In a world characterized by increasingly complex economic, social and biophysical interconnections, vulnerability redistribution may in fact represent the norm rather than an exception. The authors examine the literature on globalization, development and adaptation to understand how adaptation interventions might create indirect effects that undermine the livelihoods of other people, and how we might predict and/or measure such indirect effects. They then propose a framework that practitioners could use to analyse planned adaptation interventions – specifically, those focused on strengthening livelihoods – in order to identify potential indirect impacts.

They apply the framework to a case study of Colombia’s coffee sector, and find several examples of how, because of the connections between farmers in Colombia, and the global nature of the coffee market, adaptation actions within Colombia and abroad could redistribute vulnerability. Finally, they discuss how these insights might inform decisions by adaptation and development practitioners, and suggest areas for further research.

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