Applying Social and Behavior Change to Climate Change Adaptation: A Literature Review
Climate variability and change are increasingly putting the lives and well-being of millions of people at risk. Most climate change adaptation and risk reduction measures require that humans modify existing behaviors or adopt new ones for individuals and households to maintain their livelihoods and for governments to meet economic development objectives. Human behavior is complex — it often takes a combination of information, incentives, and behavior change approaches to cause an individual to test, adopt, and sustain a new behavior or modify an existing one. Social and Behavior Change (SBC), which incorporates knowledge from across disciplines to change behaviors in response to specific challenges, is a critical yet underutilized discipline that can help individuals and communities adapt to current and near- and long-term changes in climate.
This literature review from the USAID-funded Adaptation Thought Leadership and Assessments (ATLAS) project examines the field of SBC and its relevance for climate change adaptation. It distills key conceptual material related the psychology of behavior and the evolution of behavior change initiatives, assessing peer-reviewed articles and publications from international development projects and activities with relevance to adaptation.
The findings of this review serve as the foundation for ATLAS’ accompanying guidance package, Integrating Social and Behavior Change in Climate Change Adaptation: An Introductory Guide, that helps USAID and development planners incorporate scientific findings on SBC into climate change adaptation activities.