Abstract

The resilience concept requires greater attention to human livelihoods if it is to address the limits to adaptation strategies and the development needs of the planet's poorest and most vulnerable people. Although the concept of resilience is increasingly informing research and policy, its transfer from ecological theory to social systems leads to weak engagement with normative, social and political dimensions of climate change adaptation. A livelihood perspective helps to strengthen resilience thinking by placing greater emphasis on human needs and their agency, empowerment and human rights, and considering adaptive livelihood systems in the context of wider transformational changes.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge support of the Munich Re Foundation and other participants of the 2013 Resilience Academy meeting, which led to the development of this paper.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Climate and Environment Programme, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), 203 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NJ, UK

    • Thomas Tanner
  2. Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics & Political Science, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, UK

    • David Lewis
  3. United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1, 53113 Bonn, Germany

    • David Wrathall
  4. Alaska Institute for Justice, 431 West 7th Avenue Suite 208, Anchorage, Alaska, USA

    • Robin Bronen
  5. Landcare Research, Manaaki Whenua, PO Box 69040, 13 Gerald Street, Lincoln 7640, New Zealand

    • Nick Cradock-Henry
  6. International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Independent University, Bangladesh Bashundhara, Dhaka, Bangladesh

    • Saleemul Huq
  7. School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University, 32 Old Elvet, Durham, DH1 3HN, UK

    • Chris Lawless
  8. Institute of Behavioral Science, 1440 15th Street, Boulder, Colorado 80302, USA

    • Raphael Nawrotzki
  9. Department of Environmental Science and Public Policy, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia 22030, USA

    • Vivek Prasad
  10. School of Anthropology, University of Arizona, 1009 East South Campus Drive, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA

    • Md. Ashiqur Rahman
  11. Social Sciences Department, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, 1 Grand Ave San Luis Obispo, California 93407, USA

    • Ryan Alaniz
  12. Community and Family Medicine, Duke University, 318 Hanes House, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA

    • Katherine King
  13. School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia

    • Karen McNamara
  14. Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Renees Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ, UK

    • Md. Nadiruzzaman
  15. Disaster Resilience, LLC, PO Box 256649, Honolulu, Hawaii 96825, USA

    • Sarah Henly-Shepard
  16. Stockholm Environment Institute–Asia, 15th Floor, Witthyakit Building, 254 Chulalongkorn University, Chulalongkorn Soi 64, Phyathai Road, Pathumwan, 10330 Bangkok, Thailand

    • Frank Thomalla

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Contributions

T.T., D.L., D.W. and R.B. led the drafting of the text with inputs from all other authors. All authors contributed to the intellectual content.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Thomas Tanner.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2431

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