An Index Based Assessment of Vulnerability to Floods in the Upper Indus Sub-Basin: What Role for Remittances?
There is a growing consensus among migration scholars that remittances tend to be a counter-cyclical shock absorber in times of crisis. In mountain contexts of the global South, lack of formal employment opportunities, precarious land rights, subsistence agriculture, along with the lack of access to financial instruments and social protection, severely limit the ability of people to cope with crisis and insure themselves against risks. The extent to which remittances can contribute to climate change adaptation requires further exploration. Previous research has adopted an index-based approach to examine the vulnerability of a country, community, sector, or ecosystem. However, similar methodology has not been applied to explore whether remittances have a role in reducing the vulnerability of recipient households to a particular environmental stressor. Floods are a major environmental stressor in the Upper Indus Sub-basin. However, village level flood preparedness remains low, and household level flood preparedness is comprised of short-term strategies. Remittances are crucial to meet the basic needs (e.g. food, education, healthcare) of recipient households. The findings from the vulnerability assessment indicate that remittance recipient households are marginally less vulnerable than non-recipient households. Remittance recipient households have lower dependence on the environment, better access to formal financial institutions, and are less likely to reduce food consumption during floods. In contrast, among the households engaged in farming, more non-recipient households have made changes in agricultural practices in response to floods than remittance recipient households.
KeywordsRemittance Indus Adaptation Vulnerability Adaptive capacity Flood
The authors express their gratitude to the editors for providing the opportunity to prepare this chapter. Particular appreciation goes to Dr. Koko Warner (UNU-EHS), Dr. Benjamin Schraven, (DIE), Ms. Noemi Cascone (UNU-EHS) and Dr. Andrea Milan (UNU-EHS) for their support, encouragement and insightful feedback. The authors would like to thank Dr. Golam Rasul (ICIMOD) and Mr. Valdemar Holmgren (ICIMOD) for their support and encouragement. Special thanks to Dr. Bidhubhusan Mahapatra (ICIMOD) for guidance with the statistical analysis. Particular appreciation also goes to Dr. Abdul Wahid Jasra (ICIMOD), Ms. Kanwal Waqar (ICIMOD), Mr. Muhammad Ayub (CESLAM), and the SSRI team for the invaluable support during the fieldwork. The authors would like to thank Dr. Vishwas Chitale (ICIMOD) and Mr. Gauri Dangol (ICIMOD) for their inputs in the preparation of this manuscript. The authors will like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. This research was supported by the Rural Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation in the Himalayas (Himalica) Programme, which is implemented by the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), and is funded by the European Union. The opinions expressed in the chapter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective institutions.
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