Assignment Four CBA Discussion
Online Learning: OL 341: Climate Change Adaptation: Design, Fund & Manage Projects
Center for Sustainable Development

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

Community-Based Adaptation Discussion Ideas

The best CBA projects combine local knowledge with scientific knowledge. CBA responds to pressing local adaptation needs, draws upon local knowledge, fosters community driven innovation, and supplements community capacity with knowledge and material resources.

Community-based adaptation to climate change is a community led process, based on community’s priorities, needs, knowledge, and capacities, which should empower people to plan for and cope with the impacts of climate change. It must draw on the knowledge and priorities of local people, build on their capacities, and empower them to make changes themselves.
IIED: PLA Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change

At a very fundamental level, stakeholder involvement is critical for strengthening ownership and ensuring relevance to local priority needs.

Early engagement of relative stakeholders is critical to any adaptation initiative to ensure commitment and ownership of the process, i.e., buy in. This is especially true at the community level, where many autonomous adaptation measures are already taking place, and where a wealth of traditional knowledge provides a basis for the design of adaptation from measures.

The key premise is that local populations are capable of making their own appraisal, plans, and needs analysis.
UNDP Designing Climate Change Adaptation Initiatives – Toolkit for Practitioners

CBA takes a variety of forms, from ‘mainstreamed’ (integrated into existing or planned development projects) to ‘direct’ (developing local projects aimed at addressing discrete adaptation needs). Despite variations of form, all CBA recognizes the need for context specific adaptation projects that identify local vulnerabilities, draw upon local knowledge and capacity, improve local adaptive capacity, and directly involve local stakeholders.
UNDP Gender, Climate Change and Community-Based Adaptation: A Guidebook for Designing and Implementing Gender-Sensitive Community-Based Adaptation Programmes and Projects

It is important to ensure that the proposed adaptation initiative is anchored with an ongoing baseline development effort.

The goal of community-based adaptation projects is to increase the climate resilience of communities by enhancing their capacity to cope with less predictable rainfall patterns, more frequent droughts, stronger heat waves, different diseases, and weather hazards of unprecedented intensity.

To reduce the vulnerability of livelihoods to climate change risks, community-based development projects must:

1. Begin with a thorough understanding of local livelihoods, so protecting assets vulnerable to current and future climate risks can be a core project activity.

2. Help communities develop an understanding of the main climate risks and how they impact on livelihoods through a learning by doing approach.

3. Emphasize active participation of community members in all stages of the project (design, implementation, monitoring).

4. Encourage the strong participation of women, recognizing their role as community resource managers, also acknowledging their specific vulnerability to climate risks.

5. Invest in long-term resilience building efforts, which also meet immediate development needs
IDS Tearfund: Adapting to Climate Change

Probably the most important aspect of this week’s discussion is getting feedback from your community about the CBA component of your project. This isn’t a different process than getting community feedback for the traditional development components of your project — but it’s important to hear their thoughts on it.

As we see from the quotes above here adaption activities are most likely fully integrated with the traditional development aspects of your project—and despite the fact that you placed them into your project outline specifically to work with solving a challenge caused by changing climatic conditions—or to reduce your community’s vulnerability towards future challenges—it might be difficult for the untrained eye to spot these specific activities as being adaptation based. Consequently, it may be difficult for your community members to grasp this subtlety. Don’t worry, this is an opportunity for you to begin a gentle process of introducing them to the complexities that climate change may bring.

If their thoughts and insights aren’t that well established—or if the community isn’t engaging with the adaptation components of your project outline—don’t worry at this point. In a couple of months, in OL 343, we will go through an involved process of engaging the community and working with them to put together a plan specifically for the adaptation component of your project—in great detail.

So for this assignment, if you’re lucky enough to get great adaptation input and insights from your community—that’s wonderful.

If they’re not quite ready for this discussion, then just get their feedback on the activities that you’ve included in the adaptation component of your outline—and move forward. There’ll be plenty of time over the next few months to build their base of understanding and begin the process of two-way communication about Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change.

Good Luck!