Assignment Two CBA Discussion
Online Learning: OL 341 From the Ground Up for Adaptation
Center for Sustainable Development

This week’s resources:
Specialized Links to Adaptation Documents and Sites:

Community-Based Adaptation Discussion Ideas
In your first assignments that I have received, the majority of you had a project outline that included traditional development elements and a few elements that related to adaptation to climate change.

There are several things that we can learn from this. The first, and perhaps the most important thing is that the community has their own priority of their needs. If you address their needs in your project design you will be continuing the process of developing community buy-in to the project. Community buy-in leads to sustainability—they will continue to maintain the project activities and outputs long after your NGO is gone. So by including traditional development activities in your project alongside adaptation activities, you will keep their interest up in the project.

Community Based Adaptation brings together those working in the fields of disaster risk reduction, community development, and climate change science. Community Based Adaptation draws on participatory approaches and methods developed in both disaster risk reduction and community development work. CBA needs to start with community expressed needs and perceptions, and have poverty reduction and livelihood benefits, as well as reducing vulnerability to climate change and disasters. IIED: PLA Community Based at Patient to Climate Change.

Climate change is only one of a range of natural, social, and economic problems that poor people may face. So it is unlikely that interventions focusing only on climate related risks will reflect the communities full priorities. Community-Based Adaptation projects frequently have health components, poverty reduction components, and livelihood benefits—as well as components aimed at reducing vulnerability to climate change. In practice CBA projects look very like ‘development as usual’ and it can be difficult to distinguish the additional ‘adaptation components’.

The fact that there is a mixture of traditional development activities alongside adaptation activities helps us to see that there is an overlap between development, adaptation, mitigation, and disaster risk reduction. There are no clearly defined boundaries between them. In fact, a traditional development activity might be used as an adaptation activity because it will best address the climate change challenge.

As per our previous example: A number of projects relate to the fact that a village’s spring dried up – and that the village suffers seasonal flooding. In several situations, the proposed solution is to restore the watershed that originally charged the spring through a re-forestation project. Is this good development, good adaptation, good mitigation, or good disaster risk reduction? Or is it that a good solution was developed that solved four sectoral problems at the same time? The solution may even have a livelihood component—a selection of tree species that could create income generation.

In Assignment Two you get to begin choosing solutions for the challenges that your community voiced. You will have the opportunity of researching these solutions by investigating both standard development activities and activities associated with adapting to climate change. How exciting!

Another thing that I noticed about the assignments is that frequently mixed in with the problems and underlying causes, the communities have voiced solutions based upon time-honored indigenous knowledge. As you go out this week to investigate solutions, you may be identifying solutions which overlap to some degree with your community’s indigenous solutions. If so, you will be furthering the process of community buy-in.

Activities for Your Project Outline
What are some simple examples of adaptation activities that we could incorporate into projects? Development activities used in adaptation projects cover the same range of activities that you would use in other types of development projects—indeed they are often the same activities—but are being focused on a CC challenge vs. a traditional development challenge.

Adaptation must be addressed in a broader development context, recognizing climate change as an added challenge to reducing poverty, hunger, disasters and environmental degradation. The Blue Revolution: Adapting to Climate Change.

For example, in a water shortage situation concerning agriculture, some successful ideas have been soil and water conservation activities such as building organic material into the soil. This allows the soil to act more like a sponge and hold water. Keeping organic material on the soil surface reduces evaporation. Channeling water to depressions in the soil can allow water to penetrate into the soil rather than run off. A number of groups have come up with interesting low-tech drip irrigation systems that target water to the plant’s roots.

Further CBA examples could include (in our example agricultural project) returning to the use of indigenous/native crops that might have greater natural resistance to weather variability. Or, they could be improvements in farming practices, diversification of crops, soil restoration, integrated pest management, natural resources management, watershed restoration, better water management/conservation, food storage, or water harvesting.

This collection of solutions could be used to reduce community vulnerability against shifting planting seasons, inter-season rain variability, drought, flooding, and lost livelihoods. Some of these solutions may be targeted towards adaptation challenges, others may be targeted at poverty reduction and others may be targeted at disaster risk reduction. But what is interesting to note, is that they are all in support of each other.

Other activities could include promoting drought tolerant crops, harvesting rainwater, small subsurface dams in dry river beds to trap underground water, helping community members develop alternate ways of generating income, developing water catchment systems on rock outcrops, developing early warning systems for malnutrition and disease detection, and the list goes on and on.

There are many ideas for activities for a range of different kinds of problems in the documents found in CBA Specific Links in the menu in the left column.

Visit Specialized Links to Adaptation Documents and Sites for lots of ideas:

Good Luck!