Climate change blogs
There has been growing interest in measuring progress in climate change adaptation. This has partly been driven by the Bali Action Plan adopted at the Conference of Parties 13, which stressed the need for prioritising and incentivising adaptation actions. Without knowing how effective adaptation actions are it is impossible to prioritise and incentivise them.
Visiting rural communities in Bangladesh has always been like ‘homecoming’ for me. But I seem to learn something new every time I visit. This time was no different. I, along with 25+ participants of the Fifth Conference on community-based adaptation (CBA5), visited the Gopalgang area in southern Bangladesh. Historically, the Gopalgang area is highly vulnerable to disasters, like flooding and water logging.
Witnessing children in rural areas marching in parades to commemorate Bangladeshi Independence Day on 26 March was a beautiful sight that filled my heart with joy. And my three-day visit to various communities in the Rajshahi District gave insights into Bangladeshi society. But it also gave us an indication of how climate adaptation programmes will have to penetrate a landscape of entrenched social injustice and feudalism. Will climate adaptation in such circumstances merely be old wine in new bottles, or could it mean a real paradigm shift in development that will help poor people to take the future into their own hands?
A field trip to Gaibandha District in Bangladesh uncovers a plethora of strategies used by local communities to cope with flooding and river bank erosion.
A field trip to a mangrove island near the Bay of Bengal highlights the determination and creativity of local communities in adapting to climate change.
The annual international conferences on community-based adaptation are unique in that they include field trips where participants can see for themselves how vulnerable people are coping with climate-change related impacts. I went on my field visit on Saturday (26 March) — to a site in Manikganj District, about three hours from Dhaka city in Bangladesh.
The 5th International Conference on Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change, takes place in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 24 to 31 March 2011. Saleemul Huq will be keeping us updated from the conference in a series of daily video logs.
Climate change adaptation may cost US$75–100 billion per year between 2010 and 2050. Where these funds will come from, how they will be channelled and how adaptation should be achieved is still being debated. I propose part of the solution is to go micro: linking microfinance with community-based adaptation.
Three boys, probably about ten years old, are standing round a table. They are concentrating intently, jabbing at a touch screen. Suddenly there is a huge sigh of relief. They pull back and turn around, with huge grins across their faces: “Mum. Muuuuuuuuuum. Look Mum — we met the emissions reduction target!”
It is half term and I have come to check out the Science Museum’s new £4.5 million climate science exhibition, atmosphere.
So are there lessons to be learnt from this example about public engagement with climate science?
Earlier this month, I spent a week in Mali, going back to the villages which I have studied for the past 30 years. While international climate negotiators met in Cancun, Mexico, for the UN summit on climate change, I was keen to catch up on how climate change was affecting livelihoods in the West African Sahel.