CBA14 Setting the stage: from crisis to climate action


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced communities to adapt quickly. What can we learn from their experience that can inform community-led adaptation in the future?

Last updated 21 July 2020
A young man looking at a mangrove seedling

Community members restore mangrove forests in the Philippines. Mangroves are biodiversity hotspots and help climate change adaptation by shielding coastal communities from storms and sea level rise (Photo: Bobby Timonera/USAID via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

The annual International Conference on Community-based Adaptation (CBA) puts practitioners’ solutions to climate change first. The 14th conference will take place online from 21-25 September. Ahead of that event, IIED and partners hosted an online event to ignite discussion, and showcase CBA’s themes and interactive, participatory approach to online events.

This session focused on what we can learn from community-led responses to COVID-19 and how it can shape future climate action.

Cartoons to raise questions and trigger discussions

This participatory online event used the humour and creativity of cartoons to explore how we can learn from the pandemic to inform community-based adaptation efforts. Cartoons use humour to ask challenging questions about sensitive issues, building bridges between people in the process. We also had brief presentations from practitioners.

Cartoons can challenge us to explore issues in new ways, and they’re also a great way of building conversations and rapport with people from diverse backgrounds. This session combined cartoons and the lenses of the CBA14 conference themes – youth, nature-based solutions, climate finance, adaptation technology and responsive policy – to share our collective knowledge and identify lessons for climate resilience building across these five critical themes. Like CBA14, our focus was on the local solutions that can inspire global action, articulating how context and local understanding is key to equitable emergency, crisis/climate change responses. 

We used the interactive and discussion-based format to identify some emerging lessons and community perspectives that can inform practical ways forward for adaptation as well as the climate policy landscape of 2021, including the Climate Adaptation Summit and COP26. 

Online coverage

Watch a video recording of this event on YouTube.

Crucial questions

The CBA14 themes offer us a lens to explore how the complex and nuanced learning from the last six months should shape the future of community-based adaptation. We will shape discussions around the following crucial questions:

  • Climate finance: The financial world has been turned upside down by the pandemic. What does this mean for scaling up climate action, while remaining inclusive?  
  • Adaptation technology: How can technologies help adaptation to the pandemic and climate change for people and communities to protect themselves and their livelihoods?
  • Responsive policy: How have grassroots movements addressed the COVID-19 issue with their local institutions and authorities, and what does this tell us about mobilising responses from the local authorities?
  • Nature-based solutions: How have community-led NbS helped local communities to cope better with and recover quicker from COVID-19? What can we learn for devising COVID-19 building-back-better policies? 
  • Youth: How have young people been part of rapid solutions, and has this changed their role in shaping the future of adaptation? 

About the organisers

The Royal Government of Bhutan welcomes participants to CBA14. CBA14 is funded by the Climate Justice Resilience Fund, Irish Aid, the Global Resilience Partnership, the Global Commission on Adaptation and IIED, and organised with co-hosts CARE and Practical Action, in collaboration with the contributing partners BRAC, the Huariou Commission, Green Africa Youth, IUCN NL, Environmental Management for Livelihood Improvement Bwaise Facility, African Centre for Trade and Development and Slum Dwellers International.


Karin Pointner ([email protected]), CBA14 event manager