Fall 2021 Colloquium
October 20 | 3:30pm | 575 McCone
After Adaptation - A participatory analysis of the enduring impacts of climate change adaptation projects in the Ecuadorian highlands
Dr. Meg Mills-Novoa
Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley
As climate change impacts escalate, donors, international organizations, and state actors are implementing adaptation projects that seek to make landscapes and livelihoods more resilient. These projects typically last 5 years, at which time these actors withdraw, and local communities are left to sustain adaptation interventions. However, to date, few studies have examined what unfolds after adaptation projects end. This talk draws on 3 years of mixed-method and collaborative research to explore diverging understandings of success and failure in the wake of a concluded climate change adaptation project in Ecuador. The project is assessed based on community-generated criteria for success drawn from participant observation, participatory mapping, interviews, and quantitative surveys with project participants, adaptation professionals, and local leaders. This study highlights the spatial and temporal contingencies of “success,” contributing to public debates on adaptation evaluation, the sustainability of adaptation measures, the limitations of the adaptation finance structure, and the role of community actors in adaptation.