EVENT: Building a climate resilient and just future for all – knowledge and voices from the frontline
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic turmoil has been particularly difficult for those living in low income communities and with inadequate government services. In addition to the spread of COVID-19, people’s income and access to food are disrupted. Growing hunger and malnutrition are putting millions of people on the brink of survival.
However, grassroots community-based organisations in diverse locations across developing countries have done an extraordinary job in identifying households and individuals most at risk of hunger — and providing them with emergency support.
They have mobilised food packages or opened COVID-safe community kitchens to feed the neediest. They have drawn on existing initiatives such as savings and loans associations, market gardening projects and women’s groups to use existing knowledge, assets and networks to address urgent, local needs.
They have often lobbied external actors (including local and regional governments) for more sustained support to communities – defining what type of support is most appropriate.
‘Building a Climate Resilient and Just Future for all: knowledge and voices from the frontline’ was an event on 16 November 2020, co-convened by CDKN, ICCCAD, Regions4, CGIAR (Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security – CCAFS) and ICLEI Africa as a ‘Resilience Dialogue’ as part of the larger ‘Race to Zero’ series of events. The event highlighted the roles that community-based organisations are playing in helping people to cope with the intersecting threats of pandemic, hunger, unemployment – and other pervasive challenges, ranging from social discrimination to crime.
The event brought together community leaders from across developing countries (India, South Africa, Kenya), as well as regional government and NGO specialists working on mobilising resources for community climate adaptation and resilience. The community speakers also feature in the ‘Voices from the Frontline’ series of blogs published by ICCCAD and CDKN: a collection of 23 authentic voices published every week since June 2020.
The community leaders are “showing us what resilience is” – according to Nigel Topping (UK), one of the UNFCCC’s High Level Champions for Climate Action, who attended the event in listening mode. Speakers gave specific recommendations to Mr Topping for the coalition of non-state actors (businesses, regional and local governments, NGOs, etc) that he and Gonzalo Munoz (Chile) are organising as part of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action. Speakers highlighted how actors with financial and technical expertise can provide more effective partnership with community-led initiatives.
Watch the video of the event here:
Ms. Michelle du Toit – CDKN (South Africa)
Mr. Nigel Topping – High Level Champion (UK)
Part 1: From the past to the present – Hearing from communities that have responded to COVID-19
Community leaders working directly ‘at the frontline’ of COVID-19 impacts described how people have coped with the intersecting risks of food insecurity, joblessness and the pandemic – and what their coping strategies tell us about community resilience in the face of climate shocks and stresses.
Moderated by Dr. Shehnaaz Moosa – CDKN (South Africa)
Ms. Caroline Atieno Odera – Kenya
Ms. Samidha Patil – India
Ms. Beauty Mani Paulo – South Africa
Part 2: From the present to the future: Hearing how sub-national governments and others could support community resilience initiatives
Representatives from regional governments and other sub-national organisations discussed: What we have learned about resilient systems – especially the potential for resilient food systems — from the COVID-19 crisis? What can this teach us about investing in resilient systems for the future?
Moderated by Dr. Saleemul Huq – ICCCAD (Bangladesh)
Dr. Meggan Spires – ICLEI-Africa (South Africa)
Mr. Augustine – Centre Nord Regional Council (Burkina Faso)
Dr Kamleshan PIllay – Technical Advisor Climate Finance, CDKN (south Africa)
Ms. Runa Khan, Founder and Executive Director, Friendship NGO (Bangladesh)
Reporting by Mairi Dupar, recording by Emma Baker, CDKN