These policies aim at increasing farmers’ adaptive capacity and reducing their vulnerability by shifting the terms of engagement between local populations and adaptation practitioners.

VUCCA will train three Ugandan PhD candidates and findings will be communicated to national and international stakeholders through workshops, policy briefs, popular articles and publications in high-ranking scientific journals.

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