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Implementing Climate-Compatible Development in the Context of Power: Lessons for Encouraging Procedural Justice through Community-Based Projects

Climate-compatible development (CCD) is being operationalised across the developing world through projects that integrate development, adaptation and mitigation using community-based approaches—community-based CCD (CB-CCD). By incorporating and considering local people’s concerns, these projects are positioned as more effective, efficient and sustainable than ‘top-down’ climate and development solutions.

However, the literature pays little attention to whether and how these projects achieve procedural justice by recognising local people’s identities, cultures and values; and providing local people with meaningful participatory opportunities. We address this gap through an analysis of two donor-funded CB-CCD projects in Malawi, drawing on household surveys, semi-structured interviews and documentary materials. Our findings show that the projects had only limited success in facilitating procedural justice for the target populations.

Households’ meaningful engagement in project activities and decision-making was often curtailed because power asymmetries went unchallenged. While many households were well engaged in projects, the recognition and participation of others—including many of the most vulnerable households—was limited. Building on our findings, we present a six-step approach to help CB-CCD project staff understand, manage and challenge power asymmetries; and create widespread recognition of, and meaningful participatory opportunities for, local people.

Wood, B.T.; Dougill, A.J.; Stringer, L.C.; Quinn, C.H. Implementing Climate-Compatible Development in the Context of Power: Lessons for Encouraging Procedural Justice through Community-Based Projects. Resources 2018, 7, 36.