|Title||Developing adaptive capacity in times of climate change in central rural Vietnam: exploring smallholders’ learning and governance|
|Author(s)||Le, Thi Hong Phuong|
|Source||University. Promotor(en): Arjen Wals, co-promotor(en): Robbert Biesbroek. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463438018 - 217|
Education and Competence Studies
|Publication type||Dissertation, internally prepared|
Climate change already affects Vietnam in virtually all sectors. Agriculture in small communities is particularly vulnerable to current and projected climate change impacts. Many of the smallholder farmers in Vietnam have limited adaptive capacity to deal with these impacts. Increasingly social learning is proposed as an important mechanism to build the adaptive capacity of local farming communities. However, little is known about the interplay between social learning and adaptive capacity and how adaptive capacity could be increased in a complex hierarchical governance setting that is typical in a country like Vietnam. The dissertation therefore aims to elicit and explore the ways through which social learning can increase the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers in central Vietnam to respond to climate change impacts. Four research questions are addressed: (i) what insights does the existing body of climate change adaptation literature provide into the interplay between social learning and adaptive capacity?; (ii) what do smallholder farmers in Vietnam perceive as their current adaptive capacity and what enables or constrains them in increasing it?; (iii) how can social learning configurations strengthen the adaptive capacity of farming communities?; and (iv) how do different levels of government enable and constrain the process of building adaptive capacity and social learning of smallholder farmers to respond to impacts of climate change in Vietnam?
Overall, the dissertation shows that social learning offers many possibilities to help farmers adapt to climate change, but that climate change adaptation in developing countries creates specific contextual conditions that require an adaptive capacity-focused perspective. An adequate learning configuration that can successfully help farmers build their adaptive capacity, considers responsive design, facilitation, monitoring, and evaluation steps. Furthermore, efforts of increasing adaptive capacity should not only focus on technical, social and human dimensions, but also on market conditions. The critical importance in creating an environment that enables social learning is the role of government across different levels. In order for the Vietnamese government to be more actively involved in building adaptive capacity through social learning, investments in transparent legal institutions, efficient use of limited available resources, and enhancing capacity of local policy actors will be critical in helping smallholder farmers learn how to adapt to climate change impacts.