ICT-Enabled Responses to Climate Change in Rural Agricultural Communities

Author and Institution: 
Angelica V. Ospina, University of Manchester
Richard Heeks, University of Manchester
Outline: 

Rural agricultural communities play a pivotal role in the economic, social, and cultural fabric of developing countries. At the same time, they are placed at the forefront of
multiple development stressors that include increasing climate change impacts. Within contexts often characterised by poverty, remoteness and marginalisation, information and communication technologies (ICTs) can enable new responses to the challenges posed by more frequent and intense climatic events.

This Strategy Brief identifies the role of ICTs within the climate change responses of rural agricultural communities in developing countries. It argues that ICTs can become strategic enablers of action to create awareness about, mitigate, monitor and adapt to climate change within these communities. Despite their differences, rural agricultural contexts share similar attributes and challenges (geographical, economic and social) that are exacerbated by climate change impacts, and that require the adoption of innovative strategies based on emerging and traditional knowledge and information tools.

The analysis identifies different types of ICT interventions, key enablers and constraints to the use of these tools within rural agricultural settings impacted by climate change. It suggests the importance of adopting an ‘Information-plus’ approach that targets the improvement of local livelihoods through a variety of content and tools, while tackling climatic impacts as part of a broader set of development vulnerabilities.