Adaptive Social Protection in Rwanda: A No-Regrets Approach to Increased Resilience in a Territorial Planning Context

Type Conference Paper - Conference on “Social Protection for Social Justice”
Title Adaptive Social Protection in Rwanda: A No-Regrets Approach to Increased Resilience in a Territorial Planning Context
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
City Brighton
Country/State UK
Rwanda is a country characterized by a rapidly growing rural population and high rates of rural poverty, along with high population density and pressures on the natural resource base. These factors are a threat to Rwanda?s future (Diamond, 2005). One response by Government of Rwanda to poverty, vulnerability, and environmental unsustainability has been to pilot a social protection (SP) project, called the Vision 2020 Umurenge Program (VUP), managed by the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC). VUP provides public works employment for members of extremely poor households with able-bodied members, and direct cash transfers for poor households without members who can work (Devereux and Ndejuru, 2010; Devereux, 2010). Many of the public works projects are designed to build, strengthen and protect assets and livelihoods in order to lower vulnerability and increase resilience (to create a virtuous cycle). There is an emphasis on public works projects for land conservation and building of terraces, improving water resource management and water harvesting, and afforestation/reforestation (Gatsinzi, 2010). Thus, VUP attempts to invest in assets and livelihoods and sustainable economic, social and environmental development. VUP also carries out explicit risk reduction strategies that include awareness building related to basic needs such as food security, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, housing. However, VUP administrators recognize the need to deal with increased frequency and severity of natural hazards (e.g., droughts and floods) and related hazards (e.g., illness, malnutrition, high food prices).1 Thus, there is interest in “climate-proofing” VUP to explicitly integrate disaster risk management (DRM) and climate change adaptation (CCA) with SP.
As such, MINALOC is in the process of trying to adopt the concepts of “adaptive social protection”, which advocates integrating CCA, DRM, and SP (IDS, 2008; Davies, Oswald, Mitchell, 2009 and Davies, et. al., 2009), and also the “no-regrets approach” to increased
resilience (Heltberg, Siegel, Jorgensen, 2009; 2010; UNDP, 2010; Siegel and de la Fuente 2010; Siegel, 2010) which advocates mainstreaming of adaptive social protection into a territorial planning context that includes real-time monitoring and evaluation in support of early warning and rapid response systems. The foundation of such a holistic approach is community-based early warning systems that can trigger rapid responses, with the VUP being flexible to update its targeted beneficiaries and benefits and public works activities based on changing economic, social, and environmental conditions. Several Government Ministries and agencies, along with several donors and UN agencies are involved in this attempt to set up a multi-hazard early warning and rapid response system with objective triggers. There are several ongoing and new initiatives that need to be integrated and mainstreamed, including establishment of a Ministry of Disaster Management, reintroduction of USAID?s FEWSNet, the new UNDP project on Early Warning and Watershed Management in the Gishwati area, the recently completed National Land Master Plan and ongoing land registration process, WFP?s vulnerability analyses, and work by DFID on a climate change strategy. VUP is considering how to mainstream and integrate these activities in a pilot project to implement and operationalize adaptive SP using a no-regrets approach to increased resilience. There are many new and exciting applications of geographic information systems (GIS) and information and communications technology (ICT) in Rwanda that can be utilized for this goal. The proposed system would draw on the Ethiopia Productive Safety Nets Project, Kenya Arid Lands Resource Management Project, and Kenya Hunger Safety Net Project and other relevant international experiences. This paper presents advances in implementing adaptive SP in Rwanda using a no-regrets approach to increased resilience in a territorial planning context.

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