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Building a community of practice on community based adaptation

Project Reference: AAAS-0020

Across the developing world, and in Asia in particular, a growing number of practitioners are involved in community based adaptation (CBA) initiatives. These have proven to have a significant impact on community level planning and action against the effects of climate change in vulnerable areas.

However, CBA remains an emerging concept and is often faced with many challenges. There is a lack of networking, communication and coordination between CBA practitioners, policymakers, researchers, funders, and the communities-at-risk. As such, CBA interventions are widespread, but are currently operating in isolation. This limits the extent to which CBA contribute to national and local development and climate change strategies. While the bottom-up approach of CBA is its defining feature, it is still important that information and experience acquired from CBA initiatives are fed into national policy making processes. This will enable policymakers to learn from and scale up successful initiatives, and utilize the capacity and resources at the community level.

Aims and Objectives

Through this project, CDKN aimed to bridge the gap between practitioners and other stakeholders by strengthening the ‘community of practice’ on CBA. It utilised the CBA conferences – CBA6 in 2012 in Vietnam, CBA7 in 2013 in Bangladesh and CBA8 in 2014 in Nepal – to bring together policy-makers, researchers and civil society to enhance communication and collaboration within the group. The ultimate aim of the project was to facilitate the mainstreaming of CBA within development planning. Moreover, it had the following objectives:

  • To build the research agenda around CBA by connecting practitioners with researchers and identifying the research gaps.
  • To increase the understanding of practitioners and policy-makers on how CBA can be mainstreamed into local and national CCD plans and policies.
  • To create a working group of policy-makers, practitioners and researchers who will drive the ‘Mainstreaming CBA’ agenda and develop a programme of work to take forward.
  • To design and test an approach or tool for measuring and evaluating the impact of the ‘community of practice’ on CBA resulting from this project.


Read the full summary of the proceedings of the CBA6 held in Vietnam in April 2012 in the the conference report. CDKN’s CEO Sam Bickersteth gave closing remarks at the plenary session, and in a blog for CDKN reflects on enhancing the impact of CBA practitioners. Saleemul Huq, Senior Advisor to IIED and CBA expert also provided his opinion on how communities are leading the way on adaptation.

Following CDKN’s support for their participation in the CBA6 Conference in Hanoi in April 2012, a group of policy-makers who had previously received training from IIED, formed a ‘Government Group on Mainstreaming Climate Change in Planning.’ This group participated in a CDKN supported write-shop to develop a policy-brief on the subject, and are also playing a key role in the design and planning for the CBA7 Conference titled ‘Mainstreaming CBA’ due in the spring of 2013 in Bangladesh.

Mousumi Pervin, of the  General Economic Division, Planning Commission, Bangladesh is the facilitator of the group. Learn more about the group and their objectives and plans in their Promotion Flyer.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, gave her opinion of the group: “the government group network is exemplary on 3 counts. First, for its female leadership. Second, for its cross-ministerial membership – including members from Ministries of Finance, Planning Commissions and key line ministries. Third, for its cross-scale make up of participants from international, national and local level across the developed and developing world.”

In December 2013, the the government cohort published a new report which puts forward a framework for mainstreaming climate resilience into development planning. It presents the concept of climate resilience mainstreaming and provides a practical instrument for government planners to think through the integration of climate-resilient responses into policy. This is a unique policy documented as it is authored by senior officials from across Africa and Asia, including from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kenya and Lao PDR.

Four briefing notes were also developed to give the country perspective from Cambodia,BangladeshKenya and the Gambia.

These were presented at the CBA7 Conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh and the Government cohort took centre stage. 

The theme of the conference was ‘scaling-up CBA’ and CDKN produced a working paper on learning from CDKN’s programme across the world on how to increase the scale and impact of  CBA. A version of the paper was later published as an article in the ‘Climate and Development’ journal for their special edition on CBA.

For CBA 8 in Kathmandu, CDKN’s CEO Sam Bickersteth spoke on the opening session on the conference theme of financing for local adaptation.

A number of CDKN partners presented their work at the conference, sharing useful learning on accessing and utilising climate finance for CBA. Including:

Mutie Nzau, Government of Kenya, outlined the ten ways Government can support local adaptation

Sihaba Haji Vuai, from the Government of Zanzibar, reflected on why local financing now needs to deliver concrete results

Mousumi Pervin, Government of Bangladesh profiled the work and value of a group of government officials building knowledge on mainstreaming adaptation

Pratim Roy from Keystone Foundation, India, reflected on how CBA needs to use mainstream ideas and practices to have a transformational future.  

An additional output of the project was an evaluation framework for measuring the impact of a community of practice on CBA which was summarised in a briefing note. 

CDKN funding: £130,000

Project Manager: Elizabeth Colebourn



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