CBA13: event highlights

The 13th international conference on Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change (CBA13) was a vital opportunity to get local-level adaptation on the international climate-change agenda. This page brings you coverage of the event.

Article, 04 April 2019
CBA13 networking: IIED senior fellow and director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) Saleemul Huq in conversation with Susan Nanduddu, director of the Uganda-based African Centre for Trade and Development

CBA13 networking: IIED senior fellow and director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) Saleemul Huq in conversation with Susan Nanduddu, director of the Uganda-based African Centre for Trade and Development

More than 250 people attended the 13th international conference on Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change (CBA13) in Addis Ababa to discuss how adaptation can contribute to a climate-resilient future. Practitioners, grassroots representatives, policymakers and donors participated in interactive discussions, workshops and skill shares.

IIED has published the key messages from CBA13, and will work to ensure that these reach our target audiences and are fed into  international climate change processes. 

Daily coverage

The innovative interactive format included many sessions designed and led by participants – read our daily reports below. 

Day 4

The CBA closing photo – we hope to meet again soon!

CBA13 participants say farewell - for now. (Photo: IIED)

Welcome to the Dragons' Den!

During the first three days of CBA13 participants worked together to develop investment 'pitches' or proposals for funding. Today, in a final competition-style session, they are making their pitches to the 'Dragons' – the people with investment experience. 

And here are the four pitches:




The voting was busy:

...and the winner is...

Congratulations to Dorice Bosibori Moseti, representing  Muungano wa wanavijiji and SDI!

Dorice Bosibori Moseti from SDI, the international network of community-based organisations of the urban poor (Photo: IIED)

Moseti and her team developed a pitch for funding for a project called "Trash to Cash". The project works on waste management in the informal settlement of Mukuru in Kenya.

Moseti's organisation, Muungano wa Wanavijiji, is the Kenyan federation of slum dwellers and urban poor people, and is made up of local groups from cities and towns across Kenya. It is affiliated with SDI, the international movement for urban poor people that works to improve the lives of poor urban residents in 32 countries. Muungano is already delivering the "Trash to Cash" project in three areas and wants to scale up its reach.

Congratulations to everyone who worked on the Dragons' Den pitches!

Day 3

Talanoa: how do we deliver climate resilience by 2050?

Day 3 ended with a talanoa, an open dialogue session that asked participants for their thoughts on the route to a climate-resilient future. We asked two questions:

  • Where do we want to go?
  • How do we get there?

CBA13 Talanoa: discussing the issues (Photo: IIED)

CBA13 Talanoa: reporting back (Photo: IIED)

Here are some responses from participants:

Nothing about us without us! 

Agnes Leina is executive director of  Il'laramatak Community Concerns, a Kenyan NGO supporting Maasai pastoralist women and girls. She emphasised the importance of achieving self-reliance. 

Leina believes a 'reliant' community will always be a vulnerable community. She said: "We would like to be self-reliant. We would like to have capacity to become entrepreneurial, to do our own businesses and to earn our own money. So that we can use our money to do our development, so that we are not always dependent and asking for handouts. It’s very demeaning and undignified."

Leina said: "We want a dignified community, a self-reliant community whose capacity has been built to be able to be conscious of climate change, and able to solve their own climate issues and to hold their governments accountable."

We have to be reliant, we have to do it ourselves: nothing about us without us! – Agnes Leina

Watch a clip of Agnes below, or watch the film on our YouTube channel:

Sustainable development at the community level

Resiato Salyan works for the Pastoral Women's Council of Tanzania. The council is a membership organisation working to empower women in north-eastern Tanzania through education, economic development and promoting their rights and leadership potential. 

Watch this short video – or see her speaking on YouTube.

Salyan said sustainable development should take place at the local level. She said: "Where we want to go: we want to see the ecological resources being developed, and sustainable development being undertaken in the local community level."

She highlighted the importance of finance and supporting community governance. She said: "The current global economy should diversify funds to the land resource, and also be able to maintain the laws that govern the community so as to sustain the climatic conditions within the community."

CBA conversations: what interests you?

Edris Lubega, national leader of the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda (left) and Jack Makau, director of Slum Dwellers International Kenya talk about their focus areas at CBA13 (Photo: IIED)

Future potential:  data and young people

Edris Lubega, national leader of the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda, says he has been following the sessions on technology and engaging with young people. His federation is a member of the Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI) network and currently has some 38,000 members living in 15 urban areas across Uganda.

CBA13 technology sessions are focusing on how new and emerging technologies can be harnessed to build resilience. Lubega says he has been interested to learn about the potential of modern technology to mitigate risks faced by slum dweller communities, particularly in relation to waste management. He is also interested in the potential for data collection to inform planning on issues such as flood risk and housing. 

Lubega also wants to discuss how to involve young people in climate adaptation. He says: "At the end of the day they are also affected – just like any other person. They have to be at the centre of climate change, and also make sure we can do those works that can manage risks in our communities."

In the market for good ideas

CBA13 features a 'marketplace' where participants give brief presentations about their work. Delegates can tour the marketplace stands and learn about projects, case studies and tools. We're sharing some of the presentations here.

Conservation International's Amos Thiongo being interviewed in the CBA13 marketplace (Photo: IIED)

Improving market access for pastoralists

Some 95% of Africa's natural rangelands are considered degraded, leaving pastoralist communities vulnerable to climate change and economic insecurity.  

Amos Thiongo, of Conservation International, describes how the Herding for Health project is encouraging pastoralist communities to adopt climate-smart planned grazing systems and undertake restoration work on the degraded rangelands. In return, the project offers communities improved market access by facilitating local livestock auctions. It mobilises buyers to come to mobile auctions and supports local pastoralists to take part, giving them the opportunity to sell directly to buyers. 

Thiongo says: "Last year we sold livestock of close to one million dollars through these auctions and 99% of this revenue went directly back to the communities – which was quite a big benefit."

The project was launched in South Africa and is now being extended into Lesotho, Mozambique and Botswana. 

Watch Thiongo talk about the project in the video below, or view the film on IIED's YouTube channel.

Session report: the youth perspective – mind the information gap!

Participants in the session on getting young people involved in CBA heard from young volunteers who have been working on risk assessments and adaptation planning in East Africa. 

VSO advisor Khumbo Layine says informing young people about how the climate is changing is a vital first step for getting them involved in CBA. (Photo: IIED)

Khumbo Layine, a VSO resilience and humanitarian aid advisor in Malawi, spoke about seeing the impacts of a changing climate.  She said: "Climate change is real. In Malawi we see the effects deepening every day: floods, dry spells and pest infestation."

The new normal?

Layine highlighted the different perspective that many young people have on climate change, saying: "But when it comes to youth, there is a gap in knowledge: people who were born 15 years ago think these phenomena are normal, they don’t understand what climate change is."

She argued that the CBA community needs to bridge this information gap. She said: "So we need education on the climate: how it was in the past and how it is now. We need forums setting out the historical change in our climate – this will get us on the same page with the youth."

She said: "With better understanding of what is happening, we can get young people engaged. And we can work together on adaptation programming and building the resilience of our communities."

Saleemul Huq, IIED senior fellow and director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), issued a challenge to young people, calling on them to make the most of digital technologies and opportunities: 

The session got an enthusiastic response from one participant with this tweet: 


Day 2

A marketplace for good ideas

The CBA13 'marketplace' features participants delivering brief presentations about their work. Delegates can tour the marketplace stands and learn about projects, case studies and tools. 

Drying fish the (new) solar way

Professor Sosten Chiotha of LEAD SEA (Leadership for Environment and Development Southern and Eastern Africa) described a seven-year adaptation project with communities from Lake Chilwa Basin, a densely populated fragile ecosystem in Malawi. 

The project was designed to help communities process locally-caught fish. Increasingly erratic weather is making the traditional way of processing fish by drying it outside unviable: increased rainfall and sun is leading to the fish spoiling and becoming invested by flies, with resulting production losses of 40%.

The LEAD SEA project has developed a new method for drying fish indoors using solar energy. The fish dries more quickly and is protected from flies. The final product is better quality and fetches a higher market for the fish. Professor Chiotha also shows the use of a kiln for smoking fish – a more efficient and effective use of wood fuel. Watch him describe the project in the video below, or view the film on our YouTube channel.


A mobile climate vulnerability calculator for the urban poor

Siraz Hirani, of Mahila Housing Sewa Trust (MHT), describes a new mobile climate vulnerability calculator being developed to help low-income urban households to measure their vulnerabilities against climate stresses.

MHT works to empower women in poor communities to improve their living environments. Founded in 1994 by poor self-employed women workers in the Indian state of Gujarat, MHT now works in 17 cities across eight Indian states and collaborates with partners in Bangladesh and Nepal.

The trust believes that if urban poor communities are provided with the knowledge to undertake risk assessments, and are supported with relevant technologies, they will be able to devise and implement locally relevant and pro-poor climate resilience solutions. 

The vulnerability calculator will enable households to input information about their living environments and will deliver real-time analysis of their vulnerability to four climate stresses: heat stress, water scarcity, flooding, and vector-borne disease. If the households are identified as being at high-risk, MHT volunteers will provide training and information about buying adaptation technologies at subsided rates. 

Harani says: "This allows the poor community not only to identify their risk, but motivates them to take up the adaptation technology which is available in the market and reduce their risk." Watch him discussing the project in the video below, or on YouTube:

CBA13 in conversation: how do we measure resilience?

Dr Victoria Moshy of the University of Dar es Salaam discusses a rural resilience project in Tanzania (Photo: IIED)

Dr Victoria Moshy, of the University of Dar es Salaam says she is attending CBA13 to learn about measurement and practical technologies. Moshy is working on the Tanzania Partnership Program, a joint project which is taking holistic approach to building climate resilient communities in rural Tanzania. The project is working in two villages and aims to develop a model for sustainable prosperity. 

The project has delivered a range of resilience measures:

  • Constructing a water collection pond for use during the dry season
  • Introducing drought-resistant sunflowers as a crop
  • Installing rain water harvesting systems in schools and dispensaries
  • Establishing and training water users' associations
  • Improving teacher training, constructing school buildings and mentoring girls

Moshy says: "We've done some monitoring and evaluation on our project - but we really need to enhance this to be sure we are making progress towards building sustainable, resilient communities. "

What are the indicators to measure whether we are really building the resilience of people?

Moshy is also interested to learn about practical technologies. She says: "I've enjoyed the sessions so far, particularly those about linking policy and adaptation technology, and how it can be brought down to the community. 

"What's crucial is how things are working in practice, on the ground - so that means how technologies that are proposed at the higher level can benefit communities, and work for them in their context."

CBA for the not-so faint-hearted

Community-based adaptation can be challenging and difficult. This morning featured a session that offered participants the chance to share their challenges – allowing others to learn from more difficult moments, whether working as practitioners or on the policy interface. These tweets give a flavour of the discussions:


Day 1

World Bank Group interim president opening address

The opening plenary featured a video address by Kristalina Georgieva, interim president of the World Bank Group and chief executive of the World Bank. You can watch the video below, or see it on IIED's YouTube channel.

Georgieva said: "When I read the latest IPCC special report, I thought of the person I most dearly love, my eight-year old granddaughter. By the time she is 20, climate change could push more than 100 million people into poverty. When she is 40, 143 million people could be climate migrants. If she lives to be 90, our planet could be barely livable. "

"To safeguard our present and future, we must support communities around the globe as they work to build resilience." – Kristalina Georgieva, chief executive officer, World Bank

Georgieva said the World Bank had recently announced ambitious new commitments to help communities build resilience. Its new Adaptation and Resilience Action Plan would ramp up adaptation funding, growing such funding by more than double, to reach US$50 billion over the fiscal years 2021-25.  

She also noted that the action polan for the first time puts equal emphasis on adaptation, alongside investments that reduce emissions. 

Georgieva is co-chair of the new established Global Commission on Adaptation, a high-level body that aims to boost awareness of climate adaptation and spur practical solutions. The commission is preparing a flagship report on climate action and will present its findings at the 2019 UN Climate Summit in New York in September.

Georgieva said one of the report's focus areas, or 'action tracks', will be empowering locally led adaptation action.

She said: "We know community-based adaptation is critical to meeting the needs of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable – those on the front lines of climate change. Far from being victims, these communities are sometimes the most innovative and effective in developing adaptation solutions. They are because they have to be: their lives and livelihoods are at stake. 

"Through a dedicated action track, we seek to mobilise and scale resources for local action."

Georigieva said she hoped the discussions at CBA13 would inform deliberations on the commission’s report, and looked forward to working in partnership with the CBA community to empower greater action on local adaptation. CBA13 will include a session on the Global Commission's adaptation action track on Thursday – see the programme (PDF) for more details.

Translating international negotiations into local action

Tenzin Wangmo, co-chair of Least Developed Countries Group at the UN climate change negotiations, highlighted the importance of linking high-level international negotiations with the practical work being done at the grassroots. She said: "As a negotiator in international climate policy, I see that we are sometimes disconnected from the action on the ground. I know that we need to address the missing link: the work done in the negotiating rooms must be translated into tangible action at home, and must also be informed by and learn from local solutions that exist."

Wangmo said: "I see CBA13 as a crucial touchpoint on the timeline towards enhanced climate ambition – it is only through collaboration and partnership with those at the frontlines of climate change will we tackle the crisis. It is only by working globally and locally, together, will we create a future of prosperity for all. CBA13 makes it mark by doing just that. "

A powerful message from the grassroots

Constance Okolette Achom from Uganda urged urgent action at grassroots level. (Photo: IIED)

Constance Okolette Achom is chair of OWN, a consortium of some 1,200 women's groups working on education, community health and nutrition in Uganda. She is also founding member of Climate Wise Women, and had a strong message for participants: "Where are the seasons? They are no longer there. We don't know when to grow, we don't know when to plant, we don't even know where to live. Our people are sleeping outside because the heat inside the houses is too much. 

"So I'm here at CBA13 with a message: don't just talk, talk, talk. Don't talk to us about NDCs or NAPAs... we don't understand that language. Come and do your planning and talking with us in the communities and do something. We need you to take action from the ground."

In conversation: CBA13 participants

Noah Congo of the Zambia Community Based Natural Resources Management Forum

The Zambia Community Based Natural Resources Management Forum works with poor rural communities who are struggling to mobilise resources to adapt their livelihoods. National coordinator Noah Chongo is a first-time participant at a CBA conference.

He says: "I’m here to learn many things! I want to know more about how communities can be engaged in mobilising resources and how they can be empowered to finance adaptation technologies."

Chongo is especially interested in the subject of governance: "We’re currently running a project where we are assessing the governance of protected areas to see how these decisions are made. But it’s not clear who is empowered to make decisions, and who benefits? How transparent are the laws that manage natural resources? 

"I’m really interested to hear how improved governance at community level can get how community-based action really working for those who need it most."

Jennifer Uchendu from Nigerian enterprise SustyVibes is interested in lots of issues:

Fatima Ahmed from Sudan wants to learn how to scale up adaptation solutions.

Zenab for Women in Development (ZWD) is a Sudanese women’s rights organisation to empower women and advocate for their rights.

Zenab president Fatima Ahmed says: "My organisation works at community level, in particular supporting women farmers seeking to adapt to climate change. We work with women to help them achieve food security, to lift themselves out of poverty, and support their families. 

"But these programmes are small – we need really to connect to regional and international organisations. So that’s why I’m here at CBA13. We have solutions but we need to replicate and scale up. I’m here to share our experiences get connected with others."

CBA13 community: setting the direction of travel

CBA13 falls at a critical juncture for climate change adaptation. In September the UN Secretary-General will convene a Climate Summit that will challenge governments to commit to bolder, stronger, fairer and faster climate action and support. The summit will build momentum for 2020 – a pivotal year when countries must ramp up their climate action pledges. 2020 is also the year when countries are invited to submit their long-term strategies for achieving low-carbon, climate-resilient societies by 2050. 

CBA13's opening day included a plenary session that focused on key messages for the CBA community to take forward. We asked participants about their priorities. The photo below illustrates some of the first responses; we will be building on these over the next four days.

Postcards with key messages from the CBA community (Photo: IIED)