CBA14 preview event uses climate cartoons to trigger discussions

More than 300 participants from 50 countries participated in an innovative digital meeting that previewed this year’s International Conference on Community-based Adaptation to climate change (CBA14).

Article, 05 August 2020
A cartoon showing an adult holding a sign and a group of children saying: "We already know how to hold a sign. Show us how to redirect funding to sustainable resource management technologies".

"We already know how to hold a sign. Show us how to redirect funding to sustainable resource management technologies" – one of the cartoons used as a conversation-starter for group discussions (Image: copyright P. Byrnes/

The event on 21 July 2020 showcased the interactive, participatory approach that will be the hallmark of this year's CBA14 conference, and featured cartoons, group discussions and presentations from CBA practitioners.

Organisers had flagged their plans to use cartoons to stimulate discussions about CBA14’s five key themes, and there was a palpable sense of curiosity and enthusiasm among the many people signing in and introducing themselves in the event chatbox as the meeting began.

Pablo Suarez, associate director for research and innovation at the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, introduced the cartoon session. He emphasised the value of using humour to generate rich and creative conversations about crucial issues.

Cartoonists had contributed 18 images that highlighted some of the challenges and frustrations facing communities and practitioners implementing climate adaptation at the local level. You can see the cartoons in the video below.

Participants were invited to visit the online gallery and comment on the images. The cartoon gallery served as the trigger for the breakout session which followed, with participants sharing their responses to the cartoons and discussing how the images reflected their experiences. These comments were fed back to the cartoonists who updated their drawings for the close of the meeting.

Presentations: coronavirus responses and CBA

The meeting also included three short presentations by CBA practitioners working in Zambia, India and Bangladesh. These focused on how community-based groups are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and potential lessons for climate action.

Musonda Kapena, from the Zambia National Forest Commodity Organisation (ZNFCO), told the meeting how her association is working with forest communities by fostering nature-based solutions to build resilience to climate change and other risks. 

Godavari Dange, secretary of the Sakhi Federation in Maharashtra state in India, told the meeting about how grassroots women in rural areas are responding to the pandemic.  She said women leaders have set up a task force that is offering support to migrant workers who are returning from cities after having lost their jobs because of COVID-19. The Sakhi Federation is a member of the Huairou Commission, a global coalition supporting grassroots women.

Dr Liakath Ali, director of Bangladesh NGO BRAC, reported that Bangladesh is facing multiple, severe challenges: climate change, the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan, an outbreak of Dengue Fever and COVID-19. BRAC has undertaken huge efforts to support people to deal with these threats to health and safety, food security and livelihoods, and Ali highlighted the importance of community-driven approaches for creating resilience.

During the presentations, the online chat stream was busy with participants commenting on the presentations and asking questions, but unfortunately, with a run-time of only 90 minutes, there was little time left for Q&As. The meeting host, IIED’s Sam Greene, noted: “We had so many participants that we ran out of time to host extensive question-and-answer sessions – but we look forward to having more time for interaction and networking at CBA14.”

You can watch a video recording of this event below, or watch it on IIED’s YouTube channel.

The road to CBA14 conference this September

This meeting was a preview for CBA14, which will take place online from 21-25 September 2020. 

Greene encouraged people to register and start benefiting from the many networking opportunities offered by the online format. He said: “We’re aiming for CBA to be interactive, engaging and to offer plenty of opportunities to network and share ideas and create a platform where community and grassroots voices can continue to be heard.”

During the coming weeks, registered participants will be invited to a series of ‘meet and greet’ events. Organisers are asking key individuals to host one-hour sessions for 10-15 people so that people can start creating their networks in advance and have lots of opportunities to engage with others from the international community.

Greene said: “The sooner that you sign up to the platform, the sooner these meet and greets will be available to you, and there will be another fascinating opportunity to engage with others and hear new perspectives.”

You can also explore the CBA14 programme and submit your proposals for sessions, skill shares or the marketplace, and collaborate with other organisations to develop them. 


To find out more about attending CBA14, email event manager Karin Pointner (

To find out how your organisation can support CBA14, contact Teresa Sarroca (, CBA programme manager in IIED's Climate Change research group.