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Does the geographical footprint of Ethiopia’s flagship social protection programme align with climatic and conflict risks?

Tenzing, Janna and Conway, Declan ORCID: 0000-0002-4590-6733 (2023) Does the geographical footprint of Ethiopia’s flagship social protection programme align with climatic and conflict risks? Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Paper (399). Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Ethiopia’s flagship ‘Productive Safety Net Programme’ (PSNP) entered its fifth phase of implementation in 2021. After more than fifteen years, the Government reoriented the programme’s targeting of woredas (districts) with a history of food insecurity, to prioritising those experiencing ‘extreme poverty through shocks’ – particularly drought. In doing so, it has rebranded the PSNP as an ‘adaptive’ safety net. The focus of the ‘adaptive social protection’ policy agenda, however, extends beyond responding to biophysical risks associated with climate variability and change; it also seeks to address non-climatic, contextual factors underpinning relational vulnerability to climate change. This study asks whether the PSNP’s system of geographic targeting at the start of its fifth phase aligns with this more comprehensive framing of ‘adaptive social protection’. Using binary logit regression analysis, it assesses whether the PSNP-covered woredas are those most exposed to three major risks in the country: drought, flooding, and political conflict. We find that, controlling for poverty headcount rate and population density, PSNP coverage is positively associated with districts experiencing higher year-to-year drought conditions, yet woredas with higher multi-year drought variability are less likely to be covered. We find no relationship between PSNP coverage and exposure to flood risk, which is unevenly distributed across the country. Whilst the programme is currently well-targeted toward districts facing disproportionately high levels of political insecurity, this association disappears if the recent escalation of conflict beginning in 2020 is disregarded. As such, this study points to risks that PSNP administrators need to be more attentive to as they consider expanding the programme’s geographical footprint to become more ‘adaptive’. Doing so could better support the strengthening of PSNP participants’ long-term resilience to climate change.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q5 - Environmental Economics > Q50 - General
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2023 13:06
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2023 10:27

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