CBA13: bringing key messages to the global stage

The 2019 international conference on community-based adaptation brought together more than 300 practitioners, policymakers and researchers to discuss how to build a climate-resilient future. The key messages from CBA13 have been published today: they present a vital opportunity to get local-level climate change adaptation onto the international agenda.

News, 17 July 2019
CBA13 participants speaking

CBA13 included a talanoa, an open dialogue session during which participants set out their thoughts on routes to a climate-resilient future (Photo: IIED)

The 13th International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation (CBA13) took place in Ethiopia from 1-4 April 2019. The conference theme was 'Local solutions inspiring global action' and participants, including grassroots representatives, practitioners, policymakers and donors, held interactive discussions to explore how communities can be supported to shape a climate-resilient future by 2050. 

The key messages from CBA13 have been published today. The messages draw on the three conference themes of climate finance, adaptation technology and informed policy engagement. They emphasise that the community organisations and climate champions who gathered at CBA13 are leading from the front, both in adapting to climate change and in building resilience at local level. 

Key themes and messages

Some of the main points from the key messages are set out below:

Climate finance: how to enhance the flow of climate finance to support effective adaptation.

  • Among other things, donors must make it easy for people on the ground to access climate finance, and they must not 'reinvent the wheel' in doing so.
  • Donors must also accept greater risk, so that the people most affected by climate change are better able to respond to changes.

Adaptation technology: how both existing and emerging technologies can be harnessed to build climate resilience. 

  • The success of technological solutions depends both on capacity of institutions and on local expertise and building on local knowledge.
  • Gender analysis is key to the development of new technologies, products or systems that have impact, and digital communication must allow for flow of information in both directions but also must not exclude people.

Informed policy engagement: how lived experience and learning from local climate action can best inform the policies of the most vulnerable countries. 

  • Governments must create gender transformative spaces where women can make their voices heard.
  • Adaptation must be enabled through policy, and National Adaptation Plans must be owned and driven by countries, guided by social movements and civil society – not by multilateral agencies and consultancies.

Getting to resilience by 2050 

CBA13 featured a ‘2050 Talanoa’, or participatory dialogue, to explore how communities can be supported to shape a climate-resilient future by 2050. Three key principles emerged: 

  • Think beyond siloed sectors and programmes and work towards integrated policies that deliver long-term, transformative benefits built on community involvement from the outset. This will need investment in systems that promote multi-sector dialogue, feedback and collaboration built on local experience and realities
  • Integrate climate change into education so that everyone can think critically about how to build resilience, and
  • Build financial mechanisms that deliver large-scale finance to the community level with systems to ensure accountability. 

Bringing CBA to the global stage

The CBA community of practice will take these key messages forward to major international gatherings later in 2019. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has convened a UN Climate Action Summit in September to mobilise political and economic action on climate change at the highest levels. The CBA community will bring the messages forward to this event. 

CBA13 featured a video address by Kristalina Georgieva, co-chair of the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), the new high-level body that aims to boost awareness of adaptation and spur practical solutions. The GCA plans to launch a flagship report ahead of the September summit. The report is expected to show that time is running out for action, but that harnessing lived experience and ingenuity can help communities adapt to climate change, develop sustainably and thrive. 

The CBA community of practice will also work to bring the key messages forward to influence negotiations at the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) to the UNFCCC, which is due to take place in Santiago, Chile, in December 2019.

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