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NEWS: Looking ahead to the 6th Community-Based Adaptation (CBA) Conference


Ali T. Sheikh, CDKN Asia Director, discusses why the upcoming 6th Community Based Adaptation (CBA) Conference in Vietnam, 16-20th April 2012, is important for turning CBA from a ‘niche’ to the norm.  

Community-Based Adaptation (CBA) will take centre stage in the coming days. Hundreds of experts will gather in Hanoi, Vietnam, 16-20th April, for a week of discussion and debate on the role and potential of CBA for delivering climate compatible development.

CDKN is excited to be part of this initiative. This is the 6th such international gathering on CBA and there is real momentum behind this approach to adaptation.

CBA is unique in putting communities in the driver’s seat. It is a process that starts by identifying those communities that are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. They are usually very poor, reliant on agriculture for their livelihoods and are living in areas prone to climate related natural disasters. Experts then work with the communities to identify exactly how they are vulnerable to climate change, and how they can make themselves more resilient.

Over the last couple of years there has been a flourishing of pilot projects on CBA. During the conference the results of many of these will be presented. Participants will also get to travel to some nearby projects and meet with the communities involved.

The conference will be a great opportunity for the experts to share their experiences, learn from each other, and start the process of documenting best practices.

For CDKN, we are interested in taking CBA to the next level. The question which is at the heart of many of our projects related to CBA, is how do we get CBA ‘mainstreamed’ within the development planning process at all levels?

For example, we are supporting the Partners for Resilience (PfR) programme to develop and test minimum standards for climate-smart disaster resilience building at the community level. The idea is to advocate a ‘good enough’ approach on a large scale, rather than a perfect one-off case. This is the first step to getting CBA and any initiative at the community level scaled-up.

CDKN’s Chief Executive Sam Bickersteth and I will be presenting what CDKN has learnt on this issue during the conference. I am happy that many of our partners, such as the National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and Strategy Studies in Vietnam, CIAT, Vietnam, ARCAB and ACCRA, will also be showcasing CDKN projects.

We are also supporting the participation of policy-makers from across Asia and Africa in the Conference. They have been tasked with the challenge of learning from the experts on CBA and then using their own expertise and experience within Government to identify the opportunities and challenges for mainstreaming CBA. IIED and CDKN will work with the group to develop a joint paper, and a programme of work, to take this issue forward.

A lot more research and work is needed before CBA can deliver the transformational change that it promises. A ‘Community of Practice’, involving researches, policy-makers, NGOs and more, is also essential to get best practices shared and replicated. The CBA Conference is a valuable step in the right direction and I am looking forward to reporting back on how much progress has been made over the last 12 months.

*CDKN is an official partner of the 6th CBA Conference. There will be live on-line streaming of the conference proceedings along with videos and reports on the conference webpage.

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