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Inaugural Lecture of Professor Mulala Danny Simatele

When: Wednesday, 04 August 2021 - Wednesday, 04 August 2021
Where: Online Event
Off campus
Start time:17:00

Kelebogile Tadi


Zoom link:

Just give the poor cash: My view on enhancing the adaptive capacity and resilience of the most vulnerable in society to climate change.

There is now increased consensus that climate change has its greatest impact on the poor people who in most cases lack any form of productive capital and assets to fend off its implications and consequences. The poor people, however, are not passive actors, but are actively involved in searching for alternatives on how to build their adaptive capacity and resilience against climate induced challenges and problems. Social cash transfers (SCT) have been recognised as a critical package for reducing climate risks and building the adaptive capacity, especially for those individuals and households considered most vulnerable to climate change. Over the past 20 years, I have sought to identify practical ways in which this policy intervention can be implemented so that it yields better results for community transformation. I have learnt with great humility that the solutions already exist in communities of those poor people whose lives we seek to transform and that SCT has the potential to build their adaptive capacity and resilience by (a) contributing to meeting basic household needs; (b) helping the poor respond to climate-induced stressors and shocks; (c) helping vulnerable households to manage risk by considering alternative and innovative investments which upsurge their adaptive capacity; (d) transferring money for investment in long-term adaptive capacity development initiatives; and finally (e) facilitating mobility and sustainable livelihood transitions. It is important, however, to note that SCT is not the silver bullet which overcome and solves all the climate change challenges faced by the poor. I have come to accept and acknowledge that cash transfers cannot address all areas of adaptation, but that it is a pre-condition for further adaptation to be equitable and effective. When compared with other adaptation options, cash transfers, I believe fare well as supported by the evidence I have collected over the years. The evidence and lessons learnt, suggest that there is great potential for scaling up this policy intervention tool, and with the right political-will and transparent and inclusive implementation processes, SCT can immeasurably contribute to promoting the adaptation agenda.

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