Adaptation and mitigation are two key responses to climate change. In the global South they prompt many questions: what is the direction and degree of change needed? How can new climate change policies be aligned with existing development initiatives? How are core social relations such as gender understood and prioritized in relation to technical and other solutions? In search of synergies between adaptation, development and mitigation, this article asks a pertinent question for sub-Saharan small-scale agriculture in particular: what can adaptation and mitigation learn from development debates on social goal setting, institutional change and gender equality? From the perspective of sustainability science and feminist literature, three main findings emerge. First, as regards social goal setting, adaptation and mitigation should, like development, support the escape out of poverty, ill-health and food-insecurity. Second, as regards institutions, adaptation and mitigation should address how gender regulates access to, use of and control over resources in terms of labor, land and strategic decision-making power. Third, as regards gender equality, adaptation and mitigation should learn from how development in theory and practice has addressed gender, women, nature and the environment. At its core, the analysis contributes twelve salient themes that can significantly inform adaptation and mitigation in research, policy and practice, thus serving as inspiration for a critical debate on much needed synergetic trajectories.
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