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[DHAKA] Countries in Asia and Africa have formed an open and informal 'government group network' to help mainstream community-based adaptation (CBA) to climate change and share knowledge and evidence gathered from projects.

The formation of the network was announced at the seventh international conference on CBA, which was opened in Dhaka last week (22 April) by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

"The focus is on sharing knowledge and evidence from government experience in mainstreaming CBA activities into national and local planning," said Saleemul Haq, senior fellow at the International Institute of Environment and Development, London, and director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Dhaka.


  • Developing countries plan to scale up existing community-based adaptation projects
  • National scientific institutions will help support communities in adapting to climate change
  • Scientific and local knowledge will be integrated in planning adaptation strategies

CBA focuses on innovative ways in which local communities deal with climate change impacts and integrate scientific and local knowledge in planning local adaptation strategies. This has evoked interest in climate scientists and development practitioners at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"The science of adaptation has made promising advances with the number of chapters on adaptation increasing steadily in successive IPCC reports," Atiq Rahman, executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, said. "But the science of community-based adaptation is just emerging."

Delegates to the Dhaka conference stressed the need to scale up small, scattered CBA projects into larger projects that can be replicated at the provincial and national levels. Such mainstreaming calls for in-depth understanding of development processes, climate change impacts, policies and institutions; along with new knowledge, skills and technical expertise.

CBA projects in agriculture and urban planning highlighted at the conference included those concerning adaptation for smallholder agriculture programmes launched by the International Fund for Agriculture Development in India and Uganda.

"For agriculture, there are two important challenges," explained Gernot Laganada from the Fund's environment and climate division.

"How do we scale up a local project that benefits a few hundred farmers into something that benefits hundreds of thousands of farmers; and how do we integrate the long-term perspective of climate risk to short-term perspectives of investments?"

CBA cannot be achieved by communities alone, and needs "to go hand-in-hand with national institutions with scientific and other expertise," Laganada said.

The key challenges in scaling up, observed Fathimath Ghina, national coordinator of UN Development Programme's Global Environment Facility in the Maldives, include the short, two-year time span of CBA projects.

The new government group network is expected to share insights in overcoming these challenges.

Link to SciDev.Net's blog from the conference