Developing Climate Adaptation: The Intersection of Climate Research and Development Programmes in Index Insurance


  • Nicole D. Peterson

    1. is assistant professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28223–0001, USA (e-mail: Her research interests include political ecology and economic development, with particular attention to decision making and risk perception in sociocultural contexts.
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I would like to thank those who participated in and supported this research, including the farmers in Tigray, the Development Organization, the Ethiopian Development Organization and their staff. I would also like to thank David Krantz, Dan Osgood, Connor Mullally, Gebrehaweria Gebregziabher, Woldeab Teshome, Astor Gebrekirstos, K. Muniappan, Malgosia Madajewicz and Paige West for their support of this work, as well as the anonymous referees for their valuable comments. Funding for this research was provided by the Center for Research on Environmental Research ( through NSF cooperative grants SES-0345840 and SES-0951516.


Using a case study from Ethiopia, this article examines the ways in which climate information and economic development interact in climate adaptation programmes. Microinsurance programmes have become very popular as an adaptation strategy but there has been little attention paid to the social, economic and political aspects of implementation. Examining one case in relation to the broader literature on climate adaptation projects suggests that greater attention needs to be paid to existing coping strategies, introduction of additional market risks, local capacity building and the socio-political context of implementation. Climate change cannot be viewed as a technical problem only; it has a social dimension as well.