Perceptions and politics in managing climate risk and resilience in Vanuatu, South Pacific (14639)
Managing climate risks and resilience is often viewed as a technical and apolitical activity. The wider cultural and political dimensions shaping risk and resilience consequently remain underexplored. We critically examine two projects to build resilience to climate change and disaster risks within rural communities in Vanuatu, South Pacific using a cultural-political approach. Climate change is projected to impact agriculture, fisheries and freshwater resources in Vanuatu with higher temperatures, greater rainfall variability and intensity, ocean acidification and sea level rise. We unpack the multiple perceptions and interests attached to building resilience to these risks and how these are translated into actions “on the ground” across various stakeholders and scales. Our research exposes tensions between community versus external perceptions of climate risk, and how particular perceptions can undermine local agency. It highlights issues of power and politics in engaging and enabling rural communities to build their resilience. Our research also brings to the forefront the scalar politics defining interactions between situated versus scientific knowledges, rural versus urban, and the local versus global. We call for greater engagement with the interpretive social sciences in resilience scholarship to better address issues of accountability, cultural relevance, fairness and ethics.