Global Initiative on Community Based Adaptation formally launched in Tanzania
An international conference in Tanzania ended on Saturday with participants announcing a range of initiatives aimed at boosting poor people’s resilience to climate change impacts.
Delegates at the meeting formally launched a Global Initiative on Community Based Adaptation, with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) serving as its secretariat.
The initiative will promote the exchange of knowledge about community-level adaptation to climate change through a variety of mechanisms, such as a Google Earth layer which has been published at www.weAdapt.org, and on a dedicated YouTube channel for video clips.
Its steering committee includes staff from Oxfam GB, Practical Action, CARE, Development Fund of Norway, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Stockholm Environment Institute, Institute for Development Studies, among others.
The conference was organised by IIED, Tanzania’s Environment Protection Management Services (EPMS) and the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) — and was opened by Tanzania’s environment minister Dr Bathilda Burian.
"Community Based Adaptation initiatives are among the most effective solution to enhance adaptive capacity of communities to adverse impacts of climate change," said Dr Burian. "Community Based Adaptation is a community-led process, based on communities’ priorities, needs, knowledge and capacities which should empower people to plan for and cope with the impacts of climate change."
"Poor communities in poor countries are already feeling the impacts of climate change such as more variable weather patterns, drought and floods," says Dr Saleemul Huq, senior fellow in IIED’s climate change group. "They cannot wait for rich nations to decide when and how they will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, though this is urgently needed. For vulnerable communities the priority is to start adapting to climate change right now."
"The vast experiences of vulnerable communities in coping with environmental stresses can be very relevant to other communities who live in other countries or continents," says Huq. "By harnessing modern communications technologies we can spread the information as widely as possible so that NGOs, aid agencies and the communities themselves can benefit."
More than 170 delegates from 38 countries from all regions of the world attended the 4th International Conference on Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change in Dar es Salaam, from 21-27 February.
They included staff from UN bodies (UNDP, UNEP, FAO, IFAD, WFP), donor agencies (DFID, GTZ, Rockefeller Foundation, UN Foundation), international civil society organisations (WWF, Oxfam, CARE, British Council, Save the Children, CAFOD, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability), national civil society organisations (River of Life, Zimbabwe, Keepers Zambia Foundation, Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement, Togo, Kenya Wildlife Service etc) research institutions (Stockholm Environment Institute, and International Institute for Sustainable Development, Canada, etc) and universities (University of Lund, Sweden, University of Ghana, and University of Philippines, etc).
It was preceded by two days during which delegates visited six different localities in Tanzania to meet vulnerable communities and learn about how they are facing climate threats.
At the conference itself — the first of its kind in Africa — speakers presented on topics including agriculture, economics, drylands, water, disaster risk reduction, vulnerable groups and communications.
The next International Conference on Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change will take place in Bangladesh from 21-27 February 2011.