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Interpretation matters: Exploring the policy outcomes of competing vulnerability framings in rural Burkina Faso

This brief explores how two different framings – the Resilience Discourse (RD) and the Human Security and Development Discourse (HSDD), can produce different conclusions about vulnerability in Burkina Faso´s agroforestry system resulting in different actions for different people.  Vulnerability from a RD framing refers to changes that threaten the system’s balance.

A HSDD framing is concerned with how people and groups are vulnerable and how the context and multiple changes matters for the underlying causes to vulnerability. RD and HSDD framings both have become prominent tools for assessing the vulnerability of food insecurity. Consequently, different actors and decision makers tend to explain vulnerability of people and the agroforestry system differently. The findings show that the framing matters for how we look at change and explain vulnerability in agroforestry systems and the role trees have for food security.

The RD framing seeks to reduce vulnerability by preserving the traditional agroforestry systems, putting the value of tree-based products at the centre. The HSDD perspective aims at vulnerability reduction through diversification of incomes. A consequence of this is that the policy outcomes will look different depending on the interpretation  of vulnerability.


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