Social Development Department, World Bank
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Rural Development; Social Development; Environment
Social Development Department, World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated February 1, 2023
Robin Mearns is currently Lead Specialist and Cluster Leader for Social Resilience at the World Bank. He has over 25 years of experience in research, strategy, policy, operations and community-level engagement in rural development, natural resource management and climate resilience in Africa, Asia and Latin America. A geographer by training (MA, PhD Cambridge), with additional training in environmental and development economics (MPhil Sussex), he has also published widely on a range of topics in sustainable development. Prior to joining the Bank in 1997 he was a Fellow of IDS Sussex and a Research Associate at IIED, London.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
Livestock Development : Implications for Rural Poverty, the Environment, and Global Food Security(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-11) De Haan, Cornelis ; Van Veen, Tjaart Schillhorn ; Brandenburg, Brian ; Gauthier, Jerome ; Le Gall, Francois ; Mearns, Robin ; Simeon, MichelThis report provides recommendations on how to better manage ongoing changes in livestock development. First, it presents an overview of the main trends that can be expected to drive the sector over the next decades. Second it discusses the negative or positive social, environmental, and health repercussions of those trends, and the institutional, policy, and technical requirements needed to manage them. It concludes with a section on the current World Bank portfolio in the livestock sector and provides an action plan for the future. The report generally describes good practices where available and identifies strategy implications of past experience. Finally, this report summarizes the current thinking of the Animal Resources Team on the type of activities that the Bank should support. It is a direct input into the review of the Bank's rural strategy.
Climate and Disaster Resilience : The Role for Community-Driven Development(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-02-01) Arnold, Margaret ; Mearns, Robin ; Oshima, Kaori ; Prasad, VivekThis paper is part of a larger effort to document, assess, and promote scalable models and approaches to empower poor communities to manage a climate and disaster risk agenda in support of their development goals and to identify practical ways of getting climate and disaster risk financing directly to the ground level where impacts are felt. Social funds, social protection systems and safety nets, community-driven development (CDD) projects, livelihoods-support and related operational platforms can serve as useful vehicles for promoting community-level resilience to disaster and climate risk. This paper examines the World Bank's Community-Driven Development (CDD) portfolio to assess experience to date and to explore the potential for building the resilience of vulnerable communities to climate and disaster risk through CDD programs. It aims to be useful to both the Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management practitioner as well as the CDD practitioner. The paper assesses the scale of climate and disaster resilience support provided through CDD projects from 2001-11 and characterizes the forms of support provided. For the climate change adaption and disaster risk management (DRM) practitioner, it discusses the characteristics of a CDD approach and how they lend themselves to building local-level climate resilience. For the CDD practitioner, the paper describes the types of activities that support resilience building and explores future directions for CDD to become a more effective vehicle for reducing climate and disaster risk.
Area-Based Development, Local Institutions and Climate Adaptation: Comparative Analysis from West Africa and Latin America(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-07) Agrawal, Arun ; Mearns, Robin ; Perrin, Nicolas ; Kononen, MinnaThis report on adaptation to climate variability and change draws together the conclusions of a series of comparative case studies undertaken for the Area-Based Development and Climate Change (ABDCC) project of the Social Development Department of the World Bank. The report contributes to a better understanding of pro-poor adaptation by addressing the growing need for systematic analyses of existing rural adaptation strategies in the face of climate variability. The study shows: 1) how different types of climate phenomena affect households that are already vulnerable owing to their political-economic and social circumstances, 2) the ways in which households cope with and adapt to climate hazards, and 3) the role of rural organizations and institutions in helping vulnerable households cope with climate impacts and other sources of vulnerability more effectively. The study also complements other macro-level analyses in which the focus is primarily on government policies in the context of adaptation. The ABDCC study relied on four strategies for its implementation, data collection, and capacity building efforts: 1) review of secondary information and the selection of study sites; 2) data collection through household, focus group, and expert interviews; 3) data analysis and identification of feasible policy options; and 4) capacity building and dissemination of results. The study generated data both from secondary sources as well as primary research. The data was used to prepare country reports and policy notes but has also been analyzed using basic statistical methods to understand the relationship between institutions, adaptation strategies, and social groups within communities and territories.
Social Dimensions of Climate Change : Equity and Vulnerability in a Warming World(World Bank, 2010) Mearns, Robin ; Norton, Andrew ; Mearns, Robin ; Norton, AndrewClimate change is widely acknowledged as foremost among the formidable challenges facing the international community in the 21st century. It poses challenges to fundamental elements of our understanding of appropriate goals for social and economic policy, such as the connection of prosperity, growth, equity, and sustainable development. This volume seeks to establish an agenda for research and action built on an enhanced understanding of the relationship between climate change and the key social dimensions of vulnerability, social justice, and equity. The volume is organized as follows. This introductory chapter first sets the scene by framing climate change as an issue of social justice at multiple levels, and by highlighting equity and vulnerability as the central organizing themes of an agenda on the social dimensions of climate change. Chapter two leads off with a review of existing theories and frameworks for understanding vulnerability, drawing out implications for pro-poor climate policy. Understanding the multilayered causal structure of vulnerability then can assist in identifying entry points for pro-poor climate policy at multiple levels. Building on such analytical approaches, chapters three and four, respectively, consider the implications of climate change for armed conflict and for migration. Those chapters are followed by a discussion of two of the most important social cleavages that characterize distinct forms of vulnerability to climate change and climate action: gender (chapter five) and ethnicity or indigenous identity (chapter six), in the latter case, focusing on the role of indigenous knowledge in crafting climate response measures in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Chapter seven highlights the important mediating role of local institutions in achieving more equitable, pro-poor outcomes from efforts to support adaptation to climate change. Chapter eight examines the implications of climate change for agrarian societies living in dry-land areas of the developing world, and chapter nine does the same for those living in urban centers. Chapter ten considers the role of social policy instruments in supporting pro-poor adaptation to climate change; and it argues for a focus on 'no-regrets' options that integrate adaptation with existing development approaches, albeit with modifications to take better account of the ways in which climate variables interact with other drivers of vulnerability. Finally, chapter eleven turns to the implications of climate policy and action for forest areas and forest people.